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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey folks,
Dennis here in Lancaster County, SC. Weather has extremely warm for the fall. A week ago I went around to all my bee yards and checked hives by observation and by lifting to get weight. Additionally, I observed entrance activity on each hive. I noticed on one of my stronger hives DRONES coming and going. After giving it some thought I figured they were queenless or laying worker. I wasn’t too concerned as I have a few 5 frame nucs that I am overwintering for just such situations. A couple days ago I opened up the hive prepared to combine a nuc with the hive. I observed a few drones in the hive, but, no drone cells in any of the brood boxes. in the bottom deep I found the great looking marked queen from this summer. I also saw a few areas of capped brood and plenty of stores and a hive is full of bees.
I know this is long winded, but has any one else observed this this fall or in the past?
Thanks.
 

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yep, still drones here in Knoxville, TN
 
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mutts

might even be hybrid mutts
 
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Drones through winter are quite common here in coastal VA. Last Jan I caught one coming back from a flight outside the hive. Wishful thinking on his part.

I am all foundationless and many are topbar hives so I have lots and lots of drones (I rear queens). These are all in queen right colonies that are well provisioned for winter. A large majority of the boys do get the boot but I can easily find dozens in each colony if I were to look. Some queens are still laying drone eggs in the larger sized cells.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
All of mine are Italian mutts I believe. So with everyone’s input here( Thanks for all the responses) by the way, It appears to be quite common for drones to be present this late in the year. It is a first for me so I thought I would try and get you all‘s perspective on it.
Thanks Everyone
 

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I just caught two drones today to feed to my son's frog and salamander. I'm in zone 5a/b, southeast Wisconsin.

There are a lot fewer drones than in the summer, but it isn't unusual for a few drones to be in the hives all winter.
 

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Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
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Some of this is genetics. I've seen a lot of hives that keep a few drones all winter since I went to feral stock. Some of it is related to resources. If nectar is still coming in, they may keep the drones. Some of it is related to queenlessness. A queenless hive is more likely to tolerate drones.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Some of this is genetics. I've seen a lot of hives that keep a few drones all winter since I went to feral stock. Some of it is related to resources. If nectar is still coming in, they may keep the drones. Some of it is related to queenlessness. A queenless hive is more likely to tolerate drones.
Thanks MB. I was able to locate what appears to be a healthy marked queen in the hive from this summer. So, based on everyone’s responses I will continue to keep an eye on ‘em.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
UPDATE!!

The drones I was seeing on 11/8 seem to have disappeared. No sign of them as of today. Going to check on a 5x5x5 NUC tomorrow and while at that yard I am going to take a look at the hive with the drone issue.
Thanks everyone for you thoughts and input.
 
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