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I live in Minnesota and our winters are very cold. My bees started becoming active in the start of March but I didn’t get a chance to open up the hive until April. There were some eggs but no capped brood yet. However, I saw something that surprised me. There was a drone walking around in the hive. I looked fairly closely through the rest of the hive but I didn’t see anymore. Last fall I did see the workers forcing drones out of the hive. Do other people see drones living through the winter?
 

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Could be a new hatch from this year. Seen capped drones the other week, so it's that time of year again.
 

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Some colonies will definitely have some drones over winter. Whether or not they would be up to the game of effectively breeding may be questionable. In summer when they are actively patrolling the drone congregation areas they probably wear out their wings ~ 500 miles same as workers. 6 week lifespan.
 

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Some colonies will definitely have some drones over winter. Whether or not they would be up to the game of effectively breeding may be questionable. In summer when they are actively patrolling the drone congregation areas they probably wear out their wings ~ 500 miles same as workers. 6 week lifespan.
With other farm animals the sperm won't take in impregnation if temperatures too bad. I'm curious how much this holds true with bee drones also. It would be reasonable to think that at a certain temperature there could be some loss of fertility?
 

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My bees started out carniolan and they seemed to carry a small number of drones thru winter regularly. My bees are now thru and thru mutts and drones are not a rarity. Now two to three weeks before normal swarm season in my area, the most populous hives are producing drones in the burr comb. Several days ago they were emerging. Now with snow melting and more snow showers predicted, I have to worry about swarms.
 
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