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Author Topic: Smell of Drones  (Read 1231 times)
Lone
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« on: December 02, 2013, 10:24:36 PM »

Hello folks,

Some time ago I shared my adventures with you of Drama Queen, which I tried to replace 3 times.  Although she disappeared from the hive the last time we searched for her, I feel sure she will pop up again someplace and continue to haunt me.  

Now, she had definitely abandoned her hive, so we decided it was safe enough to install a nice new queen.  Maybe the evil of the queen however had infiltrated the hive, because next time I checked, there was nothing but drones.  The workers had presumably decided "better the devil queen you know", and done away with the interloper.  From memory of what Michael Bush has suggested, the only way to deal with a laying worker is to place a frame of eggs into the hive for 3 weeks. Being busy at the time I managed 2 frames of eggs.  I saw they had tried to make queen cells from drone eggs.  When I put the 2nd frame of eggs in there were no queen cells at all on the first frame I installed.  I'd reduced the hive to a single and plenty of time has passed now that either there is a new queen or it's come time to abandon ship and save what I can from the wreckage.  I haven't had the courage to find out yet.

Now, what struck me when I discovered the drones, was the smell.  Ever paranoid about AFB and not having smelt it before, that was my first thought.  But there were no other signs of AFB in the hive. The only way I can describe the smell is "burnt vegemite".  I took to google to find out if drones smell.  Nothing on beemaster.  I did come across this page, with a comment that dead drones smell worse than marmite.   Maybe they have never tasted burnt vegemite.  http://www.honeybeesuite.com/essence-of-dead-drone/  But the drones in my hive were mainly all pupae, not dead.  Does anyone have the experience of smelly drones with the odour of a black bread spread?

When I took the top box of drone frames home, I noticed something else.  Some of those drone larvae were wiggling and I realised they were most likely SHB grubs.  Perhaps I hadn't noticed them on site because they were lying still in the cells trying to mimic bee larvae?  Has anyone noticed this also?

The only thing I can say for sure is that nothing else can go wrong with this murphy's law hive...or can it.......?

Lone
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Anybrew
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« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2013, 04:28:29 PM »

Lone,I have had both AFB and been slimed by SHB. Have a good look at the combs and yes there is an odour and it is yeasty and at times like rotting Oranges. Apparently you can see silver like scales on the bottom of the cells,I found this difficult though to see.

In my limited experience the SHB larvae masked the AFB(The hives is already weak from AFB and SHB take over) by slimeing until I pulled the hive apart and did the match test.
You know the one stick a match into a cell with a dead larvae and see if it strings out. You will know if it does.
Bee Real clean,use washing up gloves and throw away, flame your hive tools etc etc soak Bee Suit in bleach or use stuff that you normally dont use around your bee's. eg Old clothes not your bee suit,a chisel instead of a hive tool.....

Cheers
Steve
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Lone
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« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2013, 06:37:03 PM »

Hello Steve,

There was none of those signs of AFB, no holes in cells, not too many dead larvae, no stringing, no depressed cells.  I was pretty confident it isn't AFB so I've already put some of those frames into other hives.

There was also no SHB slime, just a few larvae, all separated, not en masse.

That smell though - vegemite is yeast extract so has a yeasty smell..

The beekeeper who owns that site will be home soon.  He is originally from round your area so has seen lots of AFB before.

Lone
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Anybrew
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« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2013, 10:58:45 PM »

Hey Lone ok no worries from what you are sayin, it sounds like its not AFB thank @#$! its a real bastard. Your right about the sunken cappings and holes they are easy to spot.
Maybe the blokes as in male Bee's just smell up your way. Us New South Welshman Bee's are sweet smelling lol.

I had a queenless hive with a drone laying worker and I shook them out on the ground in front of some other hives and that solved that problem quick smart.
Ok good luck.

Cheers
Steve

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bernsad
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« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2013, 12:56:07 AM »

Us New South Welshman Bee's are sweet smelling lol.

Probably got a dab of nectar under the wings just to keep the ladies interested! grin
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Lone
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« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2013, 01:09:33 AM »

Yes Steve, I have my wings crossed.  Planning to check them for sure tomorrow, and they'll get the tip out treatment if they're still drony.  It would be good to hear from others with all drone brood - have you noticed an unusual smell?

I think you're right to say that all males stink, from Tasmania to Cape York....  Wink

Lone
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Anybrew
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« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2013, 03:09:51 AM »

hahahahahahaha embarassed
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Lone
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« Reply #7 on: December 05, 2013, 05:26:08 AM »

No drones, no eggs.  Tipped the few remaining bees out and during that process we found a big swarm starting to congregate on a huge chinee apple tree about 15 feet up.  It was Super Nico to the rescue with a chainsaw on a stick.  Not the most elegant of swarm rescues to be sure when half of them plopped onto the ground, but they are currently stuffed into a double deep and at our home site now.  We never guessed that the empty hive would come into use so soon.

I noticed that even without the drone brood the smell remained on the wax, so it must be caused by something else.  Nico said it wasn't the same smell as AFB.

Lone
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Anybrew
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« Reply #8 on: December 05, 2013, 03:41:16 PM »

Thats awesome catching that swarm. You must just have Apis Pongo Bee's up your way.

Cheers
Steve
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Nico
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« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2013, 05:23:59 PM »

Lone
you will have the safety-dept. looking for me if you refer to my pruning saw as a chain saw on a stick, but yes it did not appear the most elegant swarm capture owing to the nature of the tree. Chinee Apple (Ziziphus Mauritiana) a pest in Queensland, grow with intertwining branches with small hooked thorns, these are a devil to separate. We had to remove the lower branches to get to the swarm, during the process the lower half of the swarm was shaken and dropped to the ground, All's well that ends well and all the bees went into the box I hope, they were going in as I went home.
Nico   
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ozbee
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« Reply #10 on: December 17, 2013, 06:46:06 PM »

Smell is SHB residue, the original queen has left so why waste time and money on replacement. Split another hive a double' into two doubles. You may have set yourself up for a few losses by moving egg laden frames across.
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Lone
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« Reply #11 on: December 18, 2013, 07:34:21 AM »

Oz, do SHB larvae smell even if they haven't yet damaged or slimed the hive?

You are correct that it seems to be a waste of time and resources to add eggs into a laying worker hive.  Has anyone been successful in rearing a queen from a laying worker hive?

I'm more saddened by the fact that initially when trying to requeen the bad mannered hive, it was your replacement queen that was lost  Cry    However, there is a good chance it was again your queen we captured in the swarm!  My hive and the swarm were at the apiary site that generally buys your queens each year.  And she's a ripper.  Checked today and the bees fill 2 deeps easy; and there are at least 5 frames containing eggs or young larvae.  And very polite, calm bees.

We are at the limit for hives.  Every time we have split it is a set back for honey production, but we will split if needed.

Nico, thanks for cutting me a chinee apple walking stick too.  The fellas tell me they used to make shovel handles from chinee apple.  I asked them where they were and they told me they'd disintegrated.  So some smart person added that it's because they were leaning on the shovels too much.

Steve, sorry to insinuate you are malodorous.   embarassed  Drones may be big boofy and mainly useless, but apparently don't smell bad.

Lone
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iddee
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« Reply #12 on: December 18, 2013, 08:55:23 AM »

Oz has it right. SHB will smell up a hive long before sliming it. I'm also surprised the swarm stayed in it with the SHB smell in it. Most I have put in hives with SHB smell have left the same day.
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"Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me . . . Anything can happen, child. Anything can be"

*Shel Silverstein*
Lone
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« Reply #13 on: December 19, 2013, 12:32:25 AM »

Thanks Iddee!  I don't spose you'd know if the smell is something like burnt vegemite...?   grin  I'm glad the swarm stayed put. I know that for next time now and will get rid of that comb instead of reusing it. I wonder if I need to rotate the smelly frames out or do you think the bees will clean them up?  Some of them have brood in now.

Lone
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iddee
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« Reply #14 on: December 19, 2013, 05:14:01 AM »

No, I've never burned vegemite. I would think if they stayed and she started laying, they have cleaned it up. An inspection would likely reveal the normal smell of a healthy hive.
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"Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me . . . Anything can happen, child. Anything can be"

*Shel Silverstein*
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