Friday, October 26, 2012

Goodbye, Drones?

It's been a warmer and drier fall in Seattle this year, and on sunnier days, we're still seeing bees entering the hive carrying pollen here in late October. Trish read that this could be troublesome news as it might mean the bees are still raising brood this late in the season, but since we're not opening up the hive to look, we don't know. The interesting thing about seeing bees with pollen this time of year is that it really makes us look around when we're walking around the neighborhood to guess at possible pollen sources.

The other thing we're seeing is a lot of bee activity and interaction, and we think the workers are kicking the drones out of the hive. Trish saw a couple of specific incidents where it was like one bee was escorting another bee out of the hive, just flying it right outta there and dropping it across the yard. I know bees will remove dead bees from the hive, too, but these seem to be interactions between live bees. Another theory is that maybe there are some robber bees from other hives trying to steal some honey. Well, maybe both of these things are happening!

A couple of savvy yellowjackets have been hanging around the hive, just waiting for any bees who happen to die. The yellowjackets don't care if they snack on drones or robber bees or just plain worker bees at the ends of their busy lives. I guess you might say that yellowjackets are the vultures of the insect world, at least in our backyard.

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