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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
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    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
    6,575

    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
    3,570

    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.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Drone Comb for Saturation

    Quote Originally Posted by KevinR View Post
    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
    I have just added drone come to 5 breeder hives here in the UK. Its the middle of February and the temperature here is floating around 8-10C (46-50F). This may seem unusually early, but I want to encourage as many British black bee drones to be out flying, so they can saturate the area. British black bees fly at lower temperatures than their Italian cousins, so having early drones means that their genetics are more likely to proliferate. The bees will need feeding a light sugar solution to encourage them to draw the comb and to encourage the queen to lay. Make sure there is plenty of early pollen available locally or you will also need to feed pollen pate.

    Here is a useful PDF I found online http://www.wicwas.com/sites/default/.../BC2006-06.pdf

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    7,335

    Default Re: Drone Comb for Saturation

    This is what you need, such a comb will produce around 3,000 drones in a 4 week cycle. (25 days plus some cell cleaning time for the bees)

    2 or 3 such combs in 10 or 20 hives will help stock your DCA.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
    Posts
    2,041

    Default Re: Drone Comb for Saturation

    After you've run your queen rearing cycle, use the drone combs for mite killing. Remove them every time they are close to full of brood and freeze them. If the season is still young on a second year colony, I'll replace it with worker cell combs.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    orange county, california
    Posts
    150

    Default Re: Drone Comb for Saturation

    Reviving an older thread, sorry:
    I was just reading about Randy Oliver's modified frame for drone laying as part of a varroa control method via culling in 4 week intervals or using alternating in one hive two for 2 week cycles of culling.
    http://scientificbeekeeping.com/figh...al-tactics-ii/

    I am going to 're read the article again to make sure I understand it. I imagine it can be used in this manner after queen mating so you could raise your drones with which to saturate the area with vsh bees, assuming you have a vsh successful colony you want to use for population saturation.
    Anyway, sounds like squarepeg tried this frame and I wanted to know if he had the results the Oliver program did and if anyone culls drones for varroa management successfully and consistently like kilocharlie is saying.
    non coddler

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    6,575

    Default Re: Drone Comb for Saturation

    my bees drew out the oliver frame as described with nothing but drone cells below the divider bar. i've not done any drone culling, except once by accident because i didn't know how to handle foundationless frames, and held the frame horizontally only to have a large amount of drone brood fall right out of the frame.

    i've stopped using the oliver design, because the bees will do the same thing with a fully foundationless frame when introduced early in the season, i.e. draw it out completely with drone comb.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

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