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Discussion Starter #1
I had a hive with a drone laying queen. The question is, a lot of the comb was used for laying of drones, so if I insert this into a broodnest will the queen only lay drone eggs in ti or can she lay worker eggs in cells that previously had drone?

Thanks,
Kevin
 

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I had a hive with a drone laying queen. The question is, a lot of the comb was used for laying of drones, so if I insert this into a broodnest will the queen only lay drone eggs in ti or can she lay worker eggs in cells that previously had drone?

Thanks,
Kevin
The cells previously hatching drones from either drone layer queen or laying workers will have had only their length extended. No diameter change. The bees will trim them back to length and polish them up. I think you propose queen replacement but that part is rather vague in your post;).
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yes, was not asking a queen question per se, but more about the comb. Based on what you said, Frank, it sounds like if they don't need drones they will modify the cell for the queen to lay workers so I should be able to insert these into the broodnest without worries that they will only make drones from the cells.

Attached are two photos of the combs in question.


IMG_2114.jpg

IMG_2113.jpg
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Kevin, they are not so much modifying the cell as returning it to its original purpose. True drone cells do not get modified. The queen will lay an unfertilized egg in it if the hive needs drones. Otherwise, the bees will fill the drone cells with nectar. On foundationless frames, it is simple to cut out unwanted drone comb and leave the more valuable worker sized cells. The bees will quickly repair the damage while the flow is on. Your two combs look like all worker cells that were lengthened to accommodate the drone larvae.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
This is helpful - thank you both.

Related question - I have one frame that is consistently filled with drone. I know the bees know what they want, but I was considering removing that frame and freezing it in part for mite control. I was going to replace that frame with one of the ones I showed in the photo. Originally, I had thought that the queen may only lay drones in that frame due to the pre-existence of "drone cells" and by removing that frame, I might be able to get the queen to lay workers in the new frame rather than drones. Given what you shared that may not be guaranteed. Again, the bees know what the bees want.

Is this accurate or am I just wasting my time with this manipulation?
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Sorry Kevin, I am not following. You want to take a frame of drone brood in drone comb out of a hive for mite control, and replace it with a frame of drone brood in worker comb? Not saying the manipulation is wrong, I just do not follow the rationale. Assuming you want to remove the drone comb, sure take it out and do whatever with it. I melt it and recover the wax. Take the comb from the photos and scratch open all the drone cells before putting it back in the hive. The bees will drag out the larvae and reduce the cells to the proper depth. Make sure you have a mated queen that is laying worker brood or the problem will continue. A drone laying queen does not know she is laying unfertilized eggs, which is why we find them in the worker sized cells. Hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Sorry, I did make this more confusing.

My thought was to remove a frame that has consistenly had drone comb and replace it with one of the frames in the photo. I thought this would help with mite control and reduce my population of drones.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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It may or may not help with mite control. Uncap a few drone larvae and look to see if there are mites on them. If so, then yes, it will help. Drop the frame from the photo next to the broodnest and the queen will lay it with worker brood. Have you found and killed the drone laying queen yet? Are you giving the hive a frame of eggs to make a new queen or are you going to purchase one?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thank you - you answered my question.

This frame that I will drop in was taken from the hive with the drone layer but I froze the frame. Long story but the drone layer that I had ended up swarming after trying to survive outside of any hive body. She's in a nuc right now and tomorrow I should be able to spot her since there are so few bees in the nuc and begin the requeening process or do a newspaper combine.

Thanks again!
 

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There is a terminology problem. Drone comb has a much wider cell center to center spacing and a healthy queen will not lay workers in it. Worker comb is roughly 5.3 mm spacing c to c. A queen will not lay drone eggs in it intentionally unless she has become infertile (out of sperm) then those eggs will develop as drones in that worker cell but the bees in capping them will have to extend the length to accommodate the greater volume of a drone. Most of that bullet nosed extension will disappear at emergence and the workers will cut back the cell length to what is suited for a worker brood cell (which is what it is) Laying workers lay their unfertilized eggs wherever there is a hole and of course it will develop as a bullet nose drone in worker cells.

Having had a round of drone brood improperly raised in worker sized cells does not create a frame of drone COMB! It does create a frame of drones though which you do not want in almost any circumstance. Uncapp and inspect for mites. If it was originally drawn as drone comb it will forever be a frame of drone comb an will not ever be laid as workers.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks, Frank, this is helping me.

Should I leave the existing frame of drone comb (and it is definitely drone comb as it has been covered in drone brood) or should I replace it with the previously frozen comb that I had removed from a drone layer colony as shown in my photos?
 

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Thanks, Frank, this is helping me.

Should I leave the existing frame of drone comb (and it is definitely drone comb as it has been covered in drone brood) or should I replace it with the previously frozen comb that I had removed from a drone layer colony as shown in my photos?
Covered in drone brood? Still missing something. Are you saying that it was originally drawn on either drone foundation or foundationlessly drawn drone sized cells? That can give you only drones. Dont do that unless you deliberately want drones for varroa culling or breeding purposes.

If you want worker cells drawn then use the frames that housed illegitimate drone larvae but which have worker space and dia. cells. They will be laid up worker brood unless you still have the resident drone laying queen or laying workers.
 
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