Everyone know I love chickens and bees. But, I bet you didn’t think I would feed bees to the chickens? I know it might sound a bit gruesome but, the chickens certainly thought it to be quite the feast. Yes, indeed, Isabel thinks drone larvae make a tasty snack.
(drone foundation ripe with larve, one drone has just emerged from his cell)
The Queen Bee determines the sex of the bee larvae. The size of the cell is the deciding factor in whether the queen will lay worker(female) or drone(male) egg. Pre-stamped foundation come in 2 sizes that encourages worker bees to build comb for the queen to lay in and store pollen and nectar. Drone foundation has a larger imprint as drones are larger in size than workers. Drone frames which encourage drone rearing is used as a aspect in varroa mite manangement. Mites will attach to the larger drones, laying their eggs in the larvae. If you remove the drone frames prior to the mature bee hatching from the cell, mite population can be diminished.
Yes, the drones are destroyed but remember that after a summer of feasting and looking for an unmated queen, come fall, the drones are kicked out to starve to death over winter. Worker bees have little tolerance for drones producing nothing while eating up the winter stores. I suppose they have taken a page from the fable, The Grasshopper and the Ant!
So, in the spirit of cooperation, the chickens get a protein packed treat. And, if you don’t have chickens to clean out the frames, the bees will do the job themselves.