Plastic Drone Combs - are they worthwhile?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
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    Queens, NYC
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    Default Plastic Drone Combs - are they worthwhile?

    What has been your experience with them and do you think they are a useful investment?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Hopkins, MI USA
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    915

    Default Re: Plastic Drone Combs - are they worthwhile?

    I bought some when I thought more equipment was "neat".....I threw them out.
    zone 5b
    Back in 2019!

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
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    Rutland County, Vermont,USA
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    Default Re: Plastic Drone Combs - are they worthwhile?

    I use them and they do help keep the mite population down between treatments. Admittedly, they are a bit of a pain to deal with, but they are effective. Randy Oliver was surprised at how effective they are. They only cost a few bucks so not much of an investment in $$.
    http://scientificbeekeeping.com/figh...al-tactics-ii/

  5. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma District Northern Ontario, Canada
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    5,243

    Default Re: Plastic Drone Combs - are they worthwhile?

    Since the bees draw out foundationless drone so willingly it is easy to get drone to cull for mite control or let emerge for breeding. It is messy to uncap and blow out and if you freeze the frame then let the bees remove the drones they make a stinking mess because much of the dead merely get dropped off the doorstep.

    Lauri has a good system of installing a partial sheet of worker size foundation and leaving empty space both sides of it where they will build drone comb. No special equipment. Later in the season that space gets filled with honey for winter.
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    Frank

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    Aptos, CA, USA
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    17

    Default Re: Plastic Drone Combs - are they worthwhile?

    I found them to be way too much work for the return

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
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    Rutland County, Vermont,USA
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    Default Re: Plastic Drone Combs - are they worthwhile?

    What crofter said is true. They are a mess to deal with. I have tried letting them thaw and hitting them with a hose and have tried scraping them with a putty knife while frozen and banging them out. Neither method works great, but the hose method is a bit better. I started using Lauri's method last year for OSB (opening sides of broodnest) and it is easier for sure. So next time I may put the drone combs in for one cycle mid summer after primary swarm season and cull the drone comb from OSB frames before then. J

  8. #7

    Default Re: Plastic Drone Combs - are they worthwhile?

    They require absolute diligence. If you get slack and are late removing them, then they are counterproductive. If you can stay on top of them….they help. I am not conscientious enough.
    Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Queens, NYC
    Posts
    36

    Default Re: Plastic Drone Combs - are they worthwhile?

    Thanks, guys. I'll stick with some foundationless. I freeze them, and put them out for the birds and ants to take care of.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Location
    Drayton Valley, Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    240

    Default Re: Plastic Drone Combs - are they worthwhile?

    Totally agree Crofter! I use Lauri’s method, works great ����
    Brian

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Rutland County, Vermont,USA
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    Default Re: Plastic Drone Combs - are they worthwhile?

    2sox: When you get the time look up OSB by Matt Davies and Laurie Miller's method for doing it with plastic foundation. It is an anti-swarming technique, not really for mite control. But it can be used for that too. During swarm season when you are trying to keep the brood nest open, you can cut out the drone cells right there, put them in a can, place frame right back in, and feed it to the birds. No need to freeze. J

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Rensselaer County, NY, USA
    Posts
    5,536

    Default Re: Plastic Drone Combs - are they worthwhile?

    If you have chickens, or a friend who does, just give the foundationless drone frames to them to clean out.

    But also remember (in addition to getting them out on time), that when the greatest need for mite suppression occurs (after mid-summer) the bees are getting more reluctant to draw out and fill drone cells, so they stop being as useful.

    They may be most useful for a round, or two, in late spring and early summer as a means of moving the starting point backwards on the mite numbers at the outset of the season, but then switching to another harm-reduction strategy as time goes by. Good, season-long mite monitoring will give you the guidance you need.

    Nancy

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Hopkins, MI USA
    Posts
    915

    Default Re: Plastic Drone Combs - are they worthwhile?

    Quote Originally Posted by thehackleguy View Post
    I bought some when I thought more equipment was "neat".....I threw them out.
    Part of the reason I don't find them useful is I no longer remove any drones from my hive either.
    zone 5b
    Back in 2019!

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Bunker Hill, IL
    Posts
    891

    Default Re: Plastic Drone Combs - are they worthwhile?

    I use a drone frame as one of the parts of my mite control system. I own green frames but the bees have not drawn them well. I mostly have frames of damaged wax foundation frames that when the girls fixed them drew drone comb. So i mark the frames DRONE and pull them in the summer when they get capped. I let them raise drones in the spring for good drone population for spring queen mateing as part of queen rearing.

    I also agree that as part of a mite management program they HAVE To be removed after being capped otherwise your not doing your hives any help by keeping them around. So its management technique that I generally do not recommend to beginners.

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Blue Ridge, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    138

    Default Re: Plastic Drone Combs - are they worthwhile?

    I usually just stick a couple foundationless frames in and let them draw those out and fill with drone and then once they are full of larvae i just put them up in a higher box so that when they emerge they hopefully just backfill with honey and not more drones. If I notice a lot of mites then i just freeze the frame or cut it out to get rid of infected drones.

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