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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Columbus, Ohio
    Posts
    546

    Default Culling drone comb/cells

    I read an article in one of the magazines last year that suggested culling (removing) capped drone comb sections and replacing the frames to let the bees rebuild the removed sections. Theory was that it would get rid of the non-foragers and reduce mite load due to comb replenishment by the bees. They suggested that the mites hang out in the comb, and this would remove alot of the mites on the drone brood. Anyone practice this idea or have any input? I know you can buy drone frames (green) from somebody, but want to be sure if this is a great idea or just a theory before I implement it. Does sound good though, less drones sucking down honey and all...
    Find A Beekeeper - Swarm List
    "There's nothing wrong with me, it's the rest of the world that has a problem"

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Knoxville, TN
    Posts
    1,933

    Default

    What happens is, the mites prefer and are attracted to drone brood much more then worker brood. So when you remove the drone brood, you remove like 95% of the mites in the hive. It is a very well studied and proven technique. I'm really surprised more people don't do it.

    I started doing it this spring and will continue. For me the easiest way is to use some foundationless frames in the colony. They will build drone comb if you give them a frame without foundation. Simply turn the wedge on its side for a starter strip and put some wax on it. Then when your in the colony anyway, simply look for capped drone and toss it.
    Last edited by MichaelW; 05-30-2008 at 04:33 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Grifton, NC
    Posts
    1,302

    Default

    Keep in mind that a certain % of drones should be present in the hive, depending on the hive's resources. I don't know what the % is, so I tend to let the bees decide. Some folks I know kill any drones they see and destroy drone comb and drone cells. I only remove drone comb below the frames or if it gets really too abundant. Some beekeepers will do the sacrificial comb practice, which I think if you are designing your management system that way, it's a good thing. I did not have good success initially with my green drone frames, but will probably try again.
    Banjos and bees... how sweet it is!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,213

    Default

    >Anyone practice this idea or have any input?

    I had planned on trying it if small cell regression wasn't fast enough to keep them under control during regression. I never did. It seems like a very "expensive" process from the bees' point of view as they will have to replace all those drones to meet their "quota". If they had raised those drones they could have raised a frame of workers afterwards, but instead will spend those resources to raise another frame of drones.

    I'd uncap some with a an uncapping fork and see if they are indeed infested. If you find two or more mites on most of the drones, it might be worth it. If you can't find very many varroa, then I'd let them raise the drones.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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