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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Syracuse, NY (upstate)
    Posts
    247

    Default Honey Reducer - Drone Reducer

    We'll after hearing for years from all the folks about queen excluders being hone reducers I wasn't in any rush to put them on when I reversed hive bodies last month and added supers. I sure am sorry now. On Sunday I checked my hives and I had some of the best Drone brood patterns I've ever seen. Frame after frame of solid capped drones. The queen after filling the lower boxes nicely with worker brood on Pierco foundation ran up two supers to lay in the top super (6 mediums up) where the natural cell comb was in some hives and where workers had built drone comb on worker size Pierco foundation in other hives. Ruined some nice Spring honey that they were bringing in from a the terrific early flow we are having in Upstate New York.

    I spent a lot of time scraping drone brood down to bare foundation. I'm putting my queen excluders back on. I'd rather have a little less honey than nothing but drones. Drones don't sell as well as honey no matter how you bottle them :-). Sure learned my lesson.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Greenville, TX, USA
    Posts
    4,329

    Default

    If it's like mine, the drone hatch and they back fill it with honey. No damage done.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    College Station, Texas
    Posts
    6,973

    Default

    I would first reflect on 'why all the drone brood'..... are you using some kind of odd foundation there? if you place an entrance above the excluder (imirie shim... ???sp???) there is (according to the literature) little to no reduction in the surplus collected.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    owensboro,ky
    Posts
    2,240

    Smile drones

    give her a frame of drone foundation down below they insist on some drone brood if they have to they will build burr comb for it. some honey super foundations are known to encourage the laying of drone brood. make lemonade out of this and freeze the frames to get rid of any mites free and without chemicals!
    "Wine is a constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy" Ben Franklin

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Dane County, WI.
    Posts
    3,721

    Default Just thoughts

    Maybe this is one of those situations where the "blanket" assumption that queen excluders are honey excluders is wrong.

    "Ruined some nice Spring honey that they were bringing in from [a] the terrific early flow we are having in Upstate New York". A nice "Spring" honey flow is often highly dependent on the weather for our area/zone I would think. The "Spring" has been cool and slow in coming in my area, which is a good thing. Now, when the apple trees are blooming and the Black locust bloom is not far behind, there should be a GOOD nectar flow for that early summer honey because the temperatures will be consistantly warmer.

    I don't completely understand why you are finding,............"Frame after frame of solid capped drones". Maybe something has gone wrong with your queen? Or,.."some kind of odd foundation there",--tecumseh.

    At this time of year for our areas, the bees/queens are so eager to produce more and more bees for the coming nectar flow that she will move up to any super available.

    I haven't used queen excluders because the nectar flow is quite intense from the first week of June to the end of July and that keeps her down. I would like to have some "Spring" honey from Black locust/Black raspberry, so maybe using a QE in that situation would be a good thing. --- Oldbee beekeeper, only 4 years experience.
    Last edited by Oldbee; 05-15-2008 at 06:56 AM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Pocahontas County, West Virginia, USA
    Posts
    216

    Default

    If there is that much drone production then there is something going on. Sure the excluder would have kept her out but some problem exists that needs to be addressed. I did use an excluder once back in the seventies and the hot dogs were pretty good.
    "Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys." - P.J. O'Rourke

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    owensboro,ky
    Posts
    2,240

    Smile excluder

    'I did use an excluder once back in the seventies and the hot dogs were pretty good."
    LOL I'LL BE USING THAT!
    "Wine is a constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy" Ben Franklin

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Syracuse, NY (upstate)
    Posts
    247

    Default Frame after frame

    As I pointed out in my original post, the "frame after frame" of drone comb was in a couple of hives where I put on supers with "natural comb". For those of you new at the beekeeping thing, that means comb the bees have build from starter strips, thus the comb consists of drone size cells (great for cut comb honey or extracting since the honey flies out of this size cell even on colder days). That's why she laid drones. In the other couple of hives it was a case of drones build as bridge combe between some frames with Pierco Foundation. In another case they build the drone size cells on the worker size Pierco Foundation.

    In years past the queen limited her drone laying since the Pierco foundation usually does a great job.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Dane County, WI.
    Posts
    3,721

    Default

    Ahhh! That's explains everything!

    In other words; don't use,..."natural comb",..the bees build from,..starter strips?

    And,............don't use Pierco foundation because you will get all,.."frame after frame" of nicely capped drone cells?

    One advantage: Very few mites if you freeze the capped, drone cells.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Pocahontas County, West Virginia, USA
    Posts
    216

    Default

    I run TTBH's and all of the comb is natural drawn from starter strips and I get very few drone cells except here and there mostly on the peripheries, if anything the cells appear to rear a slightly smaller bee. I haven't taken precise measurements but the natural drawn comb should not consist primarily of drone cells. Straighten me out if this is incorrect.
    "Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys." - P.J. O'Rourke

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    College Station, Texas
    Posts
    6,973

    Default

    oldbee writes:
    Maybe this is one of those situations where the "blanket" assumption that queen excluders are honey excluders is wrong.

    tecumseh replies:
    as I have suggest a number of time on any number of threads if you use queen excluders (expept for some queen rearing I don't) the way in which you set up entrance below and above the excluder will determine whether a queen excluder is a honey excluder. so this 'blanket' assumption (and when did us bee keeper ever agree on anything?) might be correct or plainly wrong dependent on just how you set up a hive's entrances when you use a queen excluder.

    and now back to ekrouse situration... I am still wondering why a hive would build that much drone comb. sounds extremely odd to me.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,408

    Default

    >Drones don't sell as well as honey no matter how you bottle them :-).

    They will raise the same number of drones no matter what you do. Now they have to start over somewhere else.

    Levin, C.G. and C.H. Collison. 1991. The production and distribution of drone comb and brood in honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) colonies as affected by freedom in comb construction. BeeScience 1: 203-211.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Syracuse, NY (upstate)
    Posts
    247

    Default Respectfully disagree

    Michael Bush, this is one of the few time I have to disagree with you. Although the rule of thumb is 10% drones, I have been very successful over the past 8 years with limiting drone production to 1% or 2% using Pierco foundation.

    My experience is that Carni bees do a much better job drawing out Pierco foundation than do Italians (with the added benefit of whiter comb for comb producers).

    As far as Oldbee goes... no. You are totally missing the point. 1) All the frames of drone are on natural comb, not Pierco. The Pierco only has some drone cell reworkings. And of course the Pierco has the added benefit of being able to scrape those areas off and have the been rebuild. I'd love to see you do that with wax foundation. So lets be careful about drawing conclusions when you are not the one having the experiences. We all know that conclusions should only be drawn after multiple "action -> reaction" experiences. Just throwing out wild comments is not helpful to anyone.

    -ekrouse
    Keeping bees since 1974.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    College Station, Texas
    Posts
    6,973

    Default

    ekrouse writes:
    We all know that conclusions should only be drawn after multiple "action -> reaction" experiences. Just throwing out wild comments is not helpful to anyone.

    tecumseh comments:
    people draw conclusion (and make decisions) all the time with information that might be termed... good, bad, exhaustive and almost non existant. time (frame) and resources greatly influences how conclusions (decisions) are made. no particluar combination of decision factors will insure a proper (correct) decision, you can however hedge your bet significantly by doing as you have suggest above. the real key is not to determine some absolutely final decision based upon thin information or a corrupted mental model. bad information and bad thinking may lead you to a proper decision at or about the same probability that you have of winning the lotto.

    your remaining comment 'appears' to be right on target.

    I am still curious as to why all that drone comb?

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Dane County, WI.
    Posts
    3,721

    Default Just thoughts

    ""natural comb"" -- "For those of you new at the beekeeping thing, that means comb the bees have build from starter strips, thus the comb consists of drone size cells...That's why she laid drones." --ekrouse.

    ".....and where workers had built drone comb on worker size Pierco foundation in other hives." --ekrouse.

    I didn't know the comb consists of drone size cells from starter strips. I thought it can be cells of various sizes, even some small cell. As mistergil says, "I get very few drone cells except here and there mostly on the peripheries,..". Just like regular worker size foundation sometimes.

    I have NOTHING against plastic foundation or starter strips. That's why the question marks after my comments; sorry if misinterpreted. I may even have to use some plastic because the nectar is coming in pretty good and Black locust will be blooming soon. Haven't had time to make frames with all wax. So!! maybe I will use a queen excluder. Also sorry that your spring nectar/honey appears to have been ruined but maybe it really hasn't been.
    Last edited by Oldbee; 05-16-2008 at 07:25 AM.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Jenison, MI
    Posts
    1,514

    Default

    Yeah, same reason why I've started using excluders. Old queenie knows no capped honey boundaries when the opportunity to lay in drone comb is concerned!!!

    On the bright side, it makes nice convenient fishing bait. Just cutout a chunk and throw it in the freezer till you need it!!

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,408

    Default

    >Michael Bush, this is one of the few time I have to disagree with you. Although the rule of thumb is 10% drones, I have been very successful over the past 8 years with limiting drone production to 1% or 2% using Pierco foundation.

    Dr. Collison's research would say otherwise. You may be able to limit the amount of drone comb somewhat, but his research says they will find a way to raise the same number of drones regardless.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Lancaster CA
    Posts
    410

    Default

    My experience shows that Italians want about 10 % drone. In my study, if given pure worker cells built out on pierco, the bees will tear down about 10% and build new drone cells. That said, back to the problem. Let your bees fill a nice rim of honey in the upper brood box, 2inches below top bar, befor adding honey supers. The queen will not usually cross that honey to move into the supers. In this area and our type of honey flow, queen excluders are honey excluders.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Greenville, TX, USA
    Posts
    4,329

    Default

    She only lays drone up there once in my experience. After it hatches it becomes honey storage. Problem solved.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Jenison, MI
    Posts
    1,514

    Default

    The queen will not usually cross that honey to move into the supers.
    My queens will go through 2 or 3 supers of capped honey to lay in natural drawn drone comb as ekrouse experienced. She knows no boundaries.

    If it is all worker size comb from foundation for honey storage, then the honey cap will work.

    If the comb is already full of honey then it is somewhat safe, but once there is brood then it will hatch and get layed up again.

    Note: This is referring only to foundationless frames which the bees drew out as drone or honey storage comb(I don't know if there is a difference) that is used for honey supers.

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