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Reason for alot of drone brood in frames?

you cetrainly can do the wood strips- that’s what I have used with sucess- but- you can also run into more hitches along the way- like cross combing. You will also get more drone cells- almost certianly. You need to keep an eye and fix things when they start to go wrong more with foundaitonless frames. A good compromise would be to checkerboard foundationless with foundation. The frames with foundation will help to direct the bees to draw out the foundationless ones well. Slotting in a single wood starter strip frame between established combs works very well.

My aim when developing a brood box is to make it completely perfect: perfect flat frames that slot in and out easily. I spend some thought on the spacing of frames, ensuring the hive is perfectly level, etc to develop a perfect box that is easy to inspect, and maintain. Using some foundation really helps - especially if you are not hugely experienced in keeping bees.Small issues that develop when a hive is started- can easily become much bigger issues down the road. Fixing deviations early saves a lot of bother later.

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That mistake almost put me off beekeeping.

I was advised to use foundation, but the Flow guys seem to advocate for foundation-less at the time, and being a purist hippie myself I thought I ignore the advice and let the bees just do their thing.

Result was that I was overwhelmed with cross comb, and being a newbie not knowing how to fix it properly without harming the bees I made the second mistake of postponing, and dreading, inspecting the broodbox of the fear of finding even more cross comb. One of the reasons I eventually sold the hive, and am starting again.

me too. Being somewhat of a hippie- and also thrifty- I thought: sure foundationless! It’s natural and cheap. BUT: There is nothing worse than becoming concerned and dreading looking into a wonky hive. So much easier to first become expert before attempting more nuanced types of beekeeping. That’s why I’d ever even think of trying to run a top bar hive. Full frames are so much easier to handle, why make it hard for myself?! Same for foundationless- I still use it- but more sparingly.

I am not so sure if Flow reccomended foundationless- so much as that is that is what they provided. I know Cedar is an adherent but he is also a highly skilled long time beekeeper who knows his locale. I know Michael Bush is too- again- much experience.

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@Semaphore Like Jack, I don’t think the Flow Hive guys advocated foundation-less brood frames although they do supply frames with the wooden strip in the top of the frame. Maybe some didn’t use foundation for that reason.
I can’t see that using bees wax foundation is unnatural or not ‘hippie’. After all is is the same material as bees produce.
When I first started bee keeping my mentor back then explained the cost of foundation was a good investment in bringing the hives into producing honey quicker, it eliminated a lot the hassles of leaving the bees to their own devices, and finally when the frame had done 2 or 3 years service the wax could be reclaimed and sold so the cost of the foundation is well covered. But of course there are those that see a benefit in not using foundation and each to their own way of bee keeping.
Possibly the biggest mistake we can make is seeing something wrong but postponing rectifying the issue, it just makes the job bigger and more time needed to fix it and probably a more angry colony…

Yes Matt, QX = queen excluder. I cut the drone brood out of the frames before I place them in the honey super above the queen excluder. This allows the remaining worker brood to emerge before the bees use that frame to store honey. I can keep using that frame for honey, however it will never get put back into the brood box unless it has fresh foundation.

The reason for cutting the drone comb out before placing the frame above the queen excluder is to save the drones after they emerge, getting stuck in the QX while trying to get through. The dead drones stuck in a QX, is a place where SHBs can lay eggs. I try to eliminate, where possible any place where beetles can lay eggs.


let me have a shot at answering you question to Jeff, we are only about 12 miles apart and our thinking in bee keeping is very much the same.
When you cut out drone brood cells it is to reduce the risk of the bees making more drone cells. Placing drone brood frames above the QX then those frames will be used for honey storage by the worker bees.
Any comb you cut out of a frame anywhere will be redrawn by the workers bees and not left as a huge hole.
Using foundation in a frame reduces the amount of drone cells.
Hope that explains it to you, Cheers

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Ok just to clairify… you can’t really do what @JeffH and @Peter48 are saying, in a standard Flow Hive with one super full of Flow frames… right?

This practice is more suitable for normal hives?

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Now you are trying to confuse me, why can’t you cut out drone brood comb? It is a very simple matter regardless of what is above the QX ok. You can cut out drone comb in the brood box, that is exactly what I have been saying, or is it too late at night and I have missed something, — darn, I’m off to bed, good night to all:relaxed:

Ok, well here we go…

I don’t have my super on my hive and I’m not sure that I will put it on this year because my main goal is to build a strong Hive that will overwinter and that I can get honey in the spring of 2020 from what I’ve been told this is the most reasonable way to start a hive because if I take honey out of it now the beads won’t have enough to eat overwinter which is why I opted to put a second brood box on top of my lower one so that they can have plenty of food over the winter…

But this is going to be my next step that I make when I open the hive back up in about a week to check it is to remove any drone brood that I can but then I am unsure other than just two throw it out what I can do with it because of my situation (I have no Queen excluder on my hive because of no honey super being used currently…)

I’m trying to do this in small steps so there’s no big changes and it keeps my visits short and to the point without too much for me to stress about peach time, thanks Matt :+1:

Sorry I can’t help you there Matt because I only run single brood boxes & I look to & get honey in the first season. Sometimes within only a couple of months. A young queen performs best in her first year. I like to take advantage of that in honey production.

The best advice I could & have given you is to use all foundation frames.

Just out of interest, how many brood boxes do the commercial operators in your area use? They would be a good guide.

PS. I noticed in one of your photos two brood frames separated by 2 empty frames. I would not do that. Also no evenness in your frame spacing. Those large gaps can cause problems.

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I agree HW. The only thing one could do is remove a flow frame & replace it with the normal frame until it’s full of honey, then replace it.

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Hey Matt, this might sound very basic, but if you opt for a double brood box then the bees will require more honey to survive over winter. The reason to go for a double brood box is for the colony to be able to generate more heat for the brood area.
My advice is to find out what bee keepers in your area do in regards to a single or double brood set up. If you present hive is running out of honey storage space(honey bound) then I would put a super on above the QX so that the bees will have work to do. Bees can get a bit agro if there is no work for them.
Local bee keepers are the best for knowledge on how to manage your hive. Your first year or two can be daunting and confusing, even to the point of being not sure what to do so doing nothing can seem to be an option. It is far better for the hive to be proactive and even if you make a bad choice bees can be very forgiving and survive.

Thanks Jeff very helpful. I though that would be the case with a standard super full of flow frames.

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I put second brood box on b/c that’s what all guys run here in NE Ohio to give the hive enough honey to make it through the winter…
Secondly, others looking at my original pictures said I should put 2 ND on to avoid a swarm

I can see your dilemma, you have too many mentors. It’s hard to work out which advice to follow. If you can find a local mentor, one who is successful with his own bees, one who is willing to share his/her knowledge with you, that would be gold, & worthy of any gratuity you’d be willing to offer in exchange.

It’s only the passage of time that will be your best teacher if you can’t find such a person.

I keep thinking of Jim @VinoFarm, he used to ask questions on Youtube. He got inundated with replies. The good advice got lost in the mix. Consequently he had to learn the hard way.


It’s all taken in and I’ve got to sort out/ process what’s going to work for me, bit I’ve already learned alot on here from everyone ( big thanks to all for the info…)
I’m starting to have somewhat of an idea what’s happening in my hive so there’s a learning curve( story of my life…) It’s all good, I knew going into it there was one …
Much the same as making my own maple syrup ( now I’ve done it 3 years and learned alot in that process) there were times the first year I thought I’m way over my head in work/ lack of time but I love doing that also…

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