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Author Topic: variation in drone numbers  (Read 539 times)
WhipCityBeeMan
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« on: July 24, 2010, 08:51:39 PM »

I live in Massachusetts and have 10 hives (give or take depending on the year).  I raised Italians for several years but this year switched to Russian hybrids.  I am happy with them thus far.  My question is that I have noticed significantly less drone bees that in years past.  Do Russians produce less drones than Italians or could it be a difference in the year we are having???
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AllenF
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« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2010, 09:07:24 PM »

Maybe less drones are a good thing.
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BjornBee
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« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2010, 12:42:36 PM »

The Russians have been reproducing at low numbers for years.....  rolleyes

In switching over from Italians to Russians, you replaced older queens with new queens. You in many ways, achieved what one of the functions of swarming.....provide young first year queens. So the bees are probably in no way urgent to replace queens through swarming or supercedure as they normally are. Bees will make drones in higher numbers as they prepare for swarming or through the first part of the flow, as days get longer, temps rise, etc. Not sure your timing in requeening, but you may have suppressed all those urges and are benefitting now from requeening by having young, productive hives, with no sense or urge of raising drones.
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slacker361
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« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2010, 12:46:07 PM »

so with this in mind can you tell the age of your queen by how many drones are hanging around    i.e. more drones older queen?
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BjornBee
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« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2010, 01:57:59 PM »

No.

Bees are programmed to swarm and replace queens annually. Through manipulations, we can somewhat control that urge. So any true telltale signs of queen/drone ratio, even if it did exist (I do not think there is), is thrown off by the way we keep bees.

Hives do produce more drones early in the season. And drone comb is quickly filled with nectar as the season progresses and the swarm season declines.

Since drones are attracted and permitted to hang out in hives preparing to swarm or supercede, any count in relationship to queen age would be impossible.
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