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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

Some pictures from another hive started from foundationless frames about 4 weeks ago. Any observations/feedback would be welcomed!

Bees on their new 'waterbed' of syrup. 1:1 with a healthy does of Honey B Healthy
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Large patch of drone brood (capped) in the center of an otherwise worker brood frame. Odd?
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Nicely drawn frame of brood. Based on my records, first generation should emerge in the next few days.
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Last frame that was drawn... Back to the drawing board ladies. Tore off the comb and discarded the front piece. The back (larger) piece was rubber banded in to the frame after it was broken off.
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Picture to help newbees like me to identify the eggs in new comb. See them in there?
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Where's Waldo? Only eggs I'm sure of is one cell behind the upper arrow and another directly above the lower arrow shaft. Tri- focals, could you guess?

Little early for the drone brood, keep an eye out to verify more capping worker in the pipeline.
 

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Where's Waldo? Only eggs I'm sure of is one cell behind the upper arrow and another directly above the lower arrow shaft. Tri- focals, could you guess?

Little early for the drone brood, keep an eye out to verify more capping worker in the pipeline.
I see a lot of eggs on that frame...not just the one's pointed out....From what I am seeing in all my hives since I went foundationless is they produce at least 20-25% drone comb. And some of it is very early in the process. I actually have one hive that has about 4 frames of almost solid drone....but it also has about 9 frames of worker brood.
 

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We've got a patch like on the 4th picture on one of the brood frames of a new nuc, but they managed to make it on drawn comb. It does not bridge frames.

We were just out at our mentor's apiary where he pulled one frame he called "comb from heck." Or some word to that effect. Lots of nooks and crannies and folds and places to hide. He could live with the rest but the places to hide definitely complicate inspection.
 

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About the first photo, the "waterbed" of syrup.......how long should I feed a new hive in the spring, and then how long to feed a package in the spring?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
From what I am seeing in all my hives since I went foundationless is they produce at least 20-25% drone comb. And some of it is very early in the process. I actually have one hive that has about 4 frames of almost solid drone....but it also has about 9 frames of worker brood.
I feel in my infinite wisdom as a first year beekeeper that a healthy drone population is a sign of good and thriving hive. I have to think they may serve a much bigger purpose than what we give them credit for. If the girls want to naturally raise drones, let them (assuming they can actually raise something else too). If nothing else, I hope I can get a few frames of pure drone comb built out to leverage later in the year for mite control.
 

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I feel in my infinite wisdom as a first year beekeeper that a healthy drone population is a sign of good and thriving hive. I have to think they may serve a much bigger purpose than what we give them credit for. If the girls want to naturally raise drones, let them (assuming they can actually raise something else too). If nothing else, I hope I can get a few frames of pure drone comb built out to leverage later in the year for mite control.
If the workers do indeed decide on their own what type of comb to build (which should be the case in foundationless), then one must conclude if they are building drone comb they want the boys around. Just why, we don't know. If it doesn't suit us we use them for mite bait, but it may make the girls sad to lose the company.

I'm thinking of all those summer beach movies from the 60's. A little kissing, a lot of mingling, but we were to believe that actual hanky-panky was rare.
 

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They certainly do want drones in the spring, and I feel that finding them in a new hive is a sign they are happy and doing well -- they won't raise drones if they are short of nectar or pollen.

I put a couple foundationless frames in my hive a couple years ago, and sure enough they filled them both solid with drones this year. Very little drone comb elsewhere and none between the boxes for once, which I take as a hint they want the boys around. No indications of swarming, just a couple queen cups on the bottoms of a few frames that have been there almost four weeks now, empty.

Happy bees make large honey crops, I think.

Peter
 
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