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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We have had an awesome fall flow here in Lancaster county,SC so I pulled a couple of capped honey frames a couple of weeks ago from the medium super and replaced with 2 foundationless frames. I did a quick peek this afternoon and both of the frames are about 90% capped honey. However, while in the top of the hive I observed several Drones. Decided to look further and pulled a couple of random frames in the super and 1 had several drone cells that were capped and in the process of emerging. I found this extremely odd.

My question to all of you out there in the SE is “do you still have drones running around this late in October? Thanks.
 

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4ish langstrom hives
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I saw some drones still running around a week ago, so I would not be surprised that you still have some drones in a warmer climate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Wow, you are a lot farther north and saw them last week? Elmer do you think this is typical? The last week of September, first week of October our hives were pushing the drones out. Now we have them emerging and in the hive. In the past we have had NO drones past the end of September. Maybe it is because this year I started going all foundationless on the hives?
On another note I checked on one of the 5x5 nucs I am attempting to over winter and it has 3+ frames of brood in the top box with a beautiful capped honey dome on the outside and tops of each frames. No drones anywhere. The queen was up top laying in every empty cell. I am going to have to keep an eye on them the next couple of weeks and possibly add another 5 frame box with comb so they do not get over crowded. that queen is one of 3 VSH queens I brought in from the west coast to try and diversify the drone population in my area. So far this past summer those queens have not been producing very many drones though. But, lots of brood which is nice...
 

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I have also seen drones at thanksgiving before. I think some strong hives will let a few overwinter and don't kick them out. Seeing some drones during the winter does not concern me.
 

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I saw a couple of drones 2 weeks ago on last inspection, this is after I saw them getting the boot early September. Weird but then my main hive also had 2 huge queen cells last week with good laying patterns on the brood frames so I don't know what's going on now. I'm just leaving it. May do 1 last inspection if the weather holds above 10C. I'm in Vancouver, B.C.
 

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Is your queen also laying enough fertilised eggs?

I was surprised by having a whole drone frame in March (equivalent to north hemisphere September). Being a novice and locked down due to COVID, I just noted the event and didn't think about it any further.

When my hive emerged in spring failing and queenless, someone suggested that the late drones were a symptom of an underperforming queen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Is your queen also laying enough fertilised eggs?

I was surprised by having a whole drone frame in March (equivalent to north hemisphere September). Being a novice and locked down due to COVID, I just noted the event and didn't think about it any further.

When my hive emerged in spring failing and queenless, someone suggested that the late drones were a symptom of an underperforming queen.
Marg, the hive observed with the drones has an excellent laying queen. It is one of our strongest hives and is boiling with bees. great brood pattern. The reason I started this thread is because we have not observed Drones in our hives this late in the past. However, mamm7215 is seeing similar observations in Vancouver, BC. Just today I observed that hive pushing drones out once again as there were a few around on the ground disoriented and i believe dying. Must have something to do with the 2020 thing?...
 

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My hives have pushed out the drones in the last 2 days. We did have a night below zero in the last week, so I think they decided it was time.
 

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Is your queen also laying enough fertilised eggs?

I was surprised by having a whole drone frame in March (equivalent to north hemisphere September). Being a novice and locked down due to COVID, I just noted the event and didn't think about it any further.

When my hive emerged in spring failing and queenless, someone suggested that the late drones were a symptom of an underperforming queen.
I would have thought this, too but the laying pattern was a typical football shape covering most of the frame center on a few frames, not drone cells either.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Ok so I pulled 2 frames of capped honey today and replaced with 2 foundationless frames in 2 and 9 slots. I had planned on doing this a couple of weeks ago when put the 2 foundationless frames in then. They built the frames out in a great triangle pattern in that time and capped with goldenrod honey I think. was all an experiment and I am going to try this honey for the first time. all this done in 2 weeks. will get about 1 medium frame total of honey. while in the hive for that few minutes I again observed a few drones running around. Sure is late compared to past years. Very odd.
 

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There were still some drones running around on the outside of my strong hive yesterday after they kicked a lot out a few days earlier. I assume the bees know what they are doing
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Elmer, I reckon you are right. They do know what they are doing. It seems like as soon as you think you have them figured out, they throw me a curve ball. that’s what I like about keeping bees. I never stop learning and they are so resilient and adaptable. ...
 

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I observed plenty of drones flying today (Nov 7), that is Southern Ontario location. Of course a warm spell helps, but I expected them all to be discarded a couple of weeks ago when we had freezing temperatures. I suppose that shows that my hives feel strong enough to maintain drone population this late.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
It has been a weird year for sure. I am continuing to see a few drones and it is now 11/8/20. Just a few. I wouldn’t think they would be developed enough this time of year to effectively mate, right? Does any one know they could mate this time of year? Thanks...
 

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I’m in 6a in a much different climate and had drones flying as of a few days ago. Drones are a luxury to a colony and a sign of plenty of stores. Otherwise they would be kept out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
LAlldredge, today is Nov 9, 20 and I am still observing drones in one of the strong hives. Does any one know if drones this late are capable of mating a virgin queen effectively. I have attached a photo. Any thoughts, opinions or experiences? Thanks.

Green Honeybee Wood Bee Membrane-winged insect
 

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I've had drones, and plenty of them, as late as December. Makes me wonder if the colony uses the drones as outer-cluster insulation....


But I also live in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean, so there's that....
 

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LAlldredge, today is Nov 9, 20 and I am still observing drones in one of the strong hives. Does any one know if drones this late are capable of mating a virgin queen effectively. I have attached a photo. Any thoughts, opinions or experiences? Thanks.
I think it depends on the age of the drones. If they are still raising new drones, and you have good weather it might work. I suspect most of the drones in my hives are older though, so not usefull for mating.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
thanks elmer. Luckily all of our hives are queen rite at this time. because of all the drone observations, I thought about starting another nuc about 30 days ago but thought better of it. Based on what you said about age, makes sense, I reckon.
 
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