Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Dead Nettle in Bloom
I got a message today from an Arkansas beekeeper who discovered that she lost the queen for one of her colonies. It is fortunate that she has more than one colony to work with, because honey bees are not producing queens and drones in this region now. The colonies will be producing both in a few weeks, though. I found the first drone brood today that I have seen this year. Drones emerge as adults in 24 days, but they are not sexually-mature for about another 20 days. This beekeeper may need to combine her queen-less colony with a queen-right colony to protect the honeycomb until the bees are ready to produce queens and drones. If she lets the colony collapse from lack of a queen, hive scavengers will likely destroy the combs. Small Hive Beetles and wax moths eat the combs and contents of abandoned hives. Once the bees start producing queens and drones in a few weeks, she can divide her hive into two colonies.