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Where are my drones?

2203 Views 8 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  MinnePchyolka
I've been lax on visiting my ladies this summer. Today I went out intent on doing a powder sugared bathe and generally checking the hives. It took me awhile to notice but my drones are gone. A few months ago the hives were all crawling with drones. I didn't see a single one in four hives. I found the queens, very easily without any big brutes around, but not a drone. Even the drone board was empty. As I checked a few frames I didn't see any drone comb, I'd wanted to check for varroa on the pupa. Is this regular for summer time? Thank goodness the split I made in the beginning of spring finally has a queen. She's got good brood and larva showing so I'm content. But the lack of drones is a mystery. I'm hoping this is a good thing......maybe we'll have less varroa. :scratch:
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Around the end of summer, the workers stop supporting the drones as the swarm instinct is diminished and they don't want to waste winter resources on non productive bees. The queen quits laying and at some point the workers actually drive the drones from the hive. I don't know if it's a good sign they are gone right now, but it may predict and early winter. Guess you'll have to wait and see. I wouldn't worry about it though, your bees know what they need and will produce drones when needed. As long as you have brood, things are probably OK!

Yes, and if nectar flows slowing in summer helps them want to get rid of the drones. If you get some fall flows, you may see a small amount raised.
It's funny you mentioned that, because I just noticed the same exact thing in some of my colonies I just inspected. I had drones all over the place a few weeks ago, and now I see very few, if any. I think it's probably due to the flow stopping so suddenly a few weeks ago. Most of the drone cells now are either empty or being used for nectar storage. Got to keep an eye on the stores, some are getting light very quickly. I'm sure they sense lean times and the drones are the first to go.
Likewise...not many drones and only a handfull of capped drone cells near the bottom of a few frames. Their still bringing in the nectar though!
I've got a fair amount of drones - both adult and capped. Also some drone larva in one hive - i think from laying workers
Same thing down here too. Today I seen a small patch of goldenrod starting to bloom.
We had our first night where it got down in the 50's, and the following day I saw a worker drag a drone out of the hive (he was struggling, but she was having none of it) and off into the grass a few feet. As soon as she dropped him and flew away, a wasp swooped in and got him.

I guess it must be time for Fall cleaning.
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