Another Down under beekeeper just joined. Looks like a huge forum you've got here, looking forward to trawling through and reading up, need to brush up on a few things!
I live in SA and currently have only 3 hives, until yesterday they were in the back yard but had to move them since next door is planning construction and I don't want the bees to get upset by the noise and attack the workers.
Anyway to the point, something strange happened lately, not sure if it's a problem I'd just like to know what folks here think (I have done a search on here but couldn't find a similar story) Last night I moved 2 of my hives to a larger property (better hive access!
), further from people etc etc. First hive I moved was the youngest and healthiest, I just put an empty honey super on last week and the hive was a swarm this time last year.
The other one I moved was my oldest, and my first ever hive. It must be getting to about 4 years old I guess. It has 2 brood boxes only at the moment, I've been lazy lately and haven't got around to looking at it after winter. The move went reasonably well, they didn't spend too much time in transit and they seemed happy enough in their new spot.
Fast forward to tonight when I moved the last hive (the most difficult to move and most aggresive bees too
) When I got to the new site, I found that one of the hives (the oldest one) had many many dead drones right outside the entrance. I'd never seen so many drones in one place. There must have been many hundrends if not thousands, literally a pile. It was 100% dead drones, no workers from what I could see.
This was all in the dark so the workers were no longer active. Two questions; Should I be worried about the number of drones in that hive? And why were they there? (dead on the outside)
My first thoughts were it's because the queen is getting old, she may not be as fertile as she used to be and is laying alot of drone brood. And Somehow the move triggered the colony to eject all of the drones for some reason
Could I have stressed them?
I haven't had a chance to look inside, nor was I there during the day when all the action was happening. Seems like an odd time of year for them to be ejecting the drones, coming into spring and all.
Anyway I'm keen to hear what others think, and if I should be worried about this. Oh and before I forget, this hive is due for some major work in the near future. It's a long story but basically the top box is full depth but the frames inside are 3/4...don't ask
I know every frame in the top box will have comb hanging off the bottom joined to the bottom frames, I've seen it before. Therefore it's going to be a big job to clean it up. If this drone thing is a problem should I hold off on disturbing the hive so much?
I'll stop typing now!
Thanks in advance