What is Drone Comb?
Drone comb is the raised cells you will see in a hive, these have drone pupu in them. The drones are the male bees of the colony, drones main role in life is to mate with virgin queens, and also help spread the queens pheromone throughout the hive.
So what’s so bad, why would a beekeeper want to remove it?
We remove it because the varroa mites prefer drone comb because of the longer gestation period of the drone bee. This is part of our Integrated pest management strategy.
We don’t cull all the drone comb, but we do remove the drones in our management frames. It’s natural for the bees to have a certain number of drones in the hives. Especially if you or your neighbors are doing queen rearing.
Do you have any tools that can help make this task easier?
Yes we make and sell the “kiwimana Drone Management Frames” or a drone comb frame, it’s was a great idea we spotted on Randy Oliver’s web site.
Here is the article on Randy’s web site, its well worth a read:-
IPM 5.5 Fighting Varroa 5.5: Biotechnical Tactics II
The frame is a full sized frame (we could make 3/4 sized ones if they is enough interest). The top of the frame has a normal plastic foundation. We used plastic because we find it’s easier to scrap out the comb, if you ever need to remove the frame from the hive.
The bottom section is empty and the bees build comb in here. The comb will be different dependent on the time of the year. In the spring build up the bees will build drone comb. This is removed every twenty ones days or whenever the cells are capped.
We remove it because the varroa mites prefer drone comb because of the longer gestation period of drones. This is part of our Integrated pest management strategy.
You can read more about our frames on the product page…kiwimana drone management frames.
Drone Management Frame (1)
Drone Brood Management frame that is used to capture Drone comb drawing in one frame – method can be used to cull drone comb or enable checking in cells for presence of Varroa Mites who love Drone comb best