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A surplus of drones?

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planbee 

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I recently discovered a small fish and chip shop in a back street in Dresden, [yes - there's a Dresden in Britain, and I was lost that night!]

Went in this evening, to find that the couple that run the place, have a copy of Ted Hoopers' "Guide to......" at the back of the counter.

We naturally had beekeeping in common; but it seems that they have a problem, they are very busy serving this evening, so I said I'd ask on here for them.

They've had bee's since last August, and all was OK until they had a swarm on Wednesday.

Swarm was picked up OK, and passed to another beek.

They have found three QC's in their hive, but it seems that they also have an extraordinary large number of Drones in there.

The lady said that she has never seen so many, and they are huge!

All this discussion was taking place at the head of the tea-time queue, so I got their phone number and came away.

Iis there anything they should do, or is it a case of waiting for the new queen to get going, and redress the drone/worker balance?

Thanks in advance,

John
 

VEG 

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Well drones are big and it sounds as though they are superceeding the queen. Did they say how old the queen was? Is all the capped brood drone or drone and worker?
 

planbee 

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Didn't get a chance to ask much, when you say supercede, I assume that the old queen has stooged off, it will be a new queen in the hive now, won't it?

John
 

Poly Hive 

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How much drone comb is there? (grin)

It would not be the first time that some one in their innocence having been given some foundation has added in rather a lot of drone foundation.

Just a thought.

PH
 

Heather 

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I had a bit of a drone loss-
There is no rape within 5 miles of me so I wasn't too concerned. A hive filled a super quite nicely but I looked today and the honey is solid and the brood chamber had no stores- just loads of brood etc. it seems the drones have starved. They were all stuck in the QE trying to head up tp the honey. Plenty dead. Have given a syrup feed. Anyone want a super of rape honey:toetap05:
And no solid honey in the other colonies - very different
And yes, all the other colonies - drones galore and seem bigger than last year. Hope their lift is bigger than drag. Look aerodynamically heavy:ack2:

But on the bright side- 5 swarm casts have laying queens - so some drones on form.
 

planbee 

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A bit more information about the surfeit of drones!

I've had a chance to telephone the lady and gent that keep the fish shop, this evening.

It seems that their brood box got well filled recently, and so they added another.

They elected to put it below the existing box - so far, so good, but somehow, they managed to place a QE between the two!

Drones in the upper chamber, hatching furiously, and the queen, luckily, in the bottom.

Or not luckily, depends on your point of view, I suppose, she led her swarm out, which was captured, so that was OK.

The QE has now been removed completely, and nature, plus the bees, are busily restoring the balance.

I've passed on the name of this excellent forum, so hopefully, we shall soon make increase, [in membership, that is!]

Many thanks to all,

John
 

Busy Bee 

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I was at a recent debate on Queen rearing and their was a guest speaker. The topic of failing queens etc etc arose. Now, the general consensus of the debate was that you need plenty of drones, probably in excess of 1,500 so as to ensure queens get mated. He said they decovered that by reducing the number of drones in the hives throughout the year in a test apairy the subsequent queens gave problems ie failing queens etc etc.

They noticed that by maintaining good levels of drones, queens where less likely to give problems or fail. His last words where "plenty of drones".

Hope this may help


Busy Bee
 

Polyanwood 

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....the general consensus of the debate was that you need plenty of drones, probably in excess of 1,500 so as to ensure queens get mated.
Hmmm, makes me wonder whether drone cullling as part of varroa management has unintended negative consequences?
 
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Busy Bee 

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Well, just in case your wondering the person who gave the talk has in excess of 30 years queen rearing and bee genitics.

I also had the thought espically when using a super frame in a brood box for Varroa mite.

Busy Bee
 

planbee 

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As a matter of interest, something has niggled at me since Saturday evening, and it's this...

If a drone does not mate, and if it doesn't get terminated by Winter weather, or being turned out of a hive in the Autumn, and if it doesn't have a accident, like dashing itself to pieces on the "101" omnibus from Stoke-on-Trent to Stafford, how long do they live?

John
 

Busy Bee 

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Drone - from egg to mating potential 37 days
Drone life span 22-59 days.

Information by Ted Hooper, Guide to Bees & Honey Page 31

Busy Bee
 

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