What constitutes a drone laying queen?

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roche 

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During todays inspection, we found one colony with five frames of brood. Three of the frames had quite large patches of drone brood, the largest being maybe a third of one side of a frame. We haven't noticed before, maybe as it wasn't there, or we expected a bit. But given the time of year it seems a bit excessive. So I guess the first question is - does this constitute a serious drone layer, or should we wait a bit to make sure?

Given that it is a DLQ, should we just remove the queen and unite with another colony, or try to overwinter and unite or requeen in spring?

All opinions welcome....

Thanks
 

Midland Beek 

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If you have got combs that have large patches of drone cells, then you will get drones when the queen lays in them.

DLQ's can't help but lay unfertilized eggs because of their lack of sperm. So, you get drones in worker cells, and they come out stunted.
 

Hivemaker. 

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And often the bee's will neglect the larvae in the worker cells and it looks very much like efb....but the larvae will be neglected in all stages.
 

roche 

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Do you mean - remove the frame and replace it with a known drawn worker frame?
Would you let the drone brood hatch somewhere away from the main brood nest and then remove it, or remove it immediately?

Thanks,

Roche
 

oliver90owner 

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Would you let the drone brood hatch somewhere away from the main brood nest and then remove it, or remove it immediately?


Roche,

You are not thinking here! Do you want this amount of drone brood?

Is it capped?

Do you want the varroa loading, likely enclosed, if it is capped?

If not capped, they will need extra provisions and house bee attention at a time when new brood for winter bees is the priority. Do you need that?

I would remove it but dependent on the worker brood, make a decision as to whether to cut out, remove the frame, fork out the drone brood and return the frame just outside the nest and/or remove when the worker brood has hatched.

You can see the actual groupings, etc, so your judgement as to what way to go about it. Not much further help from the forum, I would suggest. (that should encourage a few more to chip in!).

Regards, RAB
 

Midland Beek 

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Any frame that I come across that is excessively droney gets a (white) coloured drawing pin put into the top bar. I work them to the edge. These are the ones in spring that get replaced with foundation, along with any broken or old and worn out combs.
 

Mike a 

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Do you mean - remove the frame and replace it with a known drawn worker frame?
Would you let the drone brood hatch somewhere away from the main brood nest and then remove it, or remove it immediately?

Thanks,

Roche
I would use an uncapping fork to remove all the capped drone brood + hopefully a fair few varroa then put the frame back in again. You may need to repeat this again a week later if there is more uncapped larvae on the frame. Leaving the drones to hatch will be a waste of stores when they emerge and want to be fed shortly before they get kicked out of the hive anyway.

If you remove the frame and do nothing to it other than store it the brood will die and decay in the cells which is poor management and likely pass on disease next time you use it. Then follow MB's advice if you want to swap out the frame early next year.
 

drstitson 

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as new beek haven't experienced this myself but would seem logical that if you have large patches of drone brood at this time of year you should be removing it.
if the rest of the frame has little to contribute to the winter colony i'd just remove it full stop.
if there is some worker brood and/or decent stores i'd cut out the offending area. it would seem logical that if these are true drone cells then they'll be reused as such in future? so simple uncapping will leave drone cells for next year but will undoubtedly allow varroa ssessment and removal. i'd cut out, and if just needed for stores move the frame outwards. if viable brood left then i'd replace within the brood area.
 

Chris Luck 

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Personally if I had Drone brood at this time of year I would think something was horribly wrong, all living Drones long gone here by a month now, is that different in the UK?

Chris
 

Midland Beek 

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Personally if I had Drone brood at this time of year I would think something was horribly wrong, all living Drones long gone here by a month now, is that different in the UK?

Chris
Yes. Mine have stopped rearing drones, but I have not witnessed their extermination.
 

kazmcc 

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Ours still have capped drone brood along the bottom of the frames in the centre of the brood, I'd say between 10 - 15 per frame, not many, so about 20 - 30 in all. Is that a problem?
 

Hivemaker. 

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Many colonys still have some capped drone brood,perfectly normal..
 

kazmcc 

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Many colonys still have some capped drone brood,perfectly normal..
Do they still lay drones just in case? What would happen if something happened to the queen? I understand it's a bit late for a queen to be mated, but surely bees have a contingency plan, after all, it is the time of year for robbing and other cretures looking for food to have a go. She could get damaged or killed in the process
 

Hivemaker. 

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but surely bees have a contingency plan,

Not that i am aware of,but queens can still mate perfectly well in september if the weather is good...some colonys will have a small proportion of drones in all winter, even though they have a good well mated queen.
 

roche 

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Thanks people for your responses. I had to disappear abroad at no notice, but Mrs R has destroyed drone brood...Watch this space for developments.
 

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