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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In mite control, or is it just a gimmick? I would be curious to know if, in fact, more drones are produced on it? I assume that the queen lays drones according to the hive's needs, but does she target this particular frame?

If so, in manipulating that population, are we being counter-productive in the name or pursuit of mite control?
 

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Give her drone comb and she will fill it.Mites will certainly target the drones .When sealed take it out of the hive and stick it in the freezer to kill everything,hang it up afterwards and let the birds clean it out for you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Give her drone comb and she will fill it.Mites will certainly target the drones .When sealed take it out of the hive and stick it in the freezer to kill everything,hang it up afterwards and let the birds clean it out for you.
Thanks for the (only) response, but my real questions are - and perhaps you answered part of it in your first line. Do queens target these larger cells specifically for drone, or are they generally dispursed throughout the hive without much regard to initial cell size?

I know how to deal with 'diseased' comb, but really interested if drone control is truely possible with a large-cell foundation frame, how this effects mite load, and what overall adverse effects (if any) are experienced by the systematic reduction of drones (if, in fact, the product works) in the hive (mites aside)?
 

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Not sure how I missed this post earlier (sorry or I would have responded) but I will now throw my 2 cents. We use the green plastic drone frames. They draw it all drone sized cells. The queen will fill it. I would NOT say that she targets this frame and reduces her drone laying in the natural drone cells disbursed throughout the hive, but continues to lay in those drone cells and in addition will also lay in the green drone comb. We see an explosion of drones using these frames not a reduction. We do not use them for mite control but to boost our drone population. The idea behind the green frame is to obtain MOST of the drone brood on one frame for easy removal, Hope that answers the question.
 

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and what overall adverse effects (if any) are experienced by the systematic reduction of drones (if, in fact, the product works) in the hive (mites aside)?

A lot of energy and resources are put into raising drones. It is metabolically expensive to destroy drones after all the work the hive has put into rearing them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Getting there - thanks PKA.

You indicate that, in fact, by presenting the queen with drone-sized comb "We see an explosion of drones using these frames not a reduction", and that increase is not necessarily targeted to the 'green' comb, but you do "obtain MOST of the drone brood on one frame for easy removal"

I can assume that you are in the drone business:doh: and not the mite-reduction business, but again curious if this somehow stimulates the queen to produce more drones, or just generally concentrates them on the 'target' comb (surely you have done quantitative studies, otherwise why spend the money on drone comb)?

Would you care to offer an opinion - mites aside, because it is generally believed that they target drone brood, how drone management (dragging out as many drone cells as you can find) effects (or not) the yearly long-range health of the colony, if at all?

If the queen is laying drones based on hive requirements, then by trying to manipulate that, we are forcing her to lay more drone, when she could be laying more workers - that sounds like we are defeating our (honey-producers) purpose? That mite control needs to be addressed outside brood control.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
CB,

I was busy pontificating as your post came in - thanks for the response, and reflects generally how I feel. I hope that no theory comes out that the less bees poop, the more mites they have and we should start feeding exlax in their 1:1.
 

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If there is drone comb in the center of the broodnest where the queen is actively laying, she will fill it with drones. (From my observations.)

I can assume that you are in the drone business

Why is being in the drone business bad? They are a vital asset in queen production.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Trying to figure out where in my post I inferred that being in the business of raising drones was any less of a noble occupation than making honey - maybe you could point that out to me CB.

I know that I'm personally having trouble getting used to the time change - I'll probably get there when it is time to 'fall back', how about you?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
FYI, the :doh: symbol (as you can see an individual smacking themself in the forehead) is not a reflection on the one who posts, but on the one who is reading the post and misses the obvious, or makes a statement that is repetetive or obvious to all readers.
 

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I would ONLY use drone comb if the mite burden is heavy and is basically in sealed cells.Varroa definately target drones - they are attracted to the pheramones produced by drone brood.This means that when affected cells decap and the young bees emerge,the new mites emerge as well and are immediately attracted to the comb containing all drone brood which they then infest.After sealing of this comb,its removal will immediately effect the mite population.I wouldn't carry out this proceedure more than once as effectively you are deliberately using up nursing bee resources - but better this than sacrificeing worker brood to the mite.The overall effect on the colony is quite small and will do nothing to the normal drone population laid around the periferies of normal brood comb.
 

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I personally believe that using drone comb is effective as part of an overall IPM plan. For me, there never seems to be a magic bullet. Drone comb, if you can keep up with the schedule, is low cost and chemical free. It's just not enough all by itself.
 

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The natural honeybee nest contains quite a bit more drone comb than our managed colonies. This is b/c we "force" the bees to draw out mostly standard comb by using exclusively standard foundation. Try putting a super frame into a full depth hive body, the bees will almost always fill in the gap w/ drone comb. This is b/c they naturally sense a deficit of drone comb in the hive. The queen doesn't "decide" to lay drone eggs and then go looking for drone comb. Rather, she comes across a cell and lays either worker or drone eggs depending on the size of the cell she comes across.
When it comes to Varroa control there are a lot of resources out there on drone comb removal. It's labor intensive, but it does work. However, if you put drone comb in w/o removing it after the cells are capped you are really just exacerbating the varroa problem. This is b/c varroa reproduce more successfully in drone brood (longer development time).
 

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A lot of energy and resources are put into raising drones. It is metabolically expensive to destroy drones after all the work the hive has put into rearing them.
Indeed. However, they've already put in the energy, and drones do not contribute anything to that colony for the rest of their lives except the varroa they co-raised :). Allowing them to hatch doesn't use any more resources than culling them. Recall that drones don't forage, defend, ventilate, nurse, attend or clean.

I cull drone comb as part of my IPM routine. The green frames work, but I just put in empty frames and cull the drawn drone comb once it's capped. The green frames work great, but then you have to return the frozen frame (thawed) to the colony which is another trip. I think the greenies' best benefit is for drone rearing, for example in a mating yard. Queens lay in a cell based on its size, so drone-sized cells get drones and worker-sized cells get females. As noted above, they ONLY work if you get there and pull them before the drones hatch out; otherwise you're rearing varroa.
 

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I think the effectiveness of drone removal, depends on what you expect from your bees.

If you are a hobbiest who does not care on the cost of keeping a hive, who only want to take the extra honey, if they make extra honey, then drone comb is cost effective.

If you are a queen producer, who keeps the mites down, a frame or two of drone comb might be benificial in a yard where queens are raised

If however you are a commercial producer, defined as a person who is in bees for profit, who pencils out costs, (no matter the # of hives), drone comb is, IMO, costly. This commercial producer could be in nuc or package production or honey production, and queen production
Why?...
In basic terms, the # of trips to the yards for removal, this is the simplist extra cost. The freezer space, labour etc of drone comb placement and removal.
In harder to define terms, the cost to the hive in the form of worker bees and wax production. Nurse bees now have to rear higher numbers of drones. This effectively takes away from rearing worker bees. It also means that less worker bees would be produced for a cycle or two. Less worker larva will tilt the balance in the hive. For example, less larva as workers will mean less nurse bees when they hatch, then less hive cleaners, then less foragers, which will intern mean less larva on the next go around since food could get a bit scarce from the lack of foragers. Or the nurse bees could become foragers before they are ready to forage, shortening their life span, then again taking the hive out of sync.

My premise is, a healthy hive always has enough bees to take over when the older bees graduate to a new task or die. If not enough bees are produced during a cycle, it tilts the balance of replacements for a several weeks, maybe more. This out of balance hive will then be unsustainable in a commercial producing hive. The expenses will excede the income, creating a loss. In my world, the bees and the wax production are part of the expense/income variable because i value the bees and wax $ wise.

The benifits of drone comb have to be weighed depending on what your end goal is.
 

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Someone in netherlands 5-6 years ago wrote 3-4 web pages
explaining a method and timing to use drone removal
for spring VD control
Turns 2 strong hives into 3 hives
Usually strong hives in spring need to be slowed,
does not affect honey crop
If done "right" can be very effective

dave
 

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Trying to figure out where in my post I inferred that being in the business of raising drones was any less of a noble occupation than making honey - maybe you could point that out to me CB.

Well you did say...

that sounds like we are defeating our (honey-producers) purpose?

Inclusio unius est exclusio alterius.

However, they've already put in the energy, and drones do not contribute anything to that colony for the rest of their lives except the varroa they co-raised . Allowing them to hatch doesn't use any more resources than culling them.

I won't argue with you there. Once they are capped the bees don't expend much more energy into them other than keeping the drone brood warm. However, I took the question of the systematic drone removal to be the frequent removal of drones from the hive. If you put a new drone frame in the middle of the broodnest, and pull the full one every two weeks systematically, that is just draining energy from the hive. I guess it all depends on how systematically you remove drone brood.
 

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The drone frame is removed in 22 days or less before the drones emerge. Varroa are attracted to drone pheremone more than worker. Queen's egg laying is only reduced by the little time she is laying unfertilized eggs. Her total egg production over a lifetime is not impacted. So is the loss of a few seconds worth the healthy workers?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
It reads to me that, in fact, the queen is going to lay drones in this larger comb. Whether that percentage is increased over a hive without drone-specific foundation was obscure to me. Somebody in there is creating cell-size based on colony requirements irregardless of foundation size to force the queen to 'drone'.

If we assume that a frame of drone comb satisfies the requirements of the hive, and then we drag it out and cull it, are we not creating as much work for them to re-satisfy this requirement, as they have in the cell creation, feeding/nursing and capping process (IPM/mite control aside)?

Like the majority of us (and by that I don't infer any degree of hierachy) who are not in the very noble/important business of queen-rearing, where having drones concentrated makes the task quicker and easier, drone-control seems like a counter-productive task in terms of both energy and resources (keepers and bees).

If these drones are 'extras', am I not only exacerbating the possibility of mite load, and creating a lot of extra work for both keeper and bee - me removing and culling every <22 days and the bees re-establishing? If, on the otherhand, this comb is meeting hive requirements & I am systematically destroying it, am I not only doing the same, but perhaps disrupting hive balance?

With a whole year of beekeeing under my belt, I appreciate those of you who have contributed constructively to this thread, for my knowledge is limited to very little experience, a little more of logic, but mostly reading.
 
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