As some of you guys may know by now, I do behavioral/learning discrimination research with bees down here in SC, and I have also recently become pretty actively involved in maintaining our hive...I cracked it open today for the first time really since winter and I'm pleased to say that it is doing really well and has a very strong population (although there is a little issue with Varroa at the moment). And tons of honey. Anyway, I have another quick question.
The work I'm going to be starting on this next week will be involving drones. About a week and a half ago they were pretty plentiful, coming and going from the hive in the morning, and I was quite pleased. In recent days they have settled down and seem to be keeping inside the hive more than before (like I said, I peered in today, and everything was good looking for the most part...including a representative proportion of drones).
The easiest way for me to collect the boys is to pop open the hive and snag them from off the honeycomb rather than to wait around for forever for them to leave the hive on their own. Furthermore, the drones I'm seeing inside the hive itself actually look and act more healthy than those I've been collecting leaving the entrance, and physiological fitness is certainly a concern with the next project. I'm a little concerned, however, that a week or two of daily hive-opening will disturb the bees too much. I'm very gentle and quick about getting them out, and it would only take a minute or two each day, but I'm worried that I might inadvertantly upset the hive. I'd only be collecting about 10 drones or so each day for about a week, and obviously only removing the outermost frames. Should I be concerned about disturbing the hive too much over this period of time, or will it make a difference at all. I've been advised that no, it probably won't, but I'd like to stay on the safe side...so I thought I'd ask the pros! Like I said, I'm new to this, and basically this is my first hive. I sure would hate to kill it or drive the girls to abscond. Couldn't find anything about this in all my books.
Or maybe there is an even easier way of drone collection I haven't thought of, yet?
peace and oranges