NZBF: Late drone cells

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Wknz

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I was doing my winter pack down and apivar strips yesterday. Going through the hives checking honey levels, cell health etc.

I pulled one frame and it had a ton of drone cells in the middle of the frame, not towards the bottom as normal.

This seems very late for drones to be bred. I would have thought they would reduce drones as the weather cools.

Plenty of capped and uncapped larvae so the queen seems active - although I didnt see her.
 

Trevor Gillbanks

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I was doing my winter pack down and apivar strips yesterday. Going through the hives checking honey levels, cell health etc.

I pulled one frame and it had a ton of drone cells in the middle of the frame, not towards the bottom as normal.

This seems very late for drones to be bred. I would have thought they would reduce drones as the weather cools.

Plenty of capped and uncapped larvae so the queen seems active - although I didnt see her.
Damaged cells that the bees have repaired as drone cell. Cycle the frame out
 
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Temperature and daylight length do have an effect on how many drones they raise but the amount of fresh nectar coming in seems to have a greater effect. As long as they are getting some fresh honey a lot of hives will still keep raising drones and I have seen my hives around home with drone brood in them all winter. I would be more concerned about how late you are putting your strips in. You are not leaving much time to raise healthy varoa free bees before winter.
 
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Wknz

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245
156
Christchurch
Experience
Beginner
Temperature and daylight length do have an effect on how many drones they raise but the amount of fresh nectar coming in seems to have a greater effect. As long as they are getting some fresh honey a lot of hives will still keep raising drones and I have seen my hives around home with drone brood in them all winter. I would be more concerned about how late you are putting your strips in. You are not leaving much time to raise healthy varoa free bees before winter.
I ran short and had to order more. Most of hives done beginning of march.
I stripped the most effected ones first.

Still pollen coming in ... in fact some frames mostly pollen which delayed my pack down. Needed some space to get honey frames in. Waited till brood hatched and swapped them. 8 frames honey per hive now where one of them had less than 4 and tons of pollen in bottom two boxes.

We had drones all winter last year. This year the girls are already knocking on our back door in the a.m. warmth seems to attract them. Could be a cold one this year.

20210322_095504.jpg
 
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3,342
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Hawkes Bay
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Hives should be packing pollen Into every spare space at this time of year.
If we have a good winter and spring then those pollen stores might not be needed but the weather is not always kind and stored pollen can be vitally important to the hive. Research suggests that they prefer fresh pollen to stored and I think that's probably true but it is also true that they prefer stored pollen to no pollen. Most of my hives have really good pollen stores this autumn and I will see the benefits of that in the spring.
 

Wknz

Silver
245
156
Christchurch
Experience
Beginner
Hives should be packing pollen Into every spare space at this time of year.
If we have a good winter and spring then those pollen stores might not be needed but the weather is not always kind and stored pollen can be vitally important to the hive. Research suggests that they prefer fresh pollen to stored and I think that's probably true but it is also true that they prefer stored pollen to no pollen. Most of my hives have really good pollen stores this autumn and I will see the benefits of that in the spring.
Thanks for the info. My issue was there was not enough honey stored in bottom two boxes so wanted to ensure enough frames of honey too.

It's a real balancing act. The girls are still dragging in pollen so that's a good sign. I purchased some protein patties ready just in case they are needed but hopefully they have enough.

Regards

Excess pollen and drone brood in the centre of your frames could also be sign of a failing Queen.
That thought had occurred. This was her second season so will requeen next year.
 
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I have some drone brood and plenty of drones on the frames. This time of the year is not unusaual to have drones however other years its warmer and more honeydew coming in(some very small amount still coming). Colonies still strong and I equaly spread the food so I hope I don't have to buy sugar.
 


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