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Thread: Drones???

  1. #1
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    Default Drones???

    A couple of weeks ago, it was pretty chilly at night -- even dipping down to the 30's for a couple days, low 60's during the day. Around that time, I hardly saw any drones in the hive. I even saw one bee trying to drag a drone out by the hind legs, so I figured they were in the process of being evicted. However, this week, I'm seeing a lot of drones again. Granted the weather is a bit warmer, too -- 40's at night/mostly 60's (and even a couple 70's) during the day.

    Is it possible that the bees have changed their mind? Or is it more likely that I have a laying worker? Or is it just too early for the drones to be evicted?

    Following some advice to let the last inspection fall around the time of the autumnal equinox, my last hive inspection was about a month ago (9/20), so I'm not entirely sure of what's going on in the hive. Also, I haven't really wanted to open it up since then since the weather has been cooler (60's) and the bees seemed like they were doing ok on their own. I couldn't see a reason to break open all the propolis and possibly break a comb (I can see lots of attachments on the windows, and I guess they are there because the comb is very heavy.) just when they're getting all set for winter. Additionally, my yard has become a yellow jacket magnet during the last week. They are attracted by the scent of the honey. The bees have been taking them out pretty easily, but I don't want to let the yellow jackets in during an inspection either.

    I have been feeding 2-1 syrup, so I'm thinking that maybe that might be prolonging the existence of drones, but I don't understand why I would be seeing them kicked out one week, and then see lots of them the next. The bees are definitely interested in foraging, and I think that's supposed to be a sign that they have a queen, right?

    Should I risk opening the hive? Any thoughts on what is happening? Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Feb 2013
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    Missoula, Montana
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    Default Re: Drones???

    Quote Originally Posted by fruitveggirl View Post
    A couple of weeks ago, it was pretty chilly at night -- even dipping down to the 30's for a couple days, low 60's during the day. Around that time, I hardly saw any drones in the hive. I even saw one bee trying to drag a drone out by the hind legs, so I figured they were in the process of being evicted. However, this week, I'm seeing a lot of drones again. Granted the weather is a bit warmer, too -- 40's at night/mostly 60's (and even a couple 70's) during the day.

    Is it possible that the bees have changed their mind? Or is it more likely that I have a laying worker? Or is it just too early for the drones to be evicted?

    Following some advice to let the last inspection fall around the time of the autumnal equinox, my last hive inspection was about a month ago (9/20), so I'm not entirely sure of what's going on in the hive. Also, I haven't really wanted to open it up since then since the weather has been cooler (60's) and the bees seemed like they were doing ok on their own. I couldn't see a reason to break open all the propolis and possibly break a comb (I can see lots of attachments on the windows, and I guess they are there because the comb is very heavy.) just when they're getting all set for winter. Additionally, my yard has become a yellow jacket magnet during the last week. They are attracted by the scent of the honey. The bees have been taking them out pretty easily, but I don't want to let the yellow jackets in during an inspection either.

    I have been feeding 2-1 syrup, so I'm thinking that maybe that might be prolonging the existence of drones, but I don't understand why I would be seeing them kicked out one week, and then see lots of them the next. The bees are definitely interested in foraging, and I think that's supposed to be a sign that they have a queen, right?

    Should I risk opening the hive? Any thoughts on what is happening? Thanks!
    i wouldn't open the hive....

    what preps have you done to winterize the hive? did you arrange the honey towards the front? did you insult? reduce the entrance? reduce the amt of entrances? but, let's have someone more experienced speak up

    also, i like your blog!!!! thanks for sharing.
    Zone4A
    “We can love completely what we cannot completely understand.” -Maclean

  3. #3
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    Bay City, MI 48706
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    Default Re: Drones???

    I had this happen to me last year.
    Hive falled at superseding.
    Found a dead queen in the cell.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Drones???

    Quote Originally Posted by thebalvenie View Post
    i wouldn't open the hive....

    what preps have you done to winterize the hive? did you arrange the honey towards the front? did you insult? reduce the entrance? reduce the amt of entrances? but, let's have someone more experienced speak up

    also, i like your blog!!!! thanks for sharing.
    To be honest, I haven't gotten around to closing up the hive yet, so I nothing's been done really. My hive has end entrances, and I noticed during the last few inspections that the brood nest was consolidated toward the entrances. The honey was all at the back of the hive. Per the books I've read, this seems to be the desired arrangement going into winter, so I've left them alone. I was actually planning to close it this weekend.

    Right now, they still seem to be coming and going into the hive. I see pollen still coming in anyway, from asters I guess. Currently, they have three holes, and they don't appear to have any difficulty defending the entrances.

    Thank you for kind words on my blog!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Drones???

    Quote Originally Posted by Graperunner View Post
    I had this happen to me last year.
    Hive falled at superseding.
    Found a dead queen in the cell.
    Ugh, this is what I'm afraid of, Graperunner. They already superseded once this summer, and the new queen was doing a great job of laying. I wonder, though, what they know that I don't. So I'm curious, what would you do? Would you open up the hive and try to diagnose it, even though it would be too late to get a replacement queen? Or would you let it go into winter as is with fingers crossed that I'm wrong.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Drones???

    You should ask yourself what could I do to remedy any queen issues at this time if there is one. If there is nothing you can do, really the only reason to go in would be to satisfy your curiosity. Some colonies may take a month or more kicking out the drones with some taking a few well into winter. If they don't seem to have an over abundance of them and not having any way to fix a possible issue what can you do?

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Drones???

    Quote Originally Posted by Delta Bay View Post
    You should ask yourself what could I do to remedy any queen issues at this time if there is one. If there is nothing you can do, really the only reason to go in would be to satisfy your curiosity. Some colonies may take a month or more kicking out the drones with some taking a few well into winter. If they don't seem to have an over abundance of them and not having any way to fix a possible issue what can you do?
    Thanks, Delta Bay, for your response. I've been mulling the situation all morning, and you've really confirmed for me what I was already beginning to suspect. I agree, with no hope of fixing a queenless situation (if it does indeed exist), it doesn't make sense to open up the hive. And if they are queenright, it's better to keep it closed.

    I didn't realize that some colonies take such a long time to eject all the drones, so that info is really hopeful for me. Thanks again!

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Drones???

    Your a first year beekeeper, learn all you can by looking in on them.
    If they are queen right great, if not you know what it lookes like, look for a queen cell that may or may not be there.
    If there is one are the bee checking it, check back in 7 days to see if she hached,
    If so you will have too have some goog weather for her to mate.
    if not, looks like she may be dead.
    If she is gone you will know by the end of Nov, hive will done and you can salvage the remaines.

  9. #9
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    Feb 2013
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    Dover, NH
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    Default Re: Drones???

    Both of my hives have quite a few drones, and their queens were fine as of this past weekend. Our weather has been similar to yours. lots of pollen coming in, a little nectar. Feeding 2:1, although they are slow to take it (I think they are preferring the nectar, but I would like to see their stores increase a little quicker)

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Drones???

    Thanks, JasonERD, for that info. I will stop panicking and keep my fingers crossed that all is well.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Drones???

    What does seeing drones have to do with superceding? Drones come and go from hives all the time and from everywhere. Drone production does not always shut down this late in the year either.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Drones???

    Quote Originally Posted by JRG13 View Post
    What does seeing drones have to do with superceding? Drones come and go from hives all the time and from everywhere. Drone production does not always shut down this late in the year either.
    that's kind of the question that first popped in my head too.

    does it have anything to do w/ superceding? it doesn't...right?
    Zone4A
    “We can love completely what we cannot completely understand.” -Maclean

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