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DRONE BROOD MANIPULATION!!!

DRONE BROOD MANIPULATION!!!

Home Made Drone Comb
   While talking to my mentor, Randy Oliver, about powered sugar, we drifted to the popular subject of drone brood removal.   He knew we practiced it, but  realized and became very concerned that I was not telling beekeepers that drone brood manipulation was a big part of our IPM strategy, especially since I've been talking to so many beekeepers.  He was right.  It wasn't part of my literature, nor in my talks.  

 

 

    My methods of drone brood manipulation were pretty vague.  For years we have been putting medium and shallow frames in deep supers in the brood boxes and cutting away the drone brood.  A lot of work for the bees to keep drawing out that comb.  A few years ago, we tried to make comb honey by putting empty frames in top supers and accidently ended up with frame of drone comb, which we immediately removed and put in the freezer.  We started to cycle these in and out of the brood boxes during swarming season.  Since we practice reversing the supers every ten days making sure the queen is in the bottom and to cut out queen cells, it was a good time to exchange the capped drone brood  for the frozen brood in the freezer (at least 24 hours to kill mites).  All we did was scrape the cappings with an uncapping fork and put them back in the hive.  The bees did all the work of removing dead drones and mites.   In 20 days we remove and replace.  We would pull them during the honey flow since we tried not to disturb the bees.  Turns out, we could have done this through August. 

 

     So, now we have two ways to make our own drone broad, empty frames and medium frames in deep boxes.  After years of using both, we decided we like the medium frames in deep boxes.  It's easy to remove the drone brood and you elimate walks back and forth to the freezer.  
Medium Frame in Deep Super, Bees just add drone brood to bottom

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