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Lots of drone brood.

 
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lord tedric
Guard Bee


Joined: 30 Mar 2011
Posts: 79
Location: Moira,Swadlincote,Derbyshire,UK

PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2014 5:44 pm    Post subject: Lots of drone brood. Reply with quote

Having finally gotten a break in the weather I decided today would be a good time for a first inspection of the season.

The bees had been coming and going happily for a while so I knew nothing was far off the mark.

My first hive (well technically it belongs to my two 8 year olds) and all was pretty much what I expected to find, an advanced brood pattern and pollen and honey stores building up nicely. Bee's fairly calm and about average numbers. Very small amount of chalk brood which they seem reluctant to clear from last year. No worries.

The third hive pretty much the same as the first just had some old comb to move towards the edge. Again no real concerns.

The second hive took me by surprise. The first thing was the obviously larger number of bees, this colony came thru winter very well, the second was the amount of honey already stored away/left over. Then the first brood appeared, nice circle of brood only problem all drone, next comb bigger circle of drone. Now you start to think drone laying queen maybe. Next comb an open ring of drone, slightly odd. Then the sight I really needed a nice solid core of worker brood with drone around the edge. This then repeated thru and reversed towards the other end.

So all the worry turned out to be nothing more than a colony doing quite well and obviously already starting to think about swarming. No sign of queen cells but I can't imagine they will be far away.

Amazing the difference you can get across hives.

Dave
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rmcpb
Scout Bee


Joined: 17 Jul 2011
Posts: 447
Location: Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia

PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 12:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice description of the three hives. It surely demonstrates the problem of giving a date for an action which lots of beginners often want. Three hives in the same location and all at different stages.

People do get worried about drone brood but I have never really had problems with it, the bees will only set up what they need and not jepardise the hives survival. Then again, I don't have to worry about varorra.

Cheers
Rob.
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lord tedric
Guard Bee


Joined: 30 Mar 2011
Posts: 79
Location: Moira,Swadlincote,Derbyshire,UK

PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 6:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes I have the exact same questions asked when discussing bee's with non bee keepers.

Drone is an interesting one with regard to the varroa, I'm only going off the observations of my own hives, non of which have been treated and are now in their third year. But they all at some point have produced a huge amount of drone (verging on 40-50% for one hive) I do wonder if they react this way to varroa as non of the hives show any large scale signs of the little pest.

One thing that two of the three hives have done is to reduce the size of bee, the last bees I collected where already small and dark (closer to our natives), this obviously also knocks back the varroa.

All in all much happier with the start they are making this year.

Dave
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biobee
Site Admin


Joined: 14 Jun 2007
Posts: 1051
Location: UK, England, S. Devon

PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 8:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Other local beekeepers should be thanking you for ensuring there are plenty of drones to mate with their queens!

Whenever I am talking to a group of beekeepers and the subject of drones comes up, I always ask them how many drones they think are in their colonies. Invariably, they will say, "a couple of hundred", or "2-3%".

In a conventional hive, which is filled with worker foundation, has tight comb spacing and probably subjected to drone-culling, they are probably not far from being correct. In a natural colony, expect to see numbers of drones up to 15% of the population - maybe 7,500. Not that those you see in the hive will necessarily have been born there...
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lord tedric
Guard Bee


Joined: 30 Mar 2011
Posts: 79
Location: Moira,Swadlincote,Derbyshire,UK

PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 9:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I thoroughly agree I have a 'traditional' bee keeper about 100 yards away his first comment when he realised I kept bee's naturally was him worrying about his bee's catching something.

As you point out the fact I would be bolstering his genetic divergence and benefiting the general health of his bee's didn't seem to matter to him.

Its an uphill battle with some people but I like a challenge.

Dave
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Invision
Guard Bee


Joined: 11 Jul 2013
Posts: 71
Location: Poulsbo, Washington USA zone 8b

PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2014 3:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

More drones the better IMO, at the beginning of March it was still a little cold, but I placed two bars right behind the last bar of capped brood. After 2 weeks of good weather, both those bars were completely drawn out as drone brood. I would estimate about 1,000 maybe 2,000 cells. Now that the drones have emerged, the workers are only drawing worker cells and the queen is maintaining those 2 frames of drone cells. I since moved them side by side and marked them also placing them at the back of the brood nest which is now 10 bars strong. But for me the more cells of drone brood that are laid, just lets me know that the worker brood is being passed over by the varroa and headed for the drones.

Did notice the other day that there was a pile of DWV infected drones on the ground. They were all drones though and not any workers. Since those combs were built there has been 2 rounds of drones and a third in the making, the older ones are also flying now. So that was my sign that I could probably start raising some queens as backups Smile
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