If I were to place a frame into a hive...hypothetically speaking, with only a bit of comb or foundation across the top or even extending midway down, would the bees fill in the rest of the frame to the bottom bar? I am thinking that they would fill in most except for the bottom corners, right? or wrong?
But the short frame was built down to the same lower level as the frames it was placed in between. I was thinking that if I staggered these frames, I could take out the frames that was built 'freehand' and place them together in one box. Then they'd have their custom built comb together.
I may add some more this year to see if we can accomplish this. We, as in, the bees.
I've wound up with a lot of drone cells when I tried to use less than a full sheet of foundation.
I do it all the time. Just a row of cells across the top is enough and they will fill the rest in. The corners and the bottom will be last, but they will fill it all in.
Yes, they are desperate to build some drone, because we don't let them. Also, they build what you may classify as drone sized and fill it with honey.
They will build drone cells anyway. If they have to they will tear down and rework worker comb to do it.
I pulled that frame last summer and inspected and yes they had built a cluster of drone cells. I cut that section out. I haven't seen that frame since that time but they have probably rebuilt it back.....Done Late in the summer though, so it was probably used to store honey...
It did have mites in the drone brood.
>It did have mites in the drone brood.
That's a bad sign. Sounds like you have a lot of mites if you didn't have trouble finding them in drone brood.
Jason: They are called "starter strips". If you want more info, search "all open forums". I found 46 topics, some have good "how-to" info.
Thanks Dave et al...
I appreciate the feedback. Dave I kind of thought they would fill it in based on what I have learned about topbar hives recently.
Hi MB, About that cluster of drone brood....
That's why I cut it out and tossed it.
How they're still thriving, I don't know.
Well you got rid of those mites anyway. http://www.beesource.com/ubb/smile.gif
>>I've wound up with a lot of drone cells when I tried to use less than a full sheet of foundation.
They will build less drone comb when there is already drone comb preasent in the hive. Rule of thumb when drawing out foundation...
Supplying drone foundation or cells and then culling the brood is an alternative for keeping mite levels down. It can be employed as a part of integrated pest management (IPM). The drone eggs attract the mites, once capped you can pull the frame and freeze it to kill the brood and mites. It is a technique to keep pressure on mite levels in the hive. Put it back in and they will clean the comb for another round of drones or for honey storage. The goal of developing hygenic bees is for the bees to start destroying the infected brood themselve.
It's labor intensive but another non-chemical technique for a small operator to employ. Can be done when other chemicals cannot be used.
Last year when I figured out that my slatted rack was on up side down http://www.beesource.com/ubb/rolleyes.gif I cut off ten strips from under the frames of PC that were about three inches by twenty of all stud (drone) brood.
It took me hours to remove all the larva and inspect for mites. Out of all that I found three cells with mites. To assume that you have mites in your stud cells, or that you are removing mites because you are removing the cells is not always true.
A healthy colony needs to have a certain percentage of studs, and they will spend the energy to make sure that they have them. I think that removing them is retarding the colonys vigor and the resources that they could have spent making you honey. If that colony is a good breeder prospect, you need those studs out there doing their work.
When I started beekeeping years ago, using starter strips was popular. It never worked for me. The comb they built was just nasty. This could be attributed to the bees or to the flow or some unknown quantity. They weren't building drone cells because they needed them either. If it works for you use it but it doesn't work for me.
Bringing small cell into the discussion a bit. In small cell hives, successful mite breading occurs "mostly" within drone cells and thusly the mites are mostly found on drones. At the end of the season when the drones are evicted from the hive, so is the largest majority of the mites.
Although in large cell bees, the mites also attack the workers, if the drone population were allowed to go fairly uninhibited, one might yet find a reduction in mites when the bees are allowed to manage their own drone population. Although large cell worker bees still house v-mites, v-mites still prefer drone brood.
Scot Mc Pherson
"Linux is a Journey, not a Guided Tour" ~ Me
[This message has been edited by Scot Mc Pherson (edited January 22, 2004).]
While mites prefer to develope in drone cells they will readily get onto workers . Evicting the drones won't necessasrily evict the mites. If you remove the drone brood before it emerges, you can eliminate some mites that way.