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Discussion Starter #1
5 TBHs Olympia WA- 2nd year of keeping
Background- placed Apivar strips in all hives in September Tomorrow will be 42 days in place.
Haven't gone into the hives since placing but all hives actively collecting pollen and hitting our ivy tree hard. I spend every other day watching the hives during 'flight weather' to compare activity levels and because I like to watch them.

While watching the hives, the strongest by far relative to numbers of bees coming and going I saw approx 4 or 5 drones pop out, do a flight then pop in without being dragged out. Of course they may have been the same ones going in and coming out. I did not observe any of the other hives with drone activity.

Would the presence of that small a number of drones this time of year in my part of the country be potentially normal or the timeline between putting in the strips and the presence of the drones suggest I may have killed the queen or that she died and I've got workers laying?

Plan with the next good weather day will be to dive into the hive to see if I've got drone cells, not necessarily hunt for the queen. Is that the right next step? And of course- if I've got workers laying am I'm pretty much screwed this time year as far as trying to come up with a fertile queen to introduce?

Hope the questions make some sort of sense. Thanks.
 

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Gary, You pretty much nailed the two scenarios I could think of. First, some healthy hives will maintain a small number of drones throughout milder winters. Not common, but not unheard of either. Second is that the queen has gone drone layer or that the hive is queenless and is now laying worker. This is less likely and even if it is the case, it is highly unlikely that the Apivar is responsible. A quick check will tell you the story. I believe that your location is in USDA 8a so getting into them should not be a problem in October.
 

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Olympia, Wa beekeeper here, and I still have drones in all my Olympia hives... and they have healthy laying queens
my Yelm hives NOT so much....
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks all for the comments. Wasn't thinking the Apivar as a chemical impacted the queen but maybe my putting them in may have done something. Not so easy hanging those strips in the TBH with comb as tightly packed as they get. Weather does indeed stay relatively mild locally. Just need a dry day or windless day. Worst case I have one of those giant "summer" backyard umbrellas on a stand and if temps are warm enough but it's raining can use it to go in without risking rain into the hive. Will provide an update, hopefully this week maybe as soon as Monday. Dry and 60 Monday if the forecast holds. Dry and upper 50's Wednesday by late in the day.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Today's discoveries and of course opinions greatly appreciated. 15 bars PACKED with capped honey [19"bars]. For clarification this is a first year nuc so intentionally did not/will not harvest anything. 3 brood bars out of 5 examined with 1-2" of capped honey across the top of each. 4-5 dozen drone cells on two of the three all looking just short of hatching in tight pattern slightly off center but a boatload of worker cells including what I think were fresh eggs on the periphery of them. Also very tight pattern. Didn't get any photos on account of only having two hands- makes me want an extra set sometimes and winds picking up hard. I didn't find the queen but wasn't hunting for her. And I didn't observe any active or empty queen cells.

IF I understand the general theory of workers laying, they don't lay tight patterns and I wouldn't be seeing capped worker cells if queen was dead? Yeah that's a question. I'm going to blind guess/hope that the drone cells I saw were from September. If we get a good second break in weather mid November should I go in again and either look harder for a live drone count or check for more drone cells? Does that serve any purpose by that time?
 

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in my humble opinion ...your good....wrap em up for winter
I think we in Olympia , with the mild temps and an unusually large number of amazing gardeners provide a variety of pollen and nectar late in the year and so the queens keep laying... including drone brood
 
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