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So let me see if I got this right. If you give bees foundation less this time of year they will make all drone comb?
 

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No, amount of drone cells will correlate to the size/strength of the colony but drone size cells will only account for 13-17% (Seeley 1985) Weiss in Germany found 14% in 1962.
 

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Exactly. They'll only draw drone comb if they want drones - nucs or small colonies don't want drones, so they won't draw it.

Also - if there's a fair amount of drone comb already present (even in a strong colony) they're unlikely to draw any more. Which was a a rather good tip from Oldtimer.
LJ
 

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They wont make all drone comb.

I think the quote of 13 to 17% is far to narrow to reflect the range of possibilities. Depends on age of queen, size of colony, time of year, flow conditions, shape of hive etc. Perhaps over a whole year that figure might have been accurate but there are times when given free reign they will build far more than that and it may interfere with the beekeepers economic focus and philosophy.
 

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It is possible to fool the bees into building ALL drone comb by giving them a frame designed by Randy Oliver where you have a cross bar 50 mm down from the top bar. The bees believe that this is the bottom of the frame and build ALL drone comb below that. Used in the varroa trapping brood frame method as the varroa prefer breeding in drone cells due to the longed gestation period! Sorry cant post photo as I cant find it!!!
 

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It is possible to fool the bees into building ALL drone comb by giving them a frame designed by Randy Oliver where you have a cross bar 50 mm down from the top bar. The bees believe that this is the bottom of the frame and build ALL drone comb below that. Used in the varroa trapping brood frame method as the varroa prefer breeding in drone cells due to the longed gestation period! Sorry cant post photo as I cant find it!!!
Here is one I built on that idea. It works but I have switched to mainly plastic foundation and find it easier to use the partial sheet of foundation in centre third of frame and empty space either side which the bees fill with drone cell construction. Can be similarly cut out to cull drone, hatch drones and later filled with honey which can also be cut out.
 

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That is the one! I like this one as I can cut out the full drone brood section and feed it to my chickens.
 

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I tried a half sheet of plastic foundation in frames this year and worked out quite well. They drew out drone cells on both sides w/ worker in the center. I put a second frame in the upper box maybe get some comb honey too.
 

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>So let me see if I got this right. If you give bees foundation less this time of year they will make all drone comb?

No. They will draw drone comb until they reach their threshold. Most likely about 20% drone comb.
 

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>So let me see if I got this right. If you give bees foundation less this time of year they will make all drone comb?

No. They will draw drone comb until they reach their threshold. Most likely about 20% drone comb.
I found this to be true as well. No more than two of the foundationless frames got drawn out as all drone comb. The rest were worker cells with maybe a scattering of drone cells. It had me worried for a week or two.
 

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Here is an interesting tip... In Dadant's book, "the dadant system of beekeeping", he mentions that a colony without a queen NEEDING space RIGHT NOW to lay eggs will draw drone-sized comb.

This can happen in double deep with 16 frames drawn - the queen doesn't need space to lay on frames 16 etc, because by the time she has finished laying #16, #1 & #2 are open. So you could get 4 frames with drone comb (20%).

It can happen in a hive that is queenless too.
 

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Lauri Miller showed her half-frame of foundation in several posts, several years ago. I have used that for 3 years now, greatly successful. Drones when they want or need, honey later.
Brilliant design, thank you Lauri!
Brian
 

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Sometimes I find the position of the frame makes a difference. if you place the new frame in the center between worker brood frames you'll more likely get worker...place at the perimeter you get more drone. that's been my experience.
 

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Here is one I built on that idea. It works but I have switched to mainly plastic foundation and find it easier to use the partial sheet of foundation in centre third of frame and empty space either side which the bees fill with drone cell construction. Can be similarly cut out to cull drone, hatch drones and later filled with honey which can also be cut out.
I use a medium frame in a deep they draw drone on the bottom and just with one scrape it’s off.
 
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