Foundationless - 100% Drone Comb - Bush Method
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 28
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Rowayton, CT
    Posts
    205

    Default Foundationless - 100% Drone Comb - Bush Method

    I implemented Michael Bush's method to 'open up' the brood chamber on my overwintered hive. So far no swarm!

    I placed three foundationless frames into the brood chamber, each with a small strip of foundation to get them started correctly.

    Pulled them after two/three weeks. Each frame is 100% capped drone comb. I'm leaving it as is, just thought it interesting.

    I really don't any other comment other than I wished these were workers to maximize my honey yield.

    Any one else have similar observations?

  2. Remove Advertisements
    BeeSource.com
    Advertisements
     

  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Crown Point, NY, USA
    Posts
    582

    Default Re: Foundationless - 100% Drone Comb - Bush Method

    Pretty normal.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Shelby, Missouri USA
    Posts
    526

    Default Re: Foundationless - 100% Drone Comb - Bush Method

    That is not surprising at all. If there is no other drone comb in the hive they will usually pull drone comb on foundation less if given the chance.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    Rib Lake WI
    Posts
    1,715

    Default Re: Foundationless - 100% Drone Comb - Bush Method

    I've found if you catch a swarm and put foundationless frames in that's when they will make worker comb.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    53,922

    Default Re: Foundationless - 100% Drone Comb - Bush Method

    It's a matter of what time of year when they are drawing the comb. I move those to the outside so when they backfill it with nectar it won't get in the way of the queen.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Rowayton, CT
    Posts
    205

    Default Re: Foundationless - 100% Drone Comb - Bush Method

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    It's a matter of what time of year when they are drawing the comb. I move those to the outside so when they backfill it with nectar it won't get in the way of the queen.

    Hi Michael, can you explain a bit more? These frames are the ones I 'opened' up the brood nest. Are you saying, move them outboard after the drones hatch out?

    Tx!

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    dallas, tx, usa
    Posts
    154

    Default

    Is it worth pulling the drone comb out to chill it for mite control?

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Crown Point, NY, USA
    Posts
    582

    Default Re: Foundationless - 100% Drone Comb - Bush Method

    If you pull the drone comb when foundationless they will make more drone comb. Give them what they want, till they start worker comb again. Move the drone to the outside of box to fill with honey and then harvest the combs when they no longer care to raise much drones.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    Rib Lake WI
    Posts
    1,715

    Default Re: Foundationless - 100% Drone Comb - Bush Method

    Quote Originally Posted by aiannar974 View Post
    Is it worth pulling the drone comb out to chill it for mite control?
    Sure you can pull it out and put it in the freezer. Also you can use a decaping fork to remove some larva to check for mites.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    England, UK
    Posts
    1,684

    Default Re: Foundationless - 100% Drone Comb - Bush Method

    If you're drawing foundationless and want 100% worker comb, then use a relatively small nuc to draw-out the comb - either that or use full-sized colonies after the drones have been kicked out - in both cases those colonies have no interest in raising drones.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Rowayton, CT
    Posts
    205

    Default Re: Foundationless - 100% Drone Comb - Bush Method

    Quote Originally Posted by aiannar974 View Post
    Is it worth pulling the drone comb out to chill it for mite control?
    I actually did this in early March. The hive built out a foundationless frame in no time - 100% drones. I tested about 20 cells. all had mites, some with two mites. I just threw the whole **** thing away. Not sure how much of a mite fix that provided but each dead mite is a win I guess.

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Yuba County, California, USA
    Posts
    6,566

    Default Re: Foundationless - 100% Drone Comb - Bush Method

    That indicates a pretty heavy mite load. It would be good to do it again now with all the sealed drone brood again.

    Mites prefer drone brood because it has a longer time as capped pupa than worker brood does. A little later in the bee season the bees will slow down on making drones, and will backfill the drone cells with nectar, but the mites don't slow down, so they'll start infesting the worker brood then. This will give a much higher percentage of mites versus brood percentages. Hitting the mites hard now will help prevent such large infestations later on when the queen starts slowing down her laying rate, normally around the end of June and first of July time frame. This will result in healthier bees during the summer flows so can increase honey harvest yields over all.

    Drone brood manipulations can be a big help in the fight against heavy infestations of varroa mites.

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    53,922

    Default Re: Foundationless - 100% Drone Comb - Bush Method

    >Hi Michael, can you explain a bit more? These frames are the ones I 'opened' up the brood nest.

    The bees' drive to make drone comb and raise drones is seasonal. In the spring there is an urge to raise a lot of drones that passes by the time the main flow starts. Once they meet their threshold for drones for that time of year and the current strength of the colony, they will stop making drone comb.

    >Are you saying, move them outboard after the drones hatch out?

    I would more them when I see them. I don't wait for the drones to emerge.

    >Is it worth pulling the drone comb out to chill it for mite control?

    If you want to select for Varroa that prefer workers...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Murphy, TX
    Posts
    437

    Default Re: Foundationless - 100% Drone Comb - Bush Method

    I noticed that weak colonies will always draw worker comb. Also bees seem to have a number in their mind as to how many drone cells/frames they need. My strong colonies stop drawing drone combs after a while. Also if you give foundationless frame early in the spring (while they are trying to get the population up) then they will draw worker cells. The period after pre-buildup and peak buildup seem to be the time where they like to draw drones which makes sense since hive has everything they need and now they just want to do their reproductive duty.

  16. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Geauga, Ohio
    Posts
    455

    Default Re: Foundationless - 100% Drone Comb - Bush Method

    Dadant had a different explanation for why bees choose worker vs drone/honey cells. I think it was in his edition of "the hive and the honey bee". His interpretation was that workers by default make honey/drone sized cells. If a queen is nearby consistently trying to lay as they draw out comb, they make worker sized cells. This implies 2 things: 1) a queen who already has enough space open to lay will not "trigger" worker comb in an established hive - unless you remove a lot of drawn/capped comb; and 2) a queenless hive will always produce drone/honey cells (without worker foundation to guide them). I am taking drawn and capped comb and putting that behind a queen excluder, then adding empty frames. I make sure no eggs in those frames! Or they will make queen cells.

  17. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Frederick, MD
    Posts
    61

    Default Re: Foundationless - 100% Drone Comb - Bush Method

    When you "open" the brood nest by adding, say two, foundationless frames having starter strips, do you insert these two new frames into the middle of the brood nest but alternate them with frames of already-drawn comb? Or do you put the two frames of foundationless frames with starter strips side-by-side without alternating them with frames of drawn comb?

  18. #17
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Murphy, TX
    Posts
    437

    Default

    I alternate.

  19. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Shelby, Missouri USA
    Posts
    526

    Default Re: Foundationless - 100% Drone Comb - Bush Method

    Alternate them with the brood frames. The bees will pull straight comb on the foundationless frames then. I always put new foundationless frames between frames of brood when possible.

  20. #19
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    creek county oklahoma
    Posts
    171

    Default Re: Foundationless - 100% Drone Comb - Bush Method

    I have a couple of colonies that have a lot of foundationless frames and they make lots of drones. They are also very good consistent honey producers. A friend of mine was in that colony with me and he said that number of drones would worry him. I told him that is just the way they are. The original colony from which these two have descended had lots of mites and thrived. The drone pupae we saw between frames that day had no mites. So I just leave them alone.

    I think I got lucky with that first colony 8 years ago. I love it that all those drones are out there mating with the local stock. I use those colonies as brood frame donors for queenless colonies. That is stock I want to keep. Despite being the world champion propolizers.

  21. #20
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.
    Posts
    2,662

    Default Re: Foundationless - 100% Drone Comb - Bush Method

    Quote Originally Posted by gman1001 View Post
    . . . Each frame is 100% capped drone comb. . . .
    That was my experience, too, when I tried the method a few years ago.

    My goal is honey production. Our one and only flow comes early in my area. Consequently, I want to maximize worker brood production early.

    While "opening" the brood nest by inserting empty foundationless frames into the center of the nest was an easy and effective swarm control technique, it resulted in lots of drone brood. Lots and lots of drone brood! The method, while effective at swarm control, didn't align with my beekeeping goals.

    JMHO & YMMV
    --shinbone
    (1975-1980, and now since 2011; maintain about 10 hives; Zone 5b; 15" rain; 5500')

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •