Here’s another bee-autific little blurb in our series of bee-attitudes in need of re-calibrating – this is BEE-ATTITUDE #4:
“Left to their own devices, honeybees will raise too many drones.” This one really shocks me. Too many drones? How many drones is too many drones? Who is counting them? Would the bees spend their energy on something they did not need? It doesn’t seem likely to me…
Add to this the effect that limiting drone production has on genetic diversity, and well… that’s a scary thing too.
And it is often said that varroa mites prefer to reproduce in drone comb – but a quick bit of math will show you that it’s just EASIER to get IN to drone cells to breed, since the larval stage, before the cells are capped, is longer by a day than that of a worker.
But in fact, having already changed the larval stage of all the bees in the hive by forcing the size of the cell in the way that foundation does – odds are pretty darn good that any old cell will do – and think about this – if we’ve been limiting drone production and that’s such an effective way of reducing the varroa mite population, then why are we at the point where all the wax is contaminated with all the chemicals we had to use to treat for varroa mites in hives that weren’t allowed to raise any drones?
Ouch – that one might make your head spin…
I think the bees know what the numbers should be — there’s no such thing in their minds as “too many” drones.
Does this attitude match up with yours?
Check us out at www.goldstarhoneybees.com. We do top bar hives exclusively, in appreciation of the beauty and the importance of natural beeswax- for the bees.
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This blog post was originally published on Honey Bee Heroes, and was written by Christy Hemenway, owner of Gold Star Honeybees. Reposted February 2017.