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Evicted drones

 
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mefgbee
Guard Bee


Joined: 10 Jul 2014
Posts: 57
Location: UK, Cheltenham

PostPosted: Sat Nov 28, 2015 1:12 pm    Post subject: Evicted drones Reply with quote

I noticed yesterday that in front of one of my hives were a load of dead bees (>50). On closer inspection I think they were all drones (I know they have big eyes but any other easy identifiers?). I've not seen this before, so unless it happened in August when I was on holiday, I'm guessing this is the annual drone expulsion.

But I had thought this would have occurred earlier, rather than end of November? Just wanted to check for peace of mind! Thanks Mike
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Barbara
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Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1563
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Sat Nov 28, 2015 3:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Mike

It is unusual for them to retain drones this late.
Perhaps there has been a queen supercedure.
The more worrying possibility is that you have a failing or drone laying queen (assuming they are drones you are seeing and they have been recently evicted)
At this late stage in the year there is nothing much you can do other than wait and see and hope.

Sometimes, if there is a cold spell for a few days, followed by some warm sunny weather, they will do some housekeeping and dead bees will be removed as part of that. Is it possible that just the odd one you examined was a drone and the others were workers?

Of course there are extremes to all ranges of normal behaviour, so this might be just a vary late eviction on the part of your bees.
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mefgbee
Guard Bee


Joined: 10 Jul 2014
Posts: 57
Location: UK, Cheltenham

PostPosted: Sat Nov 28, 2015 6:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Barbara. I'm in the position with this hive where I've resigned myself to letting them work things out. They had some problems in the summer, and I fed them in Sep and Oct. They did have a queen then, and had improved significantly judging by the activity. The mild weather was fortunate as they were so late sorting themselves out.

I think it was all drones. Perhaps someone could verify from the pictures?


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Barbara
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Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1563
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Sat Nov 28, 2015 6:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, it may be some relief to you to know that those are workers, so hopefully they have just been doing some house cleaning and all is well.
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mefgbee
Guard Bee


Joined: 10 Jul 2014
Posts: 57
Location: UK, Cheltenham

PostPosted: Sat Nov 28, 2015 7:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah ok! I had presumed they were drones because of their big eyes! Is it their pointed rear ends that proves they're workers?

Sounds like all may be well within the hive after all so that is looking hopeful going into winter. Is this just part of their pre-winter preparations, along with battening down the hatches (well propalising them at least)?
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Barbara
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Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1563
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Sat Nov 28, 2015 8:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes their pointy bums indicate they are workers. Drones have squarer, hairy bums, but also much bigger eyes than these. You probably need to see one next to the other to appreciate the difference.

If it's a strong hive, that's not a lot. If they have been ejected from the hive then it sounds like the hive is quite strong. Weak hives put mortuary duties low on the "to do" list.
The other possibility is that they "died" before they were able to make it back into the hive.... perhaps a sudden downpour or strong winds. If you collect them up and put them in a container and bring them in the house and put them somewhere warm, you will get an idea of whether they are dead or just ran out of steam before they made it into the hive. If they revive in the warmth, you can put them out next to the hive and they should go in. It's surprising how a seemingly dead bee can be revived even in the depths of winter. I fished one out of a puddle yesterday. It was totally lifeless. I held it in my closed fist and gently breathed into it and after a few minutes it started to move it's legs and eventually it flew away. I've done it many times before, sometimes on a frost morning when none of the hives were flying, so they must have been out overnight and they have still revived.
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mefgbee
Guard Bee


Joined: 10 Jul 2014
Posts: 57
Location: UK, Cheltenham

PostPosted: Sat Nov 28, 2015 9:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I did collect some and bring them indoors eg. the ones on the saucer in photo2, but only two perked up and started flying at the kitchen window. We have had some cold wet weather lately so maybe they did get caught out. But it does seem odd that so many should be caught out. It really isn't a strong hive, with just 6 bars, and they'll be lucky to make it through the winter. There were probably twice as many dead bees in total as photo1 shows, all within 24 hours. I shall keep an eye on them...

Unfortunately I had thought they were drones so wasn't particularly trying to revive them, thinking they had been expelled. I had simply collected a few to examine more closely in case there were signs of disease etc.

Like you I have invariably rescued the odd one or two that have gotten into difficulties in the past and it's very rewarding to see them make a full recovery. And of course in Spring they'll remember that kindness when they next consider stinging during an inspection Smile
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trekmate
Golden Bee


Joined: 30 Nov 2009
Posts: 1123
Location: UK, North Yorkshire, Bentham

PostPosted: Sun Nov 29, 2015 9:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A drones eyes almost meet on the top of their head. Have a look on Google images.

To revive the occasional bee, I hold it like Barbara does. If there's a few, I put them in a jam jar with a little damp sugar. They will happily stay there overnight in a warm room.

I never cease to be amazed at the lengths a beekeeper (myself included) will go to to save one bee..... Rolling Eyes
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rays
House Bee


Joined: 09 Jul 2012
Posts: 24
Location: Vaud, Switzerland

PostPosted: Sun Nov 29, 2015 3:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Barbara wrote:
... I fished one out of a puddle yesterday. It was totally lifeless. I held it in my closed fist and gently breathed into it and after a few minutes it started to move it's legs and eventually it flew away...


I would never have thought this possible, Barbara, but I have just used your technique to revive a couple of bees which had "expired" on the roof of each of my hives at the end of the day, one even partially immersed in water. (It's been sleeting periodically during the day and it's currently around just 4°C out there.) Once warmed-up and mobile, I popped them in their respective entrances and trust they'll have sufficient energy to climb up inside to re-join their sisters.

Thanks for providing the inspiration.
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Barbara
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Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1563
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Sun Nov 29, 2015 5:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Rays

So pleased that I was able to help you to save a couple of your cold and weary workers. Don't you just love the power of the ww web to do good even on such a minute scale!!
The difficulty comes when you have several hives and you don't know which one they came from. If you can revive them sufficiently for them to fly home that solves the problem but sometimes I haven't had time to wait for them to get to that stage. I've offered them up at each hive entrance in turn, only to have to rescue them from guard bees attacking them, until I find the correct hive. ....The ridiculous lengths we go to, to save one of our little girls!
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