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Bees cannibalizing drone larvae, Normal? (short video)


In one of my hives (my stronger one) i saw the workers pulling out the drone larvae and cannibalizing them. There were 2-3 workers literally heads inside the drone hollowing him out then discarding the husk that was left. I made a short video. Is it normal for them to eat their larvae? Turn to 1080p for best viewing. :slight_smile:


Yes, it’s normal. It usually indicates a pollen dearth and possibly a general dearth.


Fireweed is in bloom so they have tons of nectar available. I’m not sure of the pollen value of fireweed, i don’t think its much compared to other flowers around here in Alaska.


Is that the hive you looked into 4 days ago?
Perhaps you are looking in too often?
Fireweed pollen is dark green/blue so you should see them bringing that in


was more like 7. takes a couple days to edit/upload. I have a week straight of rain coming or else i would have waited.


What was the state of their stores?
It’s the middle of summer here with lots of forage being battered by rain for the last two weeks; I’m feeding two of mine.


This ones stores are good i think. I have a longer (probably too long) video uploading now. I show every frame so you all can remotely mentor/monitor me. That was the idea anyways. I’m working on getting faster. I did cover the top box when i took it off to preserve the heat this time.


Then don’t worry about the drones :slight_smile:


my flow hive has only one solid frame of nectar and that’s it… they are eating pollen patty like crazy. I should probably start feeding the flow hive. I have a top feeder for them would that be appropriate?


Flowers do not a nectar flow equal lol.
Too little rain, too much rain, etc can shut down a flow. Some years the Locust trees fill box upon box, other years…nothing.


I will keep that in mind. Ahh the intricacies of beekeeping. I only say there’s nectar because they are filling alot of comb with it and i haven’t fed them for over a month.There’s a lot more in there than after i fed.


VSH (Varroa Sensitive Hygiene) bees are well-known for this behavior.


Excellent information. I hope others learn from this as much as me :smiley:


Here is an article discussing it:


Crossed my mind too…


I’ll look more closely next inspection for mites.


Visual inspection is pretty unreliable, and I am not sure that this is the best time of year to do it anyway. I like to get an idea of mite load going into fall - say late August, unless there are other signs of a heavy load such as deformed wings. Sugar roll or alcohol wash are the most accurate ways to count. I use the sugar method, as you won’t kill so many bees doing the test.
This is a detailed description of how to do it, but I actually bought a “Gizmo” to do mine this year - pretty cool device, and the plans are free if you want to make your own.


You might find it difficult to see them.
pop in your inspection tray for a couple of days. dead mites fall to the floor. It’s not an accurate method of determining infestation but it will give you an idea


Good link for Varroa management and testing.


Seconded. It is a great link! The only thing missing is a stronger recommendation (and guidelines) for vaporizing oxalic acid, but the US is a little behind in that regard… :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: