Drones don’t make honey. They only eat it. They also contribute nothing to the survival of the colony during the winter months. Hence, most drones are expelled from the hive in the fall as the temperatures begin to drop. Sometimes the worker bees will even chew out the remaining drone brood in the hive and toss the drone pupae out the front door (see Piles of Dead Pupae). Gross. Honey bees don’t mess around when it comes to their survival. Here’s a video I took this morning of several drones being expelled from Hive #1:
If you watched carefully, you may have noticed worker bees riding around on the drones like bucking broncos, biting and pinching them; at one point a worker bee grabbed hold of a drone and got taken for a ride in the sky; another worker bee tried to fly away with a drone; and many of the worker bees surrounded more than a few drones and pestered them until they were gone. And one drone got dragged out already dead. Good times.
This is just amazing! I ran across your video on Neatorama and have been checking out your site ever since. I cant wait to try beekeeping one day when I am actually in a house with some land. Now I just have to get over my fear of bees (not afraid of them, just of being stung!) Thank you so much for sharing all of this!
“I can’t wait to try beekeeping one day when I am actually in a house with some land.”
We have four hives in a fenced in area of about 400 square feet. A large amount of land isn’t necessary, though it doesn’t hurt to keep the bees a good distance away from your house and your neighbours.
I would have put more work into the narration if I’d known Neatorama was going to notice it. This is kind of embarrassing now. I’m used to getting only a 100 or so hits a day, which is the way I like it. A small intimate hang out for a handful of like-minded beekeeping folks. Oh well. Hopefully things will be back to normal by this time next week.
I like the Vinyl CafÃ©’s slogan: “We may not be big, but we’re small.”
Honestly I wouldn’t worry about your narration at all. I thought it was just fine! Thank you for the tip about land needed. I didn’t realize you could do this with a smaller property. We live in the city in an apartment right now, and will be looking at houses next year. I think its great that you have posted this site. Now I will have a good source to look at when we start. I have seen some other hives years ago that were very complicated. I really do appreciate how simplistic yours are. Especially how you talk about it being easier to extract the honey. And I loved the video of your eating the whole comb. Thank you for clearing that misunderstanding up! I wouldn’t have ever thought you could eat the whole thing. I showed my husband and I thought he was going to fall out of his seat drooling! He is very excited when we can start doing this. We have always bought and supported the local bee-keepers and their honey, so to be able to produce our own will be wonderful.
Yeah, I’ll probably leave the narration alone. I guess it has its charm.
If I had a hive or two just for fun and I wasn’t concerned about loading up the pantry with a hundred pounds of honey every year, I’d go 100% foundationless in the honey supers. You’d still get plenty of honey to keep you happy, and you wouldn’t have to bother with the expense of an extractor. The frames of capped honey can be kept in storage until you’re ready to cut them. And it’s more fun to get your hands on the honey comb and taste it fresh right out of the comb. It doesn’t get any better than that.
I’ve done the extraction thing now, too, but I would easily choose foundationless honey any day of the week.
Would it be a bad idea to inspect a hive while this is happening?
No. Inspecting the hive won’t interfere with the expulsion of the drones. The bees may tidy up a bit after the inspection, but they’ll get right back to business as soon as you’re gone.
Whether the bees are playing nice or acting defensively, the expulsion of the drones doesn’t make any difference.
However, the bees do naturally get a little more defensive in the fall when they’re short of nectar sources.
I didn’t even know the difference between worker bees and drones, thanks for the educational post!
Will you do a piece on beehive tossing?
I probably would if I knew what beehive tossing was.
I gladly take requests, by the way, if anyone wants to see anything I can record on my camera.