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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Tipton, TN, USA
    Posts
    784

    Default Drone Comb for Saturation

    I was curious about drone combs in breeder hives for saturating an area with good DNA.

    What time of year do you put the comb in the hive, or do you leave drone comb in year round?

    If I put the comb in the hive. Is it right to plan for 40 days roughly before you want to mate your queens?

    Any help on managing the male half the gene pool would be great.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Dexter, Missouri USA
    Posts
    96

    Default Re: Drone Comb for Saturation

    Drone comb is really only useful for this purpose seasonally when the hive starts to produce drones. You can leave it in year round, but it will likely become a honey storage frame. You can move just off center in the broodnest a couple frames for them to use the honey, and again utilize for drone production.
    Last edited by Whitetail; 12-04-2012 at 09:17 AM. Reason: Clarification

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Tipton, TN, USA
    Posts
    784

    Default Re: Drone Comb for Saturation

    Thoughts on forcing bees to lay drones? I'm planning to mate quite a few queens this year and I want to make sure that I have enough drones floating around.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Dexter, Missouri USA
    Posts
    96

    Default Re: Drone Comb for Saturation

    I don't know about "force." I would think of it more as "entice." Adding drone comb to your colonies would be the best way to increase the number of desirable drones in your mating apiary. Keep in mind the drones contribute a lot to the genetics displayed in the queens' broodnest. I wouldn't put drone comb in any hives I wouldn't feel comfortable grafting out of.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,764

    Default Re: Drone Comb for Saturation

    i decided to try some foundationless frames and drone traps (per randy oliver's design) in my broodnests this past spring.

    they were put in from mid february to early march, just as the first rounds of brood were coming on.

    even though there was no new white wax being drawn yet, the bees drew out these foundationless frames and drone traps.

    interestingly, they drew out complete frames of drone comb, and the queens laid in them.

    my plan for next spring is to introduce foundationless frames again when the brood rearing starts.

    i am going to do mite counts, and cull the capped drone brood out of the hives with high counts, while leaving the drones in the hives with low counts.

    my hope is to flood the dca with 'good' drones when it comes time for mating.

    the hives with high counts will end up getting requeened.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Suffolk, VA
    Posts
    2,734

    Default Re: Drone Comb for Saturation

    I had a bunch of shallow frames donated to my operation and will place them into a deep box with desirable genetics. The bees will build drone comb below the shallow frame's bottom bar. I put two or three of these intermixed between full deep frames in my best colonies and it really helps with drone numbers. If desired, in the Fall you can run your hive tool across the bottom and discard drone brood when its no longer needed. I've tried the green plastic drone comb, but I've had mixed results getting it drawn out as pure drone comb. I now prefer the shallow frame in a deep box much better.

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