What does it mean when there are many drones in front of your hive? I went out and checked my hives I placed out last year and there are tons of drones interring and leaving the hive. What does this mean?
It means all is right with the world. Bees like drones and it's not uncommon for as much as 10% of your hive population to consist of drones. That can seem like a lot of drones.
They also tend to fly around the same time each day so at times you'll see a lot more drones in front of your hives than at other times. They also drift so some of the drones you see may not belong to the hive they're slumming around. They usually head out to the local drone congregation area in the early afternoon. Unless you've got more drones than workers, I wouldn't worry about it. I'd be worried if I didn't see any drones.
As George said, I wouldn't be concerned with how many drones are in the air. Check your brood comb. If it looks like too many drone cells, I cut it out or replace the frame.
George's drones "head out to the local drone congregation area in early afternoon". Mine have a floating crap game going down in the far corner of the field. They buzz around, talk trash and smoke their cigarettes while waiting to ravage an untouched queen. Bunch of deliquents if you ask me. That's why they never amount to anything.
I posted this question a while back I noticed the drones in front of the hive on the ground about 2 days before I had a swarm in two different hives. I guess it had nothing to do with the swarming? I don't know.
I see the drones coming in a lot sometimes, and other times not at all. There are set times that they cruise for chicks. I find it funny that they come back and race into the hive as if they have important business there. "Stand aside. I'm a drone and it's lunch time. Feed me!"
If I were you I would look for these other symptoms:
1) lawn chairs
2) DV projector
3) sheet strung between volleyball poles
4) coolers full of drinks
5) barbeque grill and charcoal
6) loosened belts
If you see any of these in addition to all they guys hanging around outside, they're probably getting ready to watch a game.
A good fishing rod, some QMP (you can buy it as "Bee Boost" from Mann Lake or make some with old queens in a jar of alcohol, or just use a queen in a cage), and a helium balloon. Watch which direction your drones fly and start fishing. You'll see a drone comet when you find a flyway. Follow the flyway. They tend to follow tree lines and other landmarks. When you find a DCA you'll have a serious drone comet following your "queen".
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