Question from last year

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May 26, 2021
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I was reviewing my notes on last year's activity as I contemplate the first inspection of this year. I noticed that I had recorded something that puzzled me at the time and I wonder if I'm missing the explanation for it.

I'd inspected the colony last year at around this time (23rd March), found the queen and about 3 frames of brood, put on a QE and put on a super because the brood box seemed a bit full of stores.
On re-inspecting the same colony a couple of weeks later all appeared well except that I found what looked like Drone brood on the base of some of the super frames, adjacent to the QE but obviously the wrong side of it.

So, what might be the explanation? Is it conceivable that some workers were laying in the super despite the fact that the queen was busy laying in the BB? Is there some other expanation? It didn't happen in any of my other 2 hives and I didn't see it again last year. I'm just curious...
Firstly, I would not be putting a super on with only three frames of brood ... just too much space at a time of the year when it's still relatively cold on some days and there really isn't the volume of forage around to start filling supers.

As to what has happened might not have been brood ...were they drone cells ? Which they can build when there is spare space but there might not have been brood in them .... they could just be trying to block off the extra space you have given them when they don't really want it. Free comb is a more efficient way for them to control airflow to areas they don't want to lose heat to. Did you check in the drone cells to see if there were larvae in them ?

If you had a queen laying in the brood box, if they were producing some drone brood (and mine start fairly early) it tends to be in patches around and below the worker brood. It is possible that you had a rogue laying worker .. with the extra space you gave them it's a slight chance that the queen's pheremones were a bit weaker above the queen excluder and one decided to get going but it's the least likely possibility.

With only three frames of brood the queen (even if she was small enough to slip through the excluder) would almost certainly not be directed to lay above the excluder by the committee for egg placement.

Just an anomaly - probably the result of too much space too early - even with the exceptional spring we had last year I would not add supers until I've got 6 or 7 frames of brood (I'm on 14 x 12).
I am with Pargyle, it seems very early for actual drone brood!
OK, thanks. Unfortunately I didn't investigate it more thoroughly at the time so I can't say whether it was genuine drone brood or brace comb.

Just been out to look at the hives and am pleased to see lots and lots of pollen-laden bees going into all three. They seem nicely active. And the weather is looking up...

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