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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi! By way of background, I'm a retired Marine with less than one month of "bee keeping", though I really don't feel qualified to say that at my stage. We just got a 5 frame Italian nuc on May 1, 2020; our first. Bees have been doing great. Filled up the first deep super in about 2 weeks, then I added another. Today I noticed several larger bees coming and going. They look like honey bees, though larger....maybe a different variety, like Russians or Carnolians? I've read that often nuc sellers have a hard time keeping a pure variety due to cross breeding. I don't think drones come and go like these were doing, from what I've read. The attached photos shows some examples...you can clearly see the size difference. Some of them are darker, and a few are a light amber color. The guard bees don't seem to mind the odd ones coming and going...you can see in the pics that they appear to get checked out.

Our hive sits on 80 acres in a clover field, which is surrounded by about a half mile of forest on all sides...there are no other hives on neighboring properties that I know of. The big bees aren't carrying anything when they leave, though they have the habit of stopping and cleaning their antenna before taking off ,which makes me wonder if they had their heads in a honey cell. I hope I just have a hybrid hive, and that this is not robbing. Bees - Possible Intruders.jpg Bees - Possible Intruders II.jpg Bee Possible Intruders III.jpg

Anyhow, thank you for your help.
 

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Wow, great pictures! Don’t worry, those are drones (male bees) that belong in your hive. You will see them coming and going this time of year. They are typically more active in the afternoon, leaving the hive to go on mating flights.

Many thanks for your service!
 

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Like Nelsonhoneyfarms said, it's a drone. If you are ever going to mark a queen, catch a drone and practice on them first. At the end of fall, when winter starts the girls will kick out all the drones. Yes, THANK YOU for having our backs, Semper Fi! My husband was in the Corp.
 

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Cleaning the antenna is part of the preflight checklist. Their smell and hearing organs are in their antenna.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Oh, you all are so sweet for getting back so quickly! My wife and I have been so worried about our girls. I thought drones only left during the a swarm! So they go out daily looking for a queen to mate with daily? Poor guys...no wife within miles of our place as far as I know.

We got our hive in order to help with the bio-diversity of our land...only about 4-5 acres of open ground (white clover and fescue); the rest is mostly trees...oaks, hickorys, tulip poplars, redbuds, dodwoods, hophorn beam, beech, sparkleberry etc., and lot's of sourwood for the bees in June/July too. They seem pretty happy... Thanks so
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Like Nelsonhoneyfarms said, it's a drone. If you are ever going to mark a queen, catch a drone and practice on them first. At the end of fall, when winter starts the girls will kick out all the drones. Yes, THANK YOU for having our backs, Semper Fi! My husband was in the Corp.
Ok! Good idea... And SF back at ya...east or west coast?
 

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We just got a 5 frame Italian nuc on May 1, 2020; our first. Today I noticed several larger bees coming and going. They look like honey bees, though larger....maybe a different variety, like Russians or Carnolians? I've read that often nuc sellers have a hard time keeping a pure variety due to cross breeding. I don't think drones come and go like these were doing, from what I've read....Our hive sits on 80 acres in a clover field, which is surrounded by about a half mile of forest on all sides...there are no other hives on neighboring properties that I know of...
An Italian queen, regardless of the variety with which she may have been mated, will produce Italian drones, since they come from unfertilized eggs which are solely of her own genetic material.

You may want to consider getting another hive. If something bad happens to that one, having a second will increase you ability to repair it, and to provide drones for mating if you should lose a queen and there are no other hives within mating distance.
 

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Yep, drones will sometimes look different from the workers. My queens are all brown (all daughters of one queen). The workers are black and yellow striped, sometimes pretty dark, others lighter. The drones are all very dark, mostly black.
 

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Ok! Good idea... And SF back at ya...east or west coast?
The REAL Nor Cal, 2 hours south of Oregon and 2 hours west of Nevada. 5 hour drive to Eureka, which is west of us. 5 hour drive to, what I consider, "Central Calif" which is the S.F. Bay Area.
 
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