pollinators: death to drones / by kelly heaton

As cold weather approaches, the worker bees (female) expel the drones (male) in preparation for winter.  Drones can be identified by their larger eyes that meet in the center, as well as their larger black abdomen.  The smaller, active bees are the females working to remove the dead.  Bees in this role are known as "undertakers" for the hive.  Nearly all of the bees in this video are dead or dying drones on the ground in front of their once nurturing hive.  In another month or two, the remaining worker bees will form a tight cluster around the queen, vibrating their wings to keep the colony warm (a remarkable 94 - 98 degrees F in the center); and rationing their honey supply until Spring.  

This video also shows signs of hygienic behavior - notice the drone larvae which appear affected by Varroa mites.  I am doing a mite count to see if I need to treat this hive.
September 2014 / Clarke County, Virginia