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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Essex, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    44

    Default Drones this late?

    Yesterday we had some pretty warm weather here. I went and took a look at my hives to make sure no mice would be getting in over winter and there was a bunch drones hanging around. I'm new to the beekeeping game, but isn't this very very late to still have drones? I'm wondering what's going on. I know I saw hives kicking out drones several weeks ago and I thought that was the end of them.

    Just for reference I live close to Detroit, Mi (just across the border in Canada)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    1,506

    Default Re: Drones this late?

    Queenless? Did they look fuzzy new or old and beat-up. I understand the growing season is somewhat extended around the lakes due to heat capicitance of the water....although still seems pretty late. I havn't seen a drone in 3 weeks in Kentucky.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Essex, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    44

    Default Re: Drones this late?

    They did look hairless and beat up so they must be pretty old.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Essex, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    44

    Default Re: Drones this late?

    It is possible that they don't have a queen....haven't looked in my hives in a while. I can't get a queen this late anyways, so I just made sure they had stores and kept them closed up to sort any problems out themselves.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Greater Hartford area, CT
    Posts
    276

    Default Re: Drones this late?

    I had a similar question about a month ago. I'm still seeing drones as well (I live in Connecticut), but someone from BC, I think, told me that his bees frequently don't kick the drones out until well into winter. You can see that thread here: http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...?290253-Drones

    I have an observation window in my hive, so I've been continuing to peek in, and everything seems normal. As a result, I think my Canadian friend may be right, so I've stopped worrying.

    I guess, this is the short answer. You might have a problem, you might not. There's no way to know unless you open the hive, but at this point in the year, it's probably too late to do anything about it anyway.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Roy, Wa
    Posts
    1,623

    Default Re: Drones this late?

    I had a few large hives I still needed to take off the top super. Same as you, I had a warm day and got into a few hives. I was very surprised to see several nice healthy young drones mingling with the rest of the crew. No hive was queenless. Lots of young bees otherwise. It looked more like a summertime hive than early winter. I wish I had taken a photo. It's been freezing for a few weeks at night-50 maybe during the day. Hives are not feeling the pressure of winter yet. My hives are well fed and lightly insulated..maybe just content.
    -Or-
    Didn't get the memo about the time change last Sunday

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,864

    Default Re: Drones this late?

    I'm close to you, and I had a few drones flying today while I was putting on entrance reducers.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    1,506

    Default Re: Drones this late?

    Now I feel like Im the odd man out. Honestly I havn't looked really hard in the past few weeks to avoid pulling frames, but ontop of frames and on the inner cover havn't seen drones, only worker. My checks are usually after work to top off feeders, so prime midday flying conditions are basically non-existance to see them.

    I think the presence and abundance of drones has alot to do with the state of the hive. A big strong healthy hive with lots of stores is probably more willing to keep them around longer in higher numbers.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,854

    Default Re: Drones this late?

    I'm hoping I still have some as I have a queen that needs mating.....

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    souris, manitoba, canada
    Posts
    758

    Default Re: Drones this late?

    Its the Check- mite,coumaphos kickback, the ladies foundout alot of those boys were infertile so they let em hang out for the winter...Kona stock does not kick out drones for the winter

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    DFW area, TX, USA
    Posts
    1,064

    Default Re: Drones this late?

    Quote Originally Posted by JRG13 View Post
    I'm hoping I still have some as I have a queen that needs mating.....
    Me too, and she should hatch in a day or two! Bees are from a take out on October 26th.
    LeeB
    I try to learn from my mistakes, and from yours when you give me a heads up :)

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,854

    Default Re: Drones this late?

    Mine superceded mid October, she should've hatched 2-3 weeks ago.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,384

    Default Re: Drones this late?

    I find colonies all the time that keep some drones through the winter. They're not queenless...This one in February.




  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Gaithersburg, MD
    Posts
    363

    Default Re: Drones this late?

    I read somewhere a year or so ago that male production is indicative of adequate protein stores and a few will be made year round if the protein reserves of the winter bees is good--believe these stores are within the winter bees themselves. So, if they did not pack away sufficient stores they will not waste any on raising males.

    A lot of talk is given to sugar stores but not much to protein stores of overwintering success and this (insufficient winter protein stores) could cause hives to come out of winter more stressed than needed leading to other problems.

    For the life of me can't remember where I saw this but maybe google "winter protein stores" or something. Don't have time now but will try to find references when I have a chance.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Memphis, Tn
    Posts
    26

    Default Re: Drones this late?

    I also have drones coming and going from my hive. I figured since they was still bringing in pollen and foraging they haven't kicked them out yet even though we have had couple frost. I live south edge of TN close to TN river above MISs. If bees are still bringing in pollen would it be safe to say they are also bringing in nectar?

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Blacksburg, VA
    Posts
    441

    Default Re: Drones this late?

    Saw a few drones in a couple hives yesterday as I was buttoning them up for winter.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Gloucester County, New Jersey
    Posts
    213

    Default Re: Drones this late?

    I still noticed drones 2 weeks ago in South Jersey while harvesting fall honey.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Greater Hartford area, CT
    Posts
    276

    Default Re: Drones this late?

    Quote Originally Posted by JClark View Post
    I read somewhere a year or so ago that male production is indicative of adequate protein stores and a few will be made year round if the protein reserves of the winter bees is good--believe these stores are within the winter bees themselves. So, if they did not pack away sufficient stores they will not waste any on raising males.

    A lot of talk is given to sugar stores but not much to protein stores of overwintering success and this (insufficient winter protein stores) could cause hives to come out of winter more stressed than needed leading to other problems.

    For the life of me can't remember where I saw this but maybe google "winter protein stores" or something. Don't have time now but will try to find references when I have a chance.
    Thought your comment about the winter protein stores was a good one. Found this post online that I thought was interesting. http://scientificbeekeeping.com/fat-bees-part-1/Doesn't explain the drones, but it does talk a lot about protein.
    Last edited by fruitveggirl; 11-08-2013 at 07:04 AM. Reason: forgot to add the linke

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