wasps and drones and this time of year

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RoseCottage 

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I have a couple of hives which moved to a new location about 6 weeks ago.
They sit next to each other on a 10' bench. There are wasps near the new location which is at the edge of a spinney which is quite isolated.

At the last inspection we noticed a lot of dead bees outside one of the hives. They were being brought out as we were there and wasps, perhaps, no more than 6-10, were also hanging round and making occasional entry attempts.

Nearly all the dead bees were drones. Is this end of year clearing out of the boys or something more serious? Do drones take on wasps as they are the larger bees in the colony (although stingless)?

Has anyone else noticed similar behaviour/outcomes at their hives?

The colony is strong and has a full super of capped honey, which I will take off and replace with sugar syrup in the next few weeks.

If left to wasps without intervention, such as opening reductions and traps, would s colony be killed or just held back?

All the best,
Sam
 
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JamesB 

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This time of year the drones are kicked out of the hive anyway, they have tbh pased their use ie just to breed with the Queen,

As Drones do nothing else ie they dont defend , dont forage or act as nursery bee's, they will be a strain on the hive's resources, soo they get evicted

As Drones cannot fend for themselves they will die.

Wasps are after the stores and grubs etc and wont attack just the drones, so i believe the hive is evicting them ready for winter :)
 

oliver90owner 

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Lets think here.

IF 5% of the colony were drones there would be, say, 1000 in a 20k colony. Eating 5% as much as the workers (well maybe less as they are not working). Not much compared to the uncapped brood, but too much when the colony falls on hard times (for forage) or readies itself for winter. So they are ejected and not allowed back in.

You say nearly all these dead bees are drones? If it were the war against the wasps, there should be 20 times more workers dead?

So it is normal readiness for times of dearth or for wintering.


Your other question without intervention, is missing the point really. Who was it that made the entrance so bl**dy wide in the first place?

One does not do that when putting out a bait hive! (well most don't); the bees must be more clever than some humans about these things!

So lets think - why do we have a 400mm wide entrance about 22mm deep? I believe it was simply a means of providing more than adequate ventilation for large colonies with multiple supers of nectar being reduced down for honey for the beekeeper.

How much of the actual area is in use for entry/exit at any particular time? Not more than 20%? It follows, then that 80% of it is not required and the bees would not need, or choose, to defend/patrol such a large border to their property. If the colohny is on an OMF, this means that, as ventilation is not an issue, the entrance need not be more than, say, 25% of the width of the hive at any time. They would cope with less in the wild as they only need enough stores to supply the colony and not that --- beekeeper who nicks it at every opportunity.

Weak colonies are plundered, not just by wasps but also other bees, given any opportunity. Colonies either defend (strong ones) or capitulate and die. They might just be 'held back' if their defences were only just adequate for the job, but that would be a rarity, I would think. Guard bees guard, they don't forage or tend brood while guarding. After a few days they 'move on' in the bees normal working life.

Maybe someone else may come up with another rational explanation, but somehow I think the above is adequate.

Regards, RAB

Regards, RAB
 

Monsieur Abeille 

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Guard bees are females so it follows that the stingless drones are likely to have been killed by their ever-loving sisters rather than the wasps.

As far as reduced entrance is concerned, it certainly helped a weak colony of mine which I took down to about a two bee passage -now greatly enlarged as the colony has strenghtened and the wasp threat diminished. My other, stronger colony, was still having problems without any narrowing of the entrance, so I halved it and they are now masters of any maurauding jaspers.

OMF in both cases so not overly worried about ventilation, I would guess though that you'd have to be more careful if you have solid floors.
 

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