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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Grass Valley, CA
    Posts
    248

    Post

    Hi, thought I should report on this. A couple of weeks ago, when we did our mite counts and one hive had a higher count (20/24 hours), we put a few frames of empty drone comb (drawn out) in the brood nest, in the 3 and 5 spot.
    When we treated our hives the other day, I removed them and they were filled with honey. The queen is still laying, but she totally ignored the drone comb. We still have drones, they haven't been evicted yet. Some of our members at higher elevations are reported piles of dead drones outside their hives. So may be we are too close to the end of season. I'm wondering how long you can successfully use drone comb to trap mites. Obviously, not in August for us.
    In the past, I've only used drone comb in the spring. It was easy to monitor as we were going in every 10 days to remove queen cells and reverse our brood boxes. Next year we are going to use Walt's Nectar Management and will not be so invasive. Not sure how I will fit the drone comb in.
    Janet

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Inver Grove, MN
    Posts
    1,462

    Post

    I would expect the system would only work during that time of the year that the hive was happy to raise a lot of drones.

    Do you worry that the drone comb method uses a huge amount of the bee's energy to partially raise a population that will never be a benefit to the hive?
    Linux - World domination through world cooperation

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Grass Valley, CA
    Posts
    248

    Post

    There are a lot of beekeepers around here still making queen cells and splits. ThatÂ’s why I thought I would use the drone comb and was so surprised to find them filled with honey. Since I still have drones, I'm sure they are still mating.
    Prior to the last two years, the drone brood management that we were doing was simply putting medium frames into deep brood boxes and then cutting off the comb every 20ish days. I did think they were using a lot of energy making wax, so we have been switching to drone comb in the frames and letting them draw that out so we could reuse it. After 20 days, we would put the capped frames in the freezer for at least 24 hours. When we put them back in the hive, we just ran an uncapping knife over them. The next morning, there would be so much dead larva, in some the cases, I would have to clear the entrances. I did wonder about how much work it was to remove dead brood from deep frames of brood. The last few times, I tried to remove as much dead brood as possible (happy happy chickens), but that was so messy, yucky and I didn't think I was doing the bees any favors having that much wax to fix up.
    In answer to your question, yes, I do think about the extra work the bees do, but it really doesn't seem to affect the hive. And when we examined the drone brood in the past, it was loaded with mites. This year, our drone brood hardly had any mites, so maybe we won't have to do it next year.
    We do not remove all of the drone brood, we leave regular frames alone and most of those had drone brood around the edges and bottom. We seem to have plenty of drones, plenty of worker brood. Our mite counts have been very low all this year, which could be mostly from the powdered sugar treatments we did in spring and mid-summer, and I'm not sure the drone comb helped so much (like I said, hardly any captured mites in the drone brood this year). One hive recently showed more mites which was why we thought we would try the drone comb rather than dust it since we were in a honey flow. I guess early August was just too late for the queen. We just extracted another almost 300 pounds from 8 hives and left between 30 and 60 pounds on each for winter stores. And we dusted all of our hives. We will do two more treatments, I think 5 days apart.
    Janet

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