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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
So one of my hives has many, many (hundreds) of dead bees out in front of it. Still a Very active hive with a great amount of foragers coming and going. This evening I squatted and watched the entrance and in eight minutes saw them drag three end stage (pupal) drones out and discard them. These drones were within a few days or less from hatching. Am I seeing "super hygienic" behavior? I can open up tomorrow and pull frames but what will I be looking for? No obvious signs of nosema or anything else. I am really wanting to know here. Thanks, steve.
 

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Extra dead bees out front smacks of pesticide poisening. A healthy colony can normally carry off the dead of normal attrition. And I don't know any inside indications other than a mound of dead bees on the bottom board for poisening.

Walt
 

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The aborting of drone brood happens when the bees are not bringing in any nectar or pollen and the colony stops having reproductive urges. If the vast majority of the dead outside are drones, I doubt there is any poisoning going on. Some colonies like some people don't keep a clean porch and don't carry off their dead as well as they might.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Walt, they are being carried all the way out in front, not left on the bottom board. This is one colony of 20 in the same spot. No others have this going on. I doubt it is poisoning. As to pollen and nectar flow I believe I still have some although not for long. I will open them up and check today.
 

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The aborting of drone brood happens when the bees are not bringing in any nectar or pollen and the colony stops having reproductive urges. If the vast majority of the dead outside are drones, I doubt there is any poisoning going on. Some colonies like some people don't keep a clean porch and don't carry off their dead as well as they might.
If F>>> acebook has the "like" button then Barry ought to institute an " The best beekeeping answer posted so far" radio button on BS. If there was one I would hit it here for Vance's answer. Bingo!!!!
 

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One of my Top Bar Hives is kind of weird about the drone numbers. This spring they made a ton of drones, then about the beginning of June started hauling them out and depositing them next to my basement door. Next inspection and there was a new boat load of drones being capped.
 

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Am aware that one of the first indications of impending starvation is termination of drone pupa. They recycle the nutrients of the un-needed drones by sucking the juices out and putting the empty shells out on the landing board. They generally do not carry the empty shells away as that would take more energy, and they are already on short rations. If the 'hundreds' out front were drone shells, I would have expected the OP to have said so. And the colony does not wait until they are out of capped honey to invoke this precaution. Sometimes it looks like they have enough stored honey that they would not have to resort to this drastic measure. But some colonies are super cautious. Starvation is quite final.

Walt
 

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Good answer, Walt. Always learned a lot from you.

Shannon, you may have a drone laying queen. But not sure what's going on until you
can confirm it. I got such a queen earlier this Spring.
 

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Not a drone layer, but in a top bar they tend to have a lot of drone brood. Last year they seemed to raise a single batch of drone and then used the drone brood for stores, but this year she is laying more drones in the drone comb. I can't complain though, there was at the same time over a dozen bars of worker brood in various stages. And I was robing bars from her for a couple weaker hives. I just thought it was funny how they made so many drones, packed away a decent amount of honey, then started murdering drones only to immediately raise more drones. Last year that hive was the first hive to evict drones in the fall as well. They are sitting on a concrete pad so you could easily see the bees in front of the hive being dragged around on the pad.

Part of the problem with that hive and drones was me. In the spring I moved the drone brood past the brood nest and then opened the brood nest and gave them empty bars. They drew drone brood on the first two empty bars, and in the spring buildup she went past the first honey frame and put drone in the bars with drone cells that I had moved. So it was really busting with drones. I had considered culling the bars but I knew that if I put an empty bar in they would immediately pull more drone cells so I left it alone. The drone cell comb further back are now capped honey.

I think they killed so many of them just because they had made so many of them. This is one of those hives that you want to propagate the genes, so I don't mind it having a bunch of drones. They build up quick in the spring, shut down early on dearth and winter and survive. And while they are defensive to robing they are easy to work. And they are beautiful comb builders.
 

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This is one of those hives that you want to propagate the genes, so I don't mind it having a bunch of drones. They build up quick in the spring, shut down early on dearth and winter and survive. And while they are defensive to robing they are easy to work. And they are beautiful comb builders.
I'll take 3 queens... =)
 

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The workers are starting to harass the drones here in the north. In another month they will really be getting the cold shoulder from the workers; find yourselves a home somewhere else boys, the summer is over!
 

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I noticed one of my langs dropping a drone off the landing today. But then I saw another one fly right in. It looks like we are off of a flow right now.
 

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I noticed one of my langs dropping a drone off the landing today. But then I saw another one fly right in. It looks like we are off of a flow right now.
Yep, just clover. Lots of sumac but they arent working it. They are bringing plenty of pollen but I think the nectar is scarce. Goldenrod already starting to bloom here. Isnt that early by a few weeks? G
 

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That is very early for goldenrod, at least for us it would be. Our next decent flow will probably be goldenrod and wingstem, after that it is just the asters and clover. Funny how it happens so fast each year. It seems like spring will never arrive and then the next thing it is autumn again. **** I'm getting old.
 

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I had something similar occur a few weeks back on one of my hives. First year hive started in April from a package now filling 3x 8 frame mediums of brood and 2x 8 frame mediums of honey (5 boxes). All started foundationless on frames. My most aggressive builders/foragers.

I watch them daily and noticed a large population of what appeared to be aborted drones or drones that are barely moving but still in the shape of the cell being taken out of the hive and tossed. I looked around and saw 20-30 of them in varying stages of late development. There were a few large ants and wasps fighting over their carcasses, so my guess is there were likely a lot more that I did not see.

No starving. Mites well limits after 2 sugar tests. Good amount of drones flying in/out and even more in capped cells that had not hatched. Not other issues that I could see.

I did nothing. They continue to regulate the drone population as they see fit and are still doing very well.
 
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