Drones...
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Thread: Drones...

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
    Location
    Canandaigua, New York, USA
    Posts
    9

    Default Drones...

    After feeding the pigs this morning I figured I better check and make sure the hives are battened down with the storm that is coming. Long story short I've still got drones coming out for cleansing flights flights. Had them all fall and winter. Is this normal? Makes me wonder how early we could have mating flights this year... and would they still be viable?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    4,143

    Default Re: Drones...

    Not really "normal" but not unheard of either.I would not trust the viability of the sperm from older drones. But if you still have them in the hive, I suspect you have a very strong and well provisioned hive. Drones and queens won't do the mating thing unril the temps are right. Just because you have them does not mean they will do you any good. I did not over winter any drones that I know of, but one of my strongest hives already has some drone brood in it, along with three partial frames of capped worker brood. This one will bear watching and may be worth grafting from later.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
    Location
    Canandaigua, New York, USA
    Posts
    9

    Default

    Just seems like a waste of a hives resources to carry drones over winter. Any idea how they might fit in with the clusters heating Dynamics? Mating flights in upstate NY wouldn't be until May. How long do drones live for and could there be winter drones? So much to learn. Next time I'm going to see if I can catch some and mark them.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Ardnamurchan and Fife, Scotland
    Posts
    185

    Default Re: Drones...

    Drone sperm levels drops off after 30+ days, so they'd not be any use for mating.
    Drones are retained in queenless hives much longer than queenright.
    There's no chance that the queen - assuming one is present - has turned into a drone layer?
    The Apiarist - beekeeping in Fife, Scotland

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
    Location
    Canandaigua, New York, USA
    Posts
    9

    Default

    Hopefully not. Had eggs and larva when I did my alcohol washes in the beginning of November. I've only seen 3-4 drones total amongst 4 hives. That's why I'm going to mark them different colors to see just how many and how long they are around.

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