# Thread: drone foundation vs. 4.9

1. Join Date
Nov 2002
Location
Sapulpa,OK USA
Posts
174
Can the Drone method be us with the smaller 4.9 foundation once the regression has taken place? My thoughts is that the size ratio between regressed bees and drone would be to large.

2. The ratio of Queens to Drones to Workers is 6 to 5 to 4. The size of standard worker foundation is 5.4mm. By that ratio the size of drone foundation should be 6.75mm. The size of standard drone foundation is 6.4mm. By that ratio (the size of standard foundation) the size of drone foundaion to match 4.9mm would be 5.8mm. By the 5 to 4 ration it should be 6.1mm If you buy your queens they are larger to start with and will happily lay drones in 6.4mm cells even if your bees are 4.9mm. However, I think even a small cell queen will lay drone in 6.4mm cells. I have not had the opportunity to prove this yet myself.

The orginal experiments with larger cells was done by heating standard (then 4.83mm or so) foundation and stretching it. You could buy 7/11 foundation (5.7mm) from Walter Kelly in medium (if you're using medium) and stretch it to 6.1mm. Or just stretch standard 5.4mm to 6.1mm. A small queen might even be willing to lay drone in 7/11 (5.7mm).

I still think since a 4.83 queen was willing to lay workers in 5.4mm cells that she will also lay drone in 6.4mm

I will keep everyone posted when I get to try it.

3. I've been thinking, and I suppose part of your concern is buying drone foundation only to find the queen won't lay in it. You can always use the drone foundation for honey supers. It takes less wax from the bees to draw it, and it extracts much easier than smaller comb. Just as long as you have a queen excluder. Other wise the queen likes to go lay it full of drone. But then if the reason you're using it in the supers is because the queen DOESN'T want to lay drone in it, then you've got something easy for the bees to draw that the queen won't lay in to use for honey supers and you won't need a queen excluder.

Of course this means you have to keep the drawn drone seperate from the drawn worker brood comb so you don't end up with a lot of drones because you got confused and put it in the brood chamber.

4. Join Date
Oct 2000
Location
Tucson, Arizona, United States
Posts
397
It was written here:
Can the Drone method be us with the smaller 4.9 foundation once the regression has taken place? My thoughts is that the size ratio between regressed bees and drone would be to large.

With store bought size it would be.

It would be easier to let the bees build own drone comb around the parameters to keep mites under control and cull the excess to 10% or less as you work the foundation and frames back up.

In the end you will end up with more drones this way, and earlier and later for better queen production.

An easy way to put the dones to the parameter is to not tie the comb by fixing to the bottom bar, but instead leave about a 1/2 inch gap minimum to 3/4 max for the bees to by choice either make drones or workerbrood.

You will end up with ample drones this way and the proper sizing also in ratio to the worker cells.

Regards,

Dee A. Lusby

5. Dee,

I think his intent was to use it as a magnet for the mites, in which case he wants a full frame of drone to pull out and freeze. I don't think the sizing is real important as long as the queen lays drone in it. I think size is important if you want to raise drones for queen breeding.

6. Join Date
Nov 2002
Location
Sapulpa,OK USA
Posts
174
Yes I was thinking of doing just that. Using the drone brood as a mite control while regressing to 4.9.

7. While you're regressing, until you have raised a queen by 4.9mm bees, your queen is going to lay fine in standard drone foundation. The question after that is what will a natural sized (e.g. raised by 4.9mm bees) cell queen do with standard drone comb? I think she'll still lay drone in it, but I think if you want to breed small queens you should either let them build what they want or make some that is closer to the right proportion, by warming and stretching some 7/11 or some standard 5.4 brood.

8. Join Date
Oct 2000
Location
Tucson, Arizona, United States
Posts
397
Michael Bush wrote:
I think his intent was to use it as a magnet for the mites, in which case he wants a full frame of drone to pull out and freeze.

Only one problem here. You forget just once to pull and freeze on time, and here timing is important,and you let the drones emerge, you quickly learn not to forget again.

Why run the risk of breeding drones in extra large drone comb, when you can cull and automatically trigger the chewing out of them by the bees, but at the same time end up with more drones of proper size for ample and successful breeding?

To me still makes better sense to cull to 10% levels as frames are worked by up rather then watch a calendar for drone comb to pull on time.

Regards,

Dee

9. I would assume other's motivation is the same as mine. I want to maintain a clean system while I'm regressing and keep the bees alive long enough to get regressed before I rely on cell sizing to conrol the mites. Using the drone comb as a mite magnet can keep the infestation levels low enough to keep my bees alive until I finish the regression.

My intent is to open every hive every other week and swap the drone comb. It should be sealed and ready then. It's true, if you forget you get a lot of drones. And maybe a lot of mites, but even if I was a week late I should catch them before they emerge.

It's more labor intensive than I would like, but I don't want the mites to get the upper hand while I'm getting my bees back to a natural system.

10. Hello Everyone,

The first season use any method possible to get as much 4.9 comb drawn without contaiminating the wax. At least half of the bees doing the drawing probably won't be survivors but can provide small cell comb much like the feral bees provide the Lusbys with wax and comb in Arizona.

At this stage if you don't have drone comb available to use for the drone trapping methods don't waste the time or resources drawing it out. Rather have the bees draw out small cell instead. At the end of the first season each small cell comb will be very precious and a new frame of drone comb will be worthless.

If the varroa are destroying the bees use powdered sugar or maybe one of the acids as a short term solution. Don't spend alot of money on acids or on devices as they will be worthless in another season.

The second season make sure every hive has at least a central brood area of small cell. I have used five or six frames in each box without harm. At this point the bees take care of the varroa by themselves. No treatments of any kind are needed.

From there on just work foundation in and the larger comb up and out.

Best Wishes
Dennis
I melted down all my drone comb.

11. Join Date
Oct 2000
Location
Tucson, Arizona, United States
Posts
397
Dennis,

You are so right in what you are saying. Going for the small cell 4.9mm foundation during the season is so more important in value for brooding up the following season, then drone comb that wastes time and does not better the situation physically within the colonies.

Also the 4.9mm foundation and drone comb were designed at different time periods, the drone comb years before 4.9mm foundation came on the market.

The ratio of worker to drone to queen is 3,4,5, in a given space of measurement.

To use two different foundations developed at two different time periods is not right for the drone comb was developed when 5.4 was standard and would fit 5.2 to 5.4 foundations a lot better as a compliment, rather then 4.9.

To iss a pulling is deadly for bees for it advances parasitic mite troubles. To cull instead drone comb the first year to less then 10% drone cell on anyone frame is what you are looking for if you are to work colonies back up successfully for future.

Sure, some bees won't make it the first wintering, but the seed combs gained are valuable indeed for the coming season to get a core of good 4.9 into the center of the broodnest and yes, 5-6 frames minimum are needed to get a good start.

Then feed in new 4.9mm around and work out the bigger up and out.

Michael, it would be best here if you follow Dennis and his advice for you will come out of your troubles a whole lot faster and isn't this what you want?

REgards,

Dee A. Lusby

12. I was on the first regression (was down to 5.15mm) when winter started and lost all of my bees to the varroa mites. I still think regression is the way to go, but I need them to live long enough to get there and I don't want to introduce poisons in the process. So I need to do something for the mites until they are actually on 4.9mm.

I'm not against FGMO necessarily, but I think it will soften the wax and I also hope to get good clean wax.

The only other clean method I know of to keep the mites from taking over until the bees are in a position to handle them, is the drone brood magnet method.

Dead bees don't draw comb of any size.

13. Join Date
Oct 2000
Location
Tucson, Arizona, United States
Posts
397
Michael wrote:
I was on the first regression (was down to 5.15mm) when winter started and lost all of my bees to the varroa mites. I still think regression is the way to go, but I need them to live long enough to get there and I don't want to introduce poisons in the process. So I need to do something for the mites until they are actually on 4.9mm.
I'm not against FGMO necessarily, but I think it will soften the wax and I also hope to get good clean wax.

The only other clean method I know of to keep the mites from taking over until the bees are in a position to handle them, is the drone brood magnet method.

Dead bees don't draw comb of any size.

It will go faster in real life to cull the drones to 10% levels maximum per frame and forget the drone comb individual frames which only add to problems.

But I cannot tell you what to do, they are your bees and it's your time, not mine here.

I wish you luck. YOur journey will take longer and I sincerely hope you get there in the end.

Regards,

Dee

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