June 1, 2010
Charlie and I went into the hives on Saturday. One of the first things that we noticed was that hive number two had lots and lots of drones at the entrance. It’s normal to see drones- but we were seeing way more drones than normal. You’ll be able to identify the drones below by their larger bodies and huge eyes.
Remember how I told you about a month ago about pulling drone comb as a way to control varroa mites without chemicals? I guess that I didn’t expect the empty frame that we put into the hive to actually work as a drone trap. Don’t even ask- I guess that I’m an experiential learner. Turns out that the drone trap did exactly what we wanted it to do- only we didn’t pull it out in time and all the drones hatched. Sheesh- so not only do we now have a large population of drones in our hive, but we also probably have an increased number of varroa mites. Beekeeper bone head error. Learned my lesson. Unfortunately, I saw three workers with deformed wings in our broccoli patch, which is adjacent to the hives. Deformed wing virus is one of the viruses which is carried by varroa mites. So, if you see bees with deformed wings, it means that you have a varroa issue. We’re going to be (a lot) more careful about pulling drone comb.
Here is a drone trap (made from an empty frame). Notice that the drone brood below is sort of bullet shaped or bumpy. This is different from worker brood, which has a smooth surface. It is also slightly larger than worker brood.
I did get some good pictures of hatching drones.
You’ll also recall that drones don’t have stingers. So, here’s a just-hatched drone walking on my son’s finger.