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Reason for alot of drone brood in frames?

So what is the reason for so any drone brood in a single frame?

I added my second brood box on top of first a couple days ago and plan on checking to see activities in a day or so…

Here are a couple pictures from 2 days ago and thanks to a couple people s recommendation I added a second box in time I believe before they swarmed…

I’ve watched a bunch of utube videos to help me identify drone brood which are the capped cells that stand up taller and bigger in diameter, and have been told to remove it?

In your 2nd pic the cells in the upper half of the frame are drone cells and taller than compared to the lower half of the frame which is worker brood…
Drones mate with virgin queens from other hives and are big eaters of honey so they really do nothing positive for the hive they live in. A virgin queen will fly faster than a drone so she will mate with drones that are not her own progeny. So for that reason I would cut out any drone comb you can and render it down to recover the wax. If you used foundation in your frames the bees would make worker cells except in the outer edges.
What is the reason for the cinder blocks on the metal upright? Is it to stop impaling yourself if you loose your balance?



Haha, no there on metal frame so our coons can’t tip whole thing over…( Grow them big in our neck o the woods)


So should I wait till the drone broods are all hatched from all frames before cutting it out, or just some frames?( If I cut all drone brood cells from all frames what’s to say they won’t just build more drone cells back again?)

If I cut these cells out before there hatched from cells how do you separate wax from larvae?

Why would the queen communicate to the architect and builders to make so many drone brood cells in the first place?( Maybe she is confused somehow?) Or just inexperienced in general ( young queen)

I know, lots of questions here all at once but I can see where this would be fun with helping them along( lots of thought and knowledge needs put into them)
Thanks Matt

The bees will resize it or re work it to how it needs to be in the hive. They move wax around all the time and use it for capping eggs

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Your not fully understanding what I have said Matt. If you let the drones emerge then they will be eating honey in your hive instead of you extracting it. So I would cut out any drone comb that there is in the hive - like yesterday. The new comb might be built as worker comb and that is what you should be aiming at to increase the worker bees in the hive, remember a drone is not a worker ok.
As you reclaim the wax the dead larvae will come out of the wax. The queen doesn’t tell the workers what cells they should build, you are over estimating her IQ, she is an egg laying machine, that is her sole function, she has attendant bees to even feed her !!
It is a steep learning curve Matt, we are here to give you sound advice from many years of bee keeping. Sometimes you have to do things that sound cruel but in the overall scheme of things it is best for a healthy and strong hive, OK…
Cheers Matt…

FWIW, this is what I have been told about drone brood:

Drone cells get in the way of cells that could be used by the hive for workers.

Drones consume hive resources (honey, pollen, space) that couple be used by productive workers.

Removing drone cells can be one part of IPM to control varroa. Apparently (someone correct me if I have misunderstood this point), varroa mites preferentially infest drone brood as it matches up most closely to the mite lifecycle.

Using frames with foundation ‘should’ reduce the amount of drone brood you get, because the foundation is already imprinted with cells sized too small for drones. (In practice, I just end up getting drone brood on the bottoms of my frames, where it is easier to scrap off with the rest of the burr comb.)

I do not attempt to remove every single drone cell. Just the clumps. I figure the bees will just try to make more if I take them all, just to be perverse. (Yes, I personify my ladies, don’t judge.) Frames with foundation make this easier for me, as I don’t risk knocking all the comb off the frame when I cut out just a part.

It doesn’t matter if the wax you save for rendering has brood in it. Just freeze it all in a ziplock baggie until you are ready to render, you are probably going to strain your wax through a couple layers of cheesecloth anyway to remove brood, bee parts, pollen, and other clumps and debris anyway…

Disclaimer: New beekeeper. Feel free to slap down or correct as needed. Still learning here too.


Well- I have never had a single frame with as much drone brood as in your picture- that’s a lot! but- I don’t destroy drone comb and don’t mind having some drones. However I don’t want too many either… So these days for all my brood boxes my aim is to mostly used wired foundation frames. However- i try to have one foundationless frame if I can- that the bees can make how they like. A Canadian beekeeper on this forum does that too and says it keeps the drones confined ot one area of the hive- and the rest of the frames are neater and easier to handle in drone season.

Opinions vary and environemtns do too and unlike you I don’t have to contend with varroa .

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Looking at the frames again today that have the most drone brood on them are the 3 frames I added after installing the nuc that the bees built from scratch in foundationless frames and are all at the tops of these frames and the bottoms are not connected down all the way and the lower half’s of all of them are worker size cells…

I like to do gradual changes in everything I do on our farm with all our animals alike so I’ll wait till they build the comb the rest of the way down, then I’ll cut out upper drone brood areas.

When I cut these areas out should I shake all bees off of frame over my hive first, then cut out?

Thanks Matt

I have found- if you give bees foundationless frames to build during the spring build up/nectar pollen time- they tend to (unsurprisingly) build a lot of drone comb. If they are in peak drone season- they make comb to suit. So it’s better to give them foundation at that time to try and encourage as many smaller cells as possible. One the other hand- If you have just caught a swarm - they can be used ot quickly build foundationless worker combs with small cells.

It’s very nive to have combs with a high proportion of small cells for brood boxes- as they are neater and easier to manipulate during spring- and you have less drones.


I came across this before, and also that that’s not the case. I was wondering whether there is some scientific evidence on this issue and whether foundation-less frames produces more drones.

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Hey Matt, I think this statement shows you to be a thoughtful and caring farmer, which tells me you’re doing your best to be the same kind of beekeeper - you’re sure to find success with this approach.

If you do cut out drone comb that still has larvae in it, you can toss it into your chicken yard - they’ll go crazy for it! :smile::chicken:

@anon63823775 - about whether foundationless frames end up having more drone comb built in them, I can’t cite anything scientific, but the whole rationale for using them is that that way ‘the bees can built what they want’…so signs point to bees wanting more drones than their keepers would prefer. Makes sense, because animals reliably want to reproduce and have ways of trying to stay competitive in the gene pool! and humans pretty reliably have been known to manipulate those mechanisms to squeeze more of what they want from animals :robot:


don’t know about the science- but I have experienced it. I started out using foundationless and had good results- early on. My brother warned me I would have to much drone comb… And as a few years passed I noticed that my brothers hive had better brood combs than me. He was a big fan of wired foundation. I transitioned to mostly wire and watched my combs change for the better. I moved foundationless ones into supers and then crushed them. You readily see the large patches of drone comb they make drawing combs at times. At other times they draw superb small cell worker comb perfectly. I keep those ones.

Now we have several hives with just a few natural combs- and the bees really do tend to focus their drones to those areas- with a decrease of drones on the top and bottoms of frames etc. I find that more managable in spring as combs with drone comb get damaged more and can roll bees more. I figure foundation only adds a few dollars to the set up of a good brood box and is worth it. I still love foundationless for swarms, the odd single frame checkerboarded into an established hive and shallow honey supers. Bets of both worlds.

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Don’t waste you time looking for scientific evidence on this issue and whether foundation-less frames produces more drones as it won’t exist.
From my own experience is that with foundation the bees make more worker size cell but if the colony want to increase the number of drones they will make drone cells at the outside of foundation which is ok. I changed completely over to using wax foundation many years ago and one of my reasons was the amount of drone comb in foundation-less frames.
Cheers, Peter

My first hive was foundation less and I had drone cells but don’t know whether it was more than I should have.

In my next hives I was going to have just a few centimeters of wax starter strip in the broodbox. Maybe I should replace with full foundation then.

(Apologies for hijacking the thread).

I don’t consider it hijacking, I’m like a sponge and love to learn and it’s always better to get multiple people’s opinions on things in general…
Thanks Matt :+1:


The reason for a lot of drone brood in frames is because a colony can pass on it’s genes via the more drones it can produce. The more drones, the more chances it has of passing on it’s genes. This is only during periods when virgin queens are likely to be about.

I reduce large areas of drone brood as a SHB strategy, as mentioned on the other thread.

After cutting the large areas of drone brood out of frames, I always place them above a QX. Then I replace them in the brood box with fresh wired foundation.

Let’s put it this way. A fully drawn deep frame with worker comb has the potential for the colony to produce in excess of 6k worker bees every 21+ days.

I say 21+ because I don’t know how long after a bee emerges before a queen deposits another egg.


I love the way you put things Jeff, it is pure logic with a good dose of maths thrown in that makes so much sense.
After my visit to you a couple of weeks ago driving home I realized we both have different micro climates, something that I hadn’t even thought of before as we are only 18 klm’s apart. I’m grateful you were able to supply me with the honey so I could fill my order.
I’ve been down to Morayfield twice this past week for more gear to increase my number of hives, twice you ask?? Well the first time was last Sunday when of course they were closed!!:hot_face:
Cheers mate, Peter

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You didn’t hijack the thread mate, and there is no problem with detours!!
My thinking is starter strips won’t give the idea to the colony to make a frame of worker size comb nearly as much as a frame full of foundation. In the overall scheme of things a full sheet of wax is good value to increase the number of worker bees in a colony which is really what we all want. The colony will still make drone comb towards the edges if they feel they want to. The cost of a sheet of foundation I see as nothing if you consider the saved time for the bees to draw out comb and put it to use, and when the frame has to be cycled out of use the wax is still there to reclaim.
Cheers, Peter

Jeff, When you say after cutting large areas out" I always place them above a QX"( meaning queen excluder I’m guessing?)
Are you saying you put the removed drone brood comb in open frames above the QX or your saying you put what remains in frame (after cutting out drone brood cells) above a QX so she doesn’t have access to this frame anymore?
Thanks Matt