Seems Like a Lot of Drones For December (Archival Cellphone Footage From 2017)

We’ve got yet another instalment in my tedious series of cell phone videos, this time covering December 2017. It’s only 5 minutes long.

Nobody’s watching these videos, but I like them because they give an honest look of what beekeeping is really like. Most of the time I’m just standing around watching the bees, trying to figure out what’s going on.

Other than a few shots from my thermal imaging camera, this time around, the big observation is about the large number of drones still in the hive even in the month of December. That seems late, but I’ve noticed the same thing happening this year (in 2019). The norm used to be that the drones were expelled some time in the fall, usually September or October. But I have several hives that, until just a week or so ago, had so many drones, you’d think it was mating season, which it is not.

I have no explanation for this yet. I’m still comparing the data (I guess you could call it), the main data being the weather patterns from 2017 and 2019. It was unusually warm in December 2017, but it’s the usual damp freezing cold for December 2019. It’s not really adding up, is it? Maybe there’s something in the wind that triggers late-season development of drones.

Check out my Month of December category for a sense of things that might happen for backyard beekeepers on the east coast of the island of Newfoundland in the month of December.

Postscript: This post, although written and uploaded in 2019, will be dated for December 2017 because I like to keep things in chronological order.

4 thoughts on “Seems Like a Lot of Drones For December (Archival Cellphone Footage From 2017)

    • The fake pigeons. Oh, the birds. They’re not pigeons. They’re… shoot… I think they’re miniature crows. They’re made of cast iron. They’re little garden sculptures I bought at a local gardening centre. I use them to weigh down hive covers. I only have two of them. I think they go for about $20 or $30 each. I’ve had them for years. They’re half rusted and half the toes are broken off, so they don’t stand up straight as well as they used to, but I still use them. The first time one of my cats saw them, he thought they were real birds. They’re pretty cool.

  1. Interesting to see so many drones in December. I’d like to know approximately how many remain over winter . I assume the “ girls “ would determine how many the hive can support over winter and eject those ones as necessary. BTW love the crows, a few more and you’ll have a murder. Lol

    • Many local beekeepers have mentioned the high number of drones late in the season this year. I can’t figure it out, but maybe the drones are kept around as insulation. Put the drones on the outer edge of the cluster to keep the rest of the colony warm, and if they freeze to death, it doesn’t matter. Perhaps that’s why I didn’t see a large number of dead drones until our first long cold spell in December, though it was still pretty cold in November. That would be so cool if that was happening, though it probably isn’t.

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