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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I decided to try one foundationless frame to see what happens. The bees built out the frames quite nicely and then filled it almost completely with drone comb. I pulled the frame because I was concerned about a huge mite build up with so much drone comb.

Is this typical?

My other frames with foundation and brood comb look ok - that is, the queen doesn't appear to have become a drone layer. I'll continue to monitor this hive.
 

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Very typical, you have a hive with foundation that doesn't support drone cells and then you finally give them a spot to make what they have been needing.

my whole hive is foundationless and only the outside edges become drone and later backfilled with honey stores.
 

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That's exactly what happened to me this year with my first foundationless frames. The spring build out led to a ton of drones but after they hatched, every cell was packed with honey. It was such a beautiful thing :)
 

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>I decided to try one foundationless frame to see what happens. The bees built out the frames quite nicely and then filled it almost completely with drone comb. I pulled the frame because I was concerned about a huge mite build up with so much drone comb.

I have 20-25% drone comb in all my hives and usually undetectable levels of Varroa. The bees have been wanting drone comb and you gave them somewhere to make it. If you remove it and give them another empty comb they will repeat the process. Only if you let them keep enough drone comb will they start building worker comb again.

> Is this typical?

Yes. It is exactly what I would predict.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfoundationless.htm
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Just curious -- why would bees, this late in the year want to raise so many drones when they should start expelling them from the hive?
 

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If your flow is still ok, they will still raise drones now in Cali. I have a first year hive doing the exact same thing, the foundation fell out of the frame so I just put it in as is, it's drone comb now, and the queen laid it up. I suspect being a young queen has something to do with it as well but they're in a good area and were in a build up phase still.
 
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