The short, sad lives of drones

July 30, 2008 | By | Comments (4)

After a night in the deep freeze, the frozen comb had poor dead drones all over it. It sounds harsh that we have to kill the drones. But we’re raising a food crop, folks, and while we love our bees, livestock management is not all romance.

Drones are the males. Here is a photo of some drones among some worker bees. You can identify the drones by their big, square butt and enormous eyes; the worker bees have elegantly pointed abdomens, and are smaller and cuter. Drones also sound like B-52s when they fly, and they have no stingers; Kimberley safely carried one in her bare hand around the office to show everyone.

Drones have only one purpose: to mate with a queen and provide sperm to fertilize a lifetime of eggs that will produce workers. The rest of the time drones lounge about the hive eating honey and getting in the way. And if there are too many drones, increasing congestion in the brood area, they can encourage swarming. The last thing we want our bees to do is all fly away.

At the end of summer the worker bees will forcibly evict all the drones to a certain death outside the hive. So I feel less badly about killing them. Plus, the drones have varroa mites! We found 7. Too many. We hate varroa mites.


  1. johnjohn

    omg! never any sympathy with the females of the specie! just kidding, but this would evoke tears in a “chick movie” supposed into human terms would it not?

    at what point do i need to decide what is enough of feeding in the August warm weather when i got my bees late? second deep is on and they are multiplying like crazy in the warm south. plan on leaving all the honey which is abundant, time for surplus feeding patties or medicated patties or something? water is nearby and they are using it.

    i haven’t any drone frames nor mite problem. nor any malformed bees, plenty of collection of pollen, propolis, and nectar. Can sugar feed in an instant. been holistic in meds based on Barry Harris’ methods in NC since I have begun.

    sugar shake revealed nothing but pissed off bees. after five minutes i’d be ill too.

    jason of the horror movies was just an unloved child too… gheesh, get a life.

    September 1, 2008 at 3:09 am
  2. Sheila Schmitz

    Yes, when you put it that way.

    August 1, 2008 at 5:13 am
  3. Kimberley

    Oh, Sheila. This is common practice for many beekeepers! Wouldn’t you rather kill some drones every few weeks than let the whole colony get taken down by the varroa mites? It’s not so bad….

    August 1, 2008 at 2:17 am
  4. Sheila Schmitz

    I don’t know how I feel about this!

    July 31, 2008 at 3:44 am

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s