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Discussion Starter #1
My hives are doing well this year for first year hives, best I can tell. This hive has a single deep brood chamber with a queen excluder and two medium supers on top. In the honey supers I am using a mix of partially drawn comb from last year, new foundations and new foundationless frames from Walter Kelly alternated between frames with foundations. I was checking the honey supers yesterday and found that the bees have built up some of the foundationless frames with drone cells! I am only a second year bee keeper and don’t know if this is normal behavior. I have a green drone frame down below the excluder which is partially drawn and what is drawn is full of honey. I’m not complaining about the large drone cells in the supers as the huge cells look like they hold more honey than the “normal” cells, but I’m just a little surprised. And of course, should I worry about it? Is it a sign of something going on that I should/could fix?
 

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IMO nothing to worry about. Bees will draw worker comb in the brood nest and larger cells for drone brood and storage around the brood nest. Using the QE bees will only be able to store nectar in the space above and therefore probably the cause for larger cells.

I just recently read, don't recall exactly where, but you might rethink the placement of your frames. Keep all of the drawn comb side by side, foundation side by side and foundationless side by side in lieu of shuffling it up. Bees may work the drawn comb and foundationless before they work the foundation is what I read.

Good luck,

Pete0
Bena, VA
 

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honey super foundation is larger than worker foundation, hence the first eggs laid in it are always drone.
"...Is it a sign..."
its a sign that the queen is above the excluder. my guess is this hive has swarmed and the virgin has slipped through the excluder. take it off, smoke'em down, and reinstall it if you think you need it.
good luck,mike
 

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Hi jerry,
You describe 'large drone cells' above the excluder, in the honey supers, but you don't say there is actually drone brood up there, so I'm thinking you are just seeing normal honey sized cells being built in the supers. Cells built for honey look larger than worker brood cells. They can look more like drone sized cells, and from what i read they can be used for either drone raising or honey storage by the bees. If the queen is down below the excluder then you needn't worry too much about any drone brood being laid up there. They'll use it for honey.
If there is no brood in the supers you are talking about, then to me it sounds like your bees are simply building honey storage comb above your excluder. If there is drone brood up there in the cells, then do what Mike Haney says.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks Mike, I will check on that. I really didn't think of that but I can check it out. I did not see any brood above the excluder but did not check in the brood chamber as the hive seemed to be working well. This hive does have an entrance above the excluder that a few of the bees are using but not the number I was expecting.
 

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Had what i thought was a queen laying eggs up in the super....was all drone and was laying workers. Not that I have never seen her there, but its pretty easy to tell the difference when you look down and see multiple eggs per cell...LOL...
 

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Omie is correct. When bees are given the opportunity to draw their own honey storage cells, they tend to draw them out the same size as drone comb. The bees are not drawing drone comb - they are drawing honey comb.

What you are seeing is to be expected with foundationless frames in a honey super.
 
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