Still no drones

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by Bens-Bees, Apr 7, 2010.

  1. Bens-Bees

    Bens-Bees New Member

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    I am getting downright frustrated at the complete lack of drones. I feel like I am unable to do anything without those drones, but they still haven't emerged. The girls are already building swarm cells (not complete and still empty), yet nary a drone to be found. I have been chomping at the bit to make this split but I can't see any way to do it without drones.

    On another note, we clearly have a flow going now. The girls have filled two deep frames with nectar and drew out a couple new medium frames... sure wish I could split 'em.
     
  2. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    I have not seen any drones flying yet. I did notice this past week hives with capped drone brood. But I haven't even seen any hatched yet. And yes, I got a call from a beekeeper with queen cells a couple nights ago. Way too hot, way too soon.

    I normally do not count on drones till late April, and in most years wait until mid-April before even thinking of grafting.
     

  3. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    No drones on this end of town either SgtMaj.

    Like you said there is definately a flow, with the apple trees blooming and all kinds of flowers.

    The bees are ignoring the honey from the hive cut out the other day, not even one bee is looking at it. I did put a small piece of honey comb on the front entrance of their hive and scratched the caps off, they are pulling bits of the wax off and reusing it mostly.

    G3
     
  4. rast

    rast New Member

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    Plenty of drones here. Shouldn't be long for y'all.
     
  5. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    I've got drones. Wanna rent some stud service? All services after the first one from each drone will be free.
     
  6. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    drone production has been late here this year.

    I have plenty of drones now... mine are prettier than Iddee's.
     
  7. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    I got into some of my hives last weekend and found alot of capped drone brood ( but no drones). Isn't it about two weeks after they hatch that they can breed? i think thats what some of the oldtimers use to say. :confused: Jack
     
  8. Bens-Bees

    Bens-Bees New Member

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    I'll just be happy once they hatch. See, I created a royal mess for myself this year... I have this hive with a 10 frame deep on top of two mediums... and I've gone to all 8-frame mediums and I'm trying to get rid of the deep. Trouble is, the girls don't want to give up that deep... they have been staying in there and unwilling to vacate it. So last year I started swapping out deep frames with mediums in the deep box in hopes that I could then move them down to a medium later. Well they of course built comb onto the bottom of the medium frames, which was expected... but they put all their drone comb down there so I can't move those medium frames into a medium box until the drones hatch out. Once they hatch I'm free to scrape it off and do the split even if there's another round of drones being raised (there are other hives in the area that will also have drones to contribute, so even if this hive only has around 50-100 or so, that'd be enough with the others from the other hives nearby.

    Anyway, somehow I have to figure out how to split this hive, then swap out the rest of the deep frames... this is not going to be easy. The deep box is literally falling apart, and I doubt it could make another winter if I don't get them out of it this year. The good news is that they've spilled over into the mediums below it and have filled them in with brood as well... the bad news is that the deep is still full as well... so I have a mess on my hands now.

    By the way, for those who are new to beekeeping, the reason this is such a mess is that with 10-frame equipment on this hive, and 8-frame with everything else I've built, I don't have a single box I can add to this hive to give them room to store this flow. They have filled out all 3 boxes on the hive now with mostly brood, and they still have about a frame and a half of unused space, but that will go very quickly with a hive this size. Without having the ability to split due to the lack of drones, the only other real option I have is to keep swaping out frames as they draw them out but before they fill them to make them use up as much of the nectar as possible... if I don't then they'll either backfill the brood frames until they become honey-bound, or I could pull the frames of nectar before they are cured which means they'll just go bad. So I don't have any really good options here for managing their space. Also, since most of the brood is already capped, when it hatches out, there is not going to be enough space for all the bees in these three boxes, hence the desperate need to split... hence the desperate need for these danged drones to hatch out. Once they hatch out I'll split, by the time the splits have enough time to raise new queens the drones should be mature enough to mate and I'll be good to go... if the drones would just cooperate and hatch out in the next 2-3 days... so the lesson here is that when experienced beekeepers tell you to standardize up-front, they are giving you good advice!!! I wouldn't be in a pickle here if I had a garage full of 10-frame boxes or if I had gone with 8-frame up front.
     
  9. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    An 8 frame box can be put on a ten frame hive with a board and a thin bead of silicone caulk.
     
  10. Bens-Bees

    Bens-Bees New Member

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    Oh, good idea!! I did not think of that.
     
  11. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    Jack writes:
    Isn't it about two weeks after they hatch that they can breed? i think thats what some of the oldtimers use to say.

    tecumseh:
    that is what the bee books say also. maturation of the semen requires about two weeks beyond the date of emergence.

    I would suspect SgtMaj that although you see no drones in your own hives there are likely some out there already.... unless you are at a fairly high altitude or are setting in an extremely unusual and isolated location.
     
  12. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    Just noticed my first drones walking around the frames yesterday. :thumbsup:
     
  13. Chickm1

    Chickm1 New Member

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    I have had drones for over a month now. Have been working my hives, trying to kill the swarm impulse, in one of them. I have destroyed so many swarm cells in it, that it is pathetic. I finally pulled 4 frames of brood out, with 2 cells attached, and started another hive. Still looks like a split, is in the near future.
     
  14. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    Chick,
    The only way to have a chance at killing that impulse is to "artificially swarm" the bees yourself.

    You did the right thing in removing the frames. This alleviates congestion, and also gives you a benefit of additional colonies. But when you do this, also pull the old queen. The hive will all of a sudden realizes that the old queen is gone (One function of swarming is replacing the queen) with some of the bees are gone, you also opened up the brood chamber, and so the swarm impulse is suppressed. This may not work all the time. But I have found it to be the best solution.

    If strong enough, pull a couple more frames and make a second nuc.

    I have found that the old advice of trying to cut swarm cells about as bad advice as it comes. Many times, the hive swarms anyways, your left with a queenless hive, and your production is wasted in the process anyways. Leaving you with no additional queens or splits.

    Swarming is not always about a big crowded hive. It is also natures way of ensuring a colony is headed by a first year queen.
     
  15. Bens-Bees

    Bens-Bees New Member

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    Well, I finally have drones... none are flying yet that I noticed, but I don't really care, they will be by the time the girls can raise a new queen and she's ready to mate. So I also split today. My girls had a few queen cells in use as well, but not enough to make me think they were planning on swarming, but perhaps they are planning to supercede. Man oh man are they ever upset with me now though. To make the split I had to destroy about 1/2 of a medium frame's worth of drone brood that they had built under one of the medium frames that's in the deep box. Oh well, they have plenty more drones already and that was the only way I could ensure both frames had at least 1 frame of eggs each so that either one can raise a queen if need be at this point. I realize now that I should have put some feed on them... oops, I'll have to add a feeder tonight before work.
     
  16. Hobie

    Hobie New Member

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    I saw one drone, yesterday, wandering around aimlessly on the ground about 100 ft from a hive. I reminded him of his duty.
     
  17. CentralPAGuy

    CentralPAGuy New Member

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    I don't see any drones in my backyard hives, but I am seeing them in my outyards. One day, I saw a couple of big ones venture out onto the landing board, but back they went. I too have queen cells that I helped create -- my intention was to buy a couple of queens, but they were next to impossible to find or I had to wait weeks.

    By the way, my neighbor's hive has drones about -- Not sure if they were flying yet.
     
  18. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    Checked some hives i have north of me (60 miles) all were alive but one was weak, just a double hand full of bees with a queen that had patches of brood on two frames.This was one of my strongest hives last year,i cleaned the dead bees off the bottomboard and stole a frame of brood and nurse bees from one of the other hives and put them in. They still had stores but several frames had bees head first in the comb? guess it got to cold for them to move to stores.
    Another hive had two deeps one with 7 frames of brood and 8 frames of brood in the other :thumbsup: (I took some to make nucs) It also had a med. super on it that had some nectar in the top half of the frames and Drone cells on the bottom half of 9 of the 10 frames? don't remember seeing that many drone cells on frames without any worker cells, What's up? Swarming maybe. :confused: Jack
     
  19. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    I would think the super had been drawn with honey size cells and drones fit where workers wouldn't.
     
  20. Yuleluder

    Yuleluder New Member

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    I saw drones climbing about the frames a couple weeks ago. This weekend I grafted a couple of cell bars to see if any would take. I'm in San Fran this week so I won't be able to find out until Saturday.

    Bjornbee, Did you get a chance to check out your first graft of the season?