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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Saint Albans, WV
    Posts
    7

    Default Foundationless comb and Aggressive bees

    Evening y'all,

    Got a few questions that I need some help with. Last inspection I dropped in some foundationless frames in my two hives hoping to get a head start on some nuc's for next year. Checked them today, 10 days later and it seems that both hives have drawn out large drone cells in what they had started. I can tell that the cells are much bigger just by the naked eye. My question is why and is it due to me putting them in this late in the year? Also, they seem to be so much more aggressive than they used to be earlier in the year. I mean there was probably 100 stings on my bee suit that I could see. They were PISSSSSED. Why? They do have some honey but not enough for winter and I am about to start my fall feeding. BTW I am a first year beekeep so don't be to hard on me... Thanks for the advice in advance!!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Morro Bay, California, USA
    Posts
    839

    Default Re: Foundationless comb and Aggressive bees

    Bees are lazy. Yes, lazy, but prehaps more accurately, always efficient. They are optimizing energy use in building comb to store winter nectar. The large cells use less very expensive calories to create.

    In the spring they will rework some of those cells to worker brood size by making very thick walls. Comb drawn in the brood rearing season of the spring and frames placed between frames in the core nest stand a better chance of being drawn to worker size.

    As others will point out, swarm capable bees will target 20% drone comb (per research), and bees will build burr or build frame drone to accomodate the target. They tend to seriously overshoot, as bees are overenthusiastic about many of their efforts.

    In my region, drawn comb is the rarest and most difficult to develop hive product. The cost of foundation is earned back in the greater predictability and efficient production of practical and uniform drawn comb.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Bellflower, Montgomery,Mo,USA
    Posts
    116

    Default Re: Foundationless comb and Aggressive bees

    I used foundationless for the first time this season. Lots of large cells built on the edges of the frames. So I had lots of drones. I'd say that 20% was about right. I don't think that the time of year had any effect on them.

    The bees here became VERY aggressive about mid June. So I requeened the worst colonies. It didn't seem to matter much to them. They were still aggressive until the late flow started here. Then they calmed down tons. The worst inspection of my 8 colonies netted me 40 or so stings through my full suit and gloves. Last year I only had 4 colonies and they were not nearly as bad. I help another beek split a hive near that time and he said they were mean for a week.

    You've a bit further south than me so I expect your fall flow has started for you. Maybe that will help their attitude. You may want to wash your suit to get rid of the stingers.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Saint Albans, WV
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Foundationless comb and Aggressive bees

    Thanks jbraun! I should have took a picture of the stingers that were in my suit. They were everywhere!!! I didn't even get to finish my inspection of the hives I just had to close them up because they we so aggressive... Thanks for the info!!!

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