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Author Topic: Drone comb = time consuming inspections  (Read 1731 times)

Offline ShaneJ

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Drone comb = time consuming inspections
« on: July 28, 2012, 05:47:13 AM »
Hi guys,

All of my hives are wanting to produce drones at the moment so are building comb and laying up drones between boxes. When doing inspections this drone comb not only makes it difficult getting the frames out but its also time consuming scrapping it all out. And of coarse they build it back up again ready for the next inspection.
I understand they want drones and they will do what they can to produce them but is there anything I can do to make it easier on me and possibly on them?
I have read on here that I could put a foundation less frame in for them to draw drone comb on. Is one frame per brood box enough? Will this stop them building between the boxes?

I'd appreciate any advice on this matter as I really dread inspections at the moment :(
Shane

Offline BrentX

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Re: Drone comb = time consuming inspections
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2012, 12:55:20 PM »
You are right on spot with putting a foundation less frame in.  The bees will draw what they want, in this case their priority will be drone comb.  I suggest two foundation less frames per brood box.  Put them at the edges of the brood nest  but not the outter most frame, so positions 2 and 8 in a ten frame box.
 
When they have all the brood comb they want, they will draw the rest as normal cells.  The also love to fill drone comb with honey when they don't need drone brood. 

My hives are completely converted to foundation less.  I like the results.  Just pulled some beautiful cut comb honey this morning.

Offline AllenF

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Re: Drone comb = time consuming inspections
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2012, 02:44:34 PM »
Check your bee space between your boxes.   Too much of a gap and the bees will build regardless. 

Offline duck

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Re: Drone comb = time consuming inspections
« Reply #3 on: July 28, 2012, 09:12:21 PM »
the style of shb traps that screw into the bottom of a frame are cool.  Ive used them and they get filled with drone comb.  Ive noticed the traps dont start working until there is comb drawn around it.  At least for me it doesnt.

Offline ShaneJ

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Re: Drone comb = time consuming inspections
« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2012, 11:24:23 PM »
I've just spent the last few hours cleaning up some of my hives and I have found that the middle 7 frames of the top boxes have 2-3 rows of drone cells at the bottom of the frames. As well as this, they have filled between the top and bottom boxes with drone cells.
I have replaced the second frame in from each end with foundationless frames with some foundation starter strips. If they fill these with drone brood would I be ok to cut out the drone brood from the other brood frames?
Shane

Offline BrentX

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Re: Drone comb = time consuming inspections
« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2012, 10:18:26 AM »
Yes,  it is ok to cut out the drone brood under the frames.  When you do trim off the wax with a sharp tool to dissuade rebuilding comb there.

If you have no need of drones for hive splits etc I would cut out the drone brood under the frames as soon as the bees start drawing the foundation less frames.  This way the bees will be exceptionally inspired to draw drone comb on the foundation less frames.

Offline L Daxon

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Re: Drone comb = time consuming inspections
« Reply #6 on: July 29, 2012, 03:45:23 PM »
First, I want to reiterate what Allen said. Check to make sure there is not too much space between your boxes.  This can happen if you have gotten boxes from different vendors/sources.  I 've run into this variance not only with depth but also with width.

The girls seem to naturally build drone comb using the last few rows of foundation and then continue on past the bottom of the frame, if there is space to build and they want more drones.  This is normal and natural and I usually leave this alone/let the girls do what they want/need.  They have a better handle on what's needed than I do.  If there is a dearth on or close the winter, they won't allow more drone to be produced than they have a need for.  And of course they kick out that which has already hatched if they can't afford to feed them/don't need them.
linda d

Offline ShaneJ

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Re: Drone comb = time consuming inspections
« Reply #7 on: July 29, 2012, 08:01:24 PM »
I'll try and check the spacing between the 2 boxes and let you know.

Unfortunately I can leave the drone comb in between the boxes because I cant get the frames back in there spaced evenly without crushing lots of bees.
Shane

Offline ShaneJ

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Re: Drone comb = time consuming inspections
« Reply #8 on: July 30, 2012, 04:05:29 AM »
I got around to measuring the space between the top and bottom frames. The space is about 16mm which for you guys is 5/8 inch.
Shane

Offline ShaneJ

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Re: Drone comb = time consuming inspections
« Reply #9 on: July 30, 2012, 05:04:10 AM »
Further to that measurement above I also got the following measurements:

Frame rest: 16mm - 5/8 inch
From top of frame: 7mm - bit over 1/4 inch
From bottom of frame: 9mm - almost 3/8 inch


So from these measurements it seems my frames are a tad short?
Shane

Offline D Coates

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Re: Drone comb = time consuming inspections
« Reply #10 on: July 30, 2012, 12:36:50 PM »
I put in a frame of drone comb per hive.  http://www.dadant.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=934  Seems to take care of a lot of the drone laying urges.  I freeze them every 3 weeks as some IPM.  I still get a little drone comb drawing between the boxes, especially on plastic frames.  I don't sweat it when I do.  When I separate the deeps it breaks the cells, then they clean it up by normally eating the damaged drone larva or dragging them out if they are too far along and have formed exoskeletons.  Either way it's another way to disrupt the reproductive cycle of the varoa.
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Offline ShaneJ

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Re: Drone comb = time consuming inspections
« Reply #11 on: July 31, 2012, 04:44:22 AM »
The drones in the frames are not so much of an issue and will probably be taken care of by putting in the foundation less frames, its the drone comb/burr comb between the boxes that i really need to stop.

I have done some more measuring today and I think I have found the problem. It appears my boxes are to deep.

Here are all my measurements:

Frame rest: 16mm - 5/8 inch
From top of frame: 7mm - bit over 1/4 inch
From bottom of frame: 9mm - almost 3/8 inch
Box depth: 247mm
Frame depth: 232mm
Top bar ends(tapered): about 8mm in the middle

All these measurements equate to 16mm (5/8 inch) between the boxes. But about 10mm (3/8") is maximum bee space.
My boxes seem to be 6mm deeper than the standard 241mm.

I think I better find a new supplier of boxes.  :?
Shane

Offline Bleemus

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Re: Drone comb = time consuming inspections
« Reply #12 on: August 02, 2012, 09:13:00 PM »
Or cut off a 1/4" from the bottoms of all your boxes. If you have nothing but worker cell foundation bees will still try to jam drone comb because it is their instinct to maintain a certain drone population during certain times of the year. Nothing can totally prevent it.


Offline ShaneJ

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Re: Drone comb = time consuming inspections
« Reply #13 on: August 02, 2012, 09:57:36 PM »
Yep, I plan to cut 6mm off the bottom of all my unused boxes this weekend. Hopefully this will fix most of the problems.
Shane

Offline AllenF

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Re: Drone comb = time consuming inspections
« Reply #14 on: August 02, 2012, 10:29:11 PM »
6mm?   What ever happened the good old English standard?

Offline ShaneJ

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Re: Drone comb = time consuming inspections
« Reply #15 on: August 02, 2012, 11:44:15 PM »
English? Standard? Surely those 2 words don't go together?
Shane