Fall is here, and the mornings have been crisp and cool. Several days this week we’ve been close to freezing in the morning. With the cooler weather, my bees are moving slowly and getting ready for winter. I’ve noticed lots of dead bees on the ground around the hive. Today, there were lots of big fat bees at the entrance. I was concerned at first, wonder what all the hullabaloo was about, so I moved in for a closer look: drones. Man may be the head of the household, but in the hive, the girls are in charge. The drones don’t do anything during most of the year except eat. They’re kept around in case a new queen needs to mate, but that time is past for now, so they are being evicted. An average hive can have as many as 200 drones. That’s a lot of bees to drag down the stairs and out the door!
I saw this drone being dragged out – he’s not dead, but he’s apparently worn out from the struggle with thousands of females pushing him around. She dragged him out, down to the ground, and at least eight inches across the ground to make sure he couldn’t get back in later.