Drone comb
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Thread: Drone comb

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
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    Arkansas
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    Default Drone comb

    Just made a quick pass threw my Carni hive doing a little checker boarding in the middle and bottom box as they have as expected exploded. This is 2nd year full frame Warre and last year and this I add boxes under instead of suppering. Top box looks great as does most of the 2nd and she is laying nicely in both. The problem is the bottom box. It is about 50 pulled checkerboarded but there is very little capped and most is drone. I just went ahead and swapped this for an empty frame. Am is trying to expand the hive to soon or what? Next time is go in should I just pull all the drone comb as there are 3 or 4 more like this and replace with empty frames. Lots of drone I'm feeding for nothing. 20180317_143419_1521316286769.jpg20180317_143419_1521316286769.jpg20180317_143419_1521316286769.jpg
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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
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    Hall, Georgia, USA
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    Default Re: Drone comb

    My carnis do this as well. They build the hive quickly to a moderate strength, and then fill the hive with drones.

    Last year I freaked out and thought my queen had failed and gone drone laying. Once I saw queen cells I thought "alright.. supercedure" and I let them progress until the hive swarmed. Oops; apparently not supercedure. New queen mated and laid well going into fall. I counted myself lucky to be rid of the crazy old queen. They hive looked normal all fall and winter.

    This year, they had a nice population by Valentine's day, and by March 1 the hive was really gangbusters... just bursting with bees. I was thrilled. Today I checked, and there are 4 frames of normal brood, and 4 frames of drones. As many drones as workers, and it looks just like last year. No queen cells, and there are still workers developing, so they are not interested in replacing the queen. The hive is thrilled to be making 3000 drones for me.

  4. #3
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    Apr 2016
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    Arkansas
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    Default

    " The hive is thrilled to be making 3000 drones for me." That's funny. Basically the same for me. Bottom box is mostly drone cells with the lazy bums hanging out on the frames. Just wonder if I should cull all those frames or move them up to the top box to fill with honey hopefully and the good brood frames down. Then this fall just basically cull the whole top box of drone comb getting the honey.

  5. #4
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    Apr 2014
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    Dickson TN
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    Default Re: Drone comb

    If you're running foundationless 20% drones is normal just so you know. Drones just don't sit around and eat honey they also help guard the hive by bluffing off intruders and help keep brood warm. Put the drone frames above an excluder and the bees will fill it with honey.

  6. #5
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    Apr 2016
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    Arkansas
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    Default

    That's kind of what I was thinking in the above reply. I guess if you think about it with 3 boxes...about one or two frames of drone in a 7 fram box top 2 boxes...two or three frames in the bottom as it is only partially drawn out is about 20 or 30%. Normal

  7. #6
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    Aug 2017
    Location
    DuPage County Illinois
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    179

    Default Re: Drone comb

    If you put it above excluder make sure you have an entrance above the excluder or all the drones will die up there. Secondly why are you running a Warre hive and then wanting to manage it like a Langstroth with foundation? The bees know what they are doing. Do you know what you are doing?

  8. #7
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    Apr 2016
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    Arkansas
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    I have no idea what I'm doing! lol That's mostly true. Just starting my 3ed year and 1st one to have over winter hive. I'm back side of 50 with 3 bad disk and no kids or grandkids to put to work. I really like the Warre size boxes as I'm a little fellow and the smaller width makes them so much easer to move around. It's not the weight so much as how I can get ahold of them. They are actually Lang deep so the cub inches I think work out just a little less than a Lang honey super. I make all my hives and mod frames as I just like wood work. I also enjoy working bees and just fooling with them in general hence the full frames so yes you are pretty much correct except for adding boxes to the bottom of the stack instead of top I run them like a Lang. When I started I worked them like a pure Warre. Didn't like how hard it was to work so made frames true Warre dimensions. Got to thinking how stupid it was to waste all that wood making the shallower boxes as well as cutting sides of frames down so went to making my boxes so they would hold Lang deep frames just basically 12 inches across. I think I have my beatles and mite control down; traps and vaporizer, now trying to learn to manage. The longer I go down the road the more I'm managing like a Lang but I still like the Warre size. Last week I move a 3 box hive bottom board, top feeder and roof by myself in a little wagon about 75 yards. Easy.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Suffolk, VA
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    4,225

    Default Re: Drone comb

    Pause for just a little nit on terminology.

    The approach called "checker boarding" has nothing to do with brood frame manipulations. Checker boarding is an early season swarm reduction technique that manipulates comb above the broodnest.
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Cincinnati, OH
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    Default Re: Drone comb

    Early spring the bees want Drones Drones Drones to be ready to mate with the new queens during swarm season. Put foundationless/empty frames in at this time and they will draw 100% drone comb. For future management, hold off on giving them space to build drones till later in the year when they aren't so bent on having drones. They are much more compliant about building worker sized cells then.
    Mistakes are the best taechers

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Louisville, KY
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    3,291

    Default Re: Drone comb

    Quote Originally Posted by Beebeard View Post
    Early spring the bees want Drones Drones Drones
    ....even later in the year. Whenever the flow is strong they want to correct the imbalance

  12. #11
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    Apr 2016
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    Arkansas
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    Default Re: Drone comb

    So how do you keep them from swarming being Carni and such an early build up with out giving them room to expand. This hive would have starved a month ago with out feeding there was/is so many bees.

  13. #12
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    Apr 2016
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    Cincinnati, OH
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    Default

    “How do you keep them from swarming?” Oh how I wish I knew.
    Regarding drone comb, The bees are going to want way more drones than we are and build lots of drone comb in the frames if they are empty. Really the only way to control what size cell they build is by using foundation. You can always give them an empty frame or two and they will build their drones there.

    New swarms will draw mostly brood size combs for you, at first.
    Mistakes are the best taechers

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