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Author Topic: Lots of drone comb, should I remove it?  (Read 676 times)
Greg watkevich
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« on: June 15, 2010, 05:37:13 PM »

I just added a second deep for brood as the bottom deep was getting full.  The hive had very few drones, but when I moved a frame from the bottom deep to the top, I noticed the entire bottom half of a 4 or five deeps was full of capped drone brood and drone comb.  This is a new  package that was installed May 3 and started out with lots of nice worker capped brood.   I am not using foundations and it would be pretty easy to cutout all of the drone comb.  Should I cut out the drone comb?

Greg watkevich
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caticind
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« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2010, 05:50:55 PM »

Why?  If you cut the drone comb out, they will just rebuild it.  For any of a number of reasons, the bees want more drones in the hive.  This is a pretty normal change to see during swarm season.  This is the time of year when other hives that have swarmed will be sending out their new queens for mating flights - it makes good sense for your colony to produce plenty of drones so that it has a chance to spread its genes to as many other colonies as possible.

You're not using foundation - isn't the point that the bees can decide how to build comb according to their needs?

I wouldn't cut it unless your colony is struggling with increasing varroa loads.  If this is the case, then in addition to other IPM methods, you should consider cutting out the drone brood before they hatch to reduce the mite population. 

What do you want to achieve by removing the drone comb?
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The bees would be no help; they would tumble over each other like golden babies and thrum wordlessly on the subjects of queens and sex and pollen-gluey feet. -Palimpsest
Greg watkevich
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« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2010, 06:01:37 PM »

I dont believe there is a mite problem.  Haven't seen any.  I was thinking that cutting out the drone brood would allow more room for worker brood.  Unsure if the would continue to build drone brood.  I was very surprised because i didn't notice any drone brood last time I checked.  This is a big change in the hive population. 

I would like to know if experienced beeks have seen this before with new installs.

Greg Watkevich
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melliphile
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« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2010, 08:45:04 PM »

I leave it. I figure if my hive is queen-right and all else seems well, then they are rightfully compelled to raise drones. I might not want so many drones, but if it's a good queen, these drones are spreading her genes. Especially during the swarm season.
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"Never discourage anyone who continually makes progress, no matter how slow." -Plato
fermentedhiker
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« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2010, 10:38:08 PM »

I wouldn't call myself an experienced beek(just into my third year), but it's not an uncommon thing to see initially when starting a package or nuc on foundationless frames.  They tend to go a little overboard with the drone comb initially.  Just work the frames with lots drone comb gradually to the outside replacing them with fresh frames.  When they stop drawing fresh drone comb you'll know that they've reached the point that they feel they have enough.  At that point you can start cutting out some of the drone comb(which at that point will hopefully be backfilled with honey four you) and rotating them back in.  You will eventually find the equilibrium point, it may take a season or two, but the effort will be a worthwhile education.

Adam
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Two Bees
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« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2010, 01:03:52 PM »

Just leave it.  The bees know what they are doing.  Personally, I don't see how they get along without us!   grin
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"Don't know what I'd do without that boy......but I'm sure willin' to give it a try!"
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