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Drone ejection in summer


Hi. I’ve recently found about 50 drones dead outside my hive. It’s summer here and there has been some very hot days… would this be why?

A few days ago, i went to check the bees (just the entrance) and immediately had about 6 bees buzzing around me until i moved about 5m away. There was a lot of bearding on the front of the hive… could this be related? I’ve never had the bees grumpy like this before.


When the forage is very slow the hive will start to kick out the drones rather than waste food on them. This usually happens at the end of the season anyway as no drones are taken through winter.

We had that end of July this year as we had a shortage of forage.

Come the end of summer, the brood will slow right down but then the Queen will start to make winter or Fat bees.

These bees live longer as they are fed differently and do not kill themselves out foraging, which creates a great deal of wear and tear on the bees especially their wings. The forage bees often go off to die when they have damaged their wing so much they can no longer fly.

I find when the forage was over my bees got a bit more than grumpy. They became quite possessive and we also had wasps to deal with as they were struggling for forage as well.

Check on you bees stores. Have you got enough or are they eating their way through them?

If the forage is low you may have to feed them.

Check locally and find out is this normal or is forage low.


Check the stores. If there has been a prolonged hot spell nectar sources can dry up and the bees can sacrifice not only drones but brood as well. They eat the grubs.
Time for a colony inspection.
Have a look and tell us what you find and let us know so that we can all learn

It’s actually even more complicated than that. There is a link between Vitellogenin (the different food that Valli speaks of) and nest duties. Vitellogenin is an egg yolk precursor-type of protein that bees use to make food for larvae and to feed to foraging bees. Bees whose bodies are high in this use it for that purpose. Bees whose vitellogenin levels are exhausted become foragers. It is this brood rearing that exhausts them. In the winter, of course, little brood is looked after so the bees live longer before becoming foragers.

Read this
It’s good stuff


Brilliant read via that link Dee, thank you for sharing. Fascinating subject…and a very resourceful website in general. I recommend all to take a gander at it.

“… protein is precious to the honeybee colony, and its sole natural source is a mixture of plant pollens. Bees store reserves of protein in the bodies of house bees in the form of vitellogenin, and conserve those reserves zealously, by recovering them before house bees graduate to become field bees. Field bees thus give up the life-extending and immunicological benefits of vitellogenin. Protein is transferred within the colony from bee to bee by the sharing of vitellogenin produced by nurse bees. Vitellogenin levels affect the foraging behavior of field bees. Nurse bees, queens, and winter bees are long-lived and more stress and disease resistant due to their high vitellogenin titers. Successful wintering is dependent upon the last rounds of bees emerging in the late summer/fall having adequate pollen available in the broodnest.”

Huge implications upon supplemental feeding practices I suspect. Thank you again, brilliant.


Glad you liked it.
I think the guys website is an inspiration.
I visit it frequently.


For some reason the bees must have felt the drones were no longer required & decided it was a waste of food feeding them. In relation to cranky bees: If you have a very young queen & colony, it’s a possibility that that queens progeny is only just starting to mature into guard bees. You’ll know what the hives overall temperament is like next time you open it. Have your smoker handy:) just in case:)

In relation to the drones: if there’s little chance of any virgin queens needing to be mated, (the bees will know) there’s no point in the bees feeding drones with precious food reserves. When the conditions are more favorable for swarming, the bees will make more drones.


I’ve not noticed any more dead drones. I’m planning to open the hive tomorrow to check on honey. They are bringing in lots of pollen.

The colony is about 4 months old. They’ve been fine since that one time of defensiveness. The hive is 3x8 frame deeps and rammed full of bees. The queen is laying in all boxes.

I’m expecting my flow frames this week. Do you think i should put the queen excluder on top of the existing 3 boxes with the flow hive on top? Or put the excluder on top of the 2nd box… then harvest the 3rd once capped and brood free… then put flow frames on?


Hi, sounds like you could take a nuc off it, otherwise it could swarm. I would take whatever honey is near fully capped & free of brood, look out for the queen. I would only use 1 super for brood. I would put your best 4 brood frames in the bottom box, checkerboarding with fresh foundation. Queen excluder, then the rest of the brood frames above that, after you’ve taken a nuc from it.

I checked on my hives yesterday, I’ve got some serious work ahead of me with robbing & splitting lots of my hives to prevent swarming. I better get started for the day. cheers


Remember in the USA, you must register all drones by mid February.


Sounds like a lot of work! Do I have to paint a number on each drone, or fit a unique transponder to it for ID purposes?



How is that going to work??? That is just silly! Queens perhaps but drones?? Next they will want each worker to have individual Foot prints, and Barcode’s, Register the Wing pattern and have full DNA, RNA and Health Certificate

NOT! Sorry just had a really good Laugh over that - I really hope you’re not serious and it was a typo :joy:


About time they were registered here, the number of idiots that fly them.
If one appeared in my garden I’d shoot it down.


I think this discussion is at cross purposes @lsolesbee

We were talking about Bee Drones ( Male Bees)

You seem to be talking about Drones (helicopters)


It was but there is room for a sense of humour surely?


I suppose we are so Bee Focused it didn’t occur to me at first - then I started imagining all sorts of Drone recording processes


oh man… slipped this one in like a real professional. I got a much needed chuckle out of this, this morning.


So, I checked on the hive. There was plenty of capped honey but lower levels of pollen. There’s still brood present throughout the hive, a small amount on the central 4 frames of the 3rd box. It was a rather clumsy inspection, I got a fair bit of attention from the bees and I didn’t get into the bottom box.

I’m not particularly wanting to start a new hive or sell a nuc. Is leaving them with 3 boxes and a flow on top likely to provoke a swarm? Intuitively, I feel like giving the queen her 3 boxes to lay through should keep her happy? Do they tend to swarm because of lack of space or because they’ve got a big enough population to successfully shed a swarm?

I’ve put the queen excluder on top of the 3rd box with the flow on top. They’ve started having a look around. :slightly_smiling:

I think they are still a bit unsettled after the inspection, I’m getting a little attention when I go to have a look.

I’m a bit disappointed with the quality of the woodwork, I’ve had to trim the joints a fair bit to get them to fit and the rear panel is still jamming, I might need to plane it.

I heard you got fined if the drones flew over the airport as well.


well I’m glad some of you get my humor. I fly a quadcopter and the new FAA law requires registration. Fortunately, one registration ID# is enough for all the drones I may own.


I put the flow frames in a box on top of the three boxes about 2 weeks ago, with the queen excluder immediately below the flow frames.

Today I had a look inside and they haven’t drawn any comb out on the flow hive. The brood is still stretching into the third deep.

I’ve moved the queen excluder down one to clear the 3rd box of brood and harvest it. And then put the flow hive on top of two deep brood boxes.

Any comments/advice? Am I doing the wrong thing?


Put it all back and wait