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Dead drones at the front of the hive


#1

I started my Flow hive about 6 weeks ago with a swarm that I caught a few km away. Since then, the colony has been building up very strongly. They drew comb in all 8 brood frames within about 3 weeks, filled them with brood, honey and pollen and are now about 50% of the way through the Flow super.

What is worrying me is that every day there are about 5-10 dead bees dumped right near the landing board each day, all of them drones. I understand that is typical behaviour at the end of summer, but where I am, summer hasn’t even started yet!

Does anyone have any idea what is going on?


#2

That is very likely normal. Considering the queen lays 1,000 to 3,000 eggs each day, hundreds to thousands of bees must also be dying each day. Some die away from the hive, but many die in the vicinity. The job of undertaker bees is to take these dead siblings and dump them out of the front door. So I think you are just seeing evidence of tidy housekeeping by your bees. :wink:


#3

Oh, I totally get that. My question is - why are they all drones? I do see some dead workers scattered about the place, but for the most part the dead bees are drones.


#4

Hi, your hive could be under stress and the drones are casualities in reducing numbers of mouths to feed. Generally speaking if they are forced out then they will enter another hive but if your hive is the only one in the vicinity then they the workers may take matters into their own hands.


#5

Anything I should be looking for? It’s mid spring here, and the nectar and pollen seems to be flowing fine.

My only thought is the hive is getting hot. It was 36 C on the weekend, and the colony was bearding and fanning the hive entrance.


#6

Where are you Shoobs? and what is the nectar flow like in your area? Are there many trees in flower? do you see bees entering the hive with pollen on their legs? You could open the hive and check their honey and pollen stores and compare this to the amount of bees and brood in the hive, for every frame of brood, ideally there should be a band of pollen and a band of honey at the top of the frame… obviously this is ideal but you should be able to get an idea of the food pantry from a general check of each frame.


#7

Perth, Western Australia.

Plenty of pollen coming into the hive, as well as nectar. The brood frames are all banded in a rainbow sort of shape. Brood, pollen and honey in the same frame. The colony is working on the Flow super at the moment, which they’re just starting to cap.


#8

Sounds like the bees have it all under control, as Dawn suggested this may just be the cycle of life of a drone. When a worker dies in the hive, another worker has the ability to carry them away and drop a good distance from the hive, but the drones are too heavy so will remain out the front.


#9

I’ve observed the undertakers carry dead workers off into the distance but when the drones get carried away they are too heavy to carry far and finish up close to the hive often in front on the ground.


#10

Thanks guys, you read my mind… :blush: