How to encourage the Queen to lay male bees?

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RichardK 

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In my hives i use a mixture of starter strips & full sheets of wax. Is there anything i can do to help increase the production of male bees should i wish?

I've seen frames split in half by a bar which i think is for just this purpose, but can't see how this would help if i'm letting the bees fully draw out the frames as it is.
 

RichardK 

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One option would be to use 1 sheet of drone foundation in each hive, in a deep frame. Otherwise remove a deep frame and replace it with a shallow frame, the bees should then draw out a comb of drone cells underneath the bottom bars of the shallow frame.
Thanks for that - I hadn't realised you could even buy foundation specifically for male bees!
 

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Thanks for that - I hadn't realised you could even buy foundation specifically for male bees!
You need to get hold of, and read through, something like a Thorne’s Catalogue! There are doubtless lots of things you will not have heard of! BTW, lots are not necessary for keeping bees!
 
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Thanks for that - I hadn't realised you could even buy foundation specifically for male bees!
Just be aware that if the bees don't actually want to build drone comb at the time you put drone foundation in, they will attempt to make worker comb on it, which will render it a useless chaotic moonscape of wax.

So, only put drone foundation into full size colonies (never nucs), and only during swarm season.
 

Ian123 

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In my hives i use a mixture of starter strips & full sheets of wax. Is there anything i can do to help increase the production of male bees should i wish?

I've seen frames split in half by a bar which i think is for just this purpose, but can't see how this would help if i'm letting the bees fully draw out the frames as it is.
Your using starter strips so more than likely you are already doing more than enough! Bees will draw what they want or need. The queen will lay drones depending upon season and the needs of the natural cycle. I really wouldn’t worry to much about assisting them.
 

Jos Hillen 

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In my hives i use a mixture of starter strips & full sheets of wax. Is there anything i can do to help increase the production of male bees should i wish?

I've seen frames split in half by a bar which i think is for just this purpose, but can't see how this would help if i'm letting the bees fully draw out the frames as it is.
Just give them 2 starterstrips in the broodchamber on each side next to the food frame and you will get plenty of drones.
 

Erichalfbee 

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Your using starter strips so more than likely you are already doing more than enough! Bees will draw what they want or need. The queen will lay drones depending upon season and the needs of the natural cycle. I really wouldn’t worry to much about assisting them.
Spot on. My swarms get starter strips and they draw worker cells almost entirely
 

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In my hives i use a mixture of starter strips & full sheets of wax. Is there anything i can do to help increase the production of male bees should i wish?

I've seen frames split in half by a bar which i think is for just this purpose, but can't see how this would help if i'm letting the bees fully draw out the frames as it is.
Do you have a reason for wanting the colony to over produce drones ? I am foundationless so you are the same with your starter strips . Given the chance they will raise up to 20% of the total brood as drones... why would you want them to produce more ?
 

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In my hives i use a mixture of starter strips & full sheets of wax. Is there anything i can do to help increase the production of male bees should i wish?

I've seen frames split in half by a bar which i think is for just this purpose, but can't see how this would help if i'm letting the bees fully draw out the frames as it is.
The article linked to here basically says, they need plenty of pollen. ;)
 

RichardK 

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Do you have a reason for wanting the colony to over produce drones ? I am foundationless so you are the same with your starter strips . Given the chance they will raise up to 20% of the total brood as drones... why would you want them to produce more ?
Over the next few months I'll be converting changing all colonies (5) to Buckfast - right now I have 2 Buckfast and 3 black. My 'thinking' was that going forward if I increase the Buckfast drone population any virgin queens will have a higher change of mating with Buckfast drones than otherwise.
 

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The article linked to here basically says, they need plenty of pollen. ;)
Very interesting - the mimosa is just coming into bloom so pollen is going to be plentiful for some weeks. It'll be interesting to see how that affects drone brood numbers.
 

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Over the next few months I'll be converting changing all colonies (5) to Buckfast - right now I have 2 Buckfast and 3 black. My 'thinking' was that going forward if I increase the Buckfast drone population any virgin queens will have a higher change of mating with Buckfast drones than otherwise.
From what little I know about DCA and mating flights if your colonies are all in the same apiary your effort to flood the drones available to your queens might be a vain and your neighbours genetics may have a far more significant influence. I recall research showing that drones tend to congregate in the nearest DCAs to the apiary and virgin Qs bypass these and mate further away. So I think that unless you are very isolated or have the resources to put drone mother colonies on a significant perimeter to your mating colonies you wont really reap the benefits of increasing the numbers of buckfast drones. Obviously a healthy amount of drone comb in the colony and drones in the environment is no bad thing.
 

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From what little I know about DCA and mating flights if your colonies are all in the same apiary your effort to flood the drones available to your queens might be a vain and your neighbours genetics may have a far more significant influence. I recall research showing that drones tend to congregate in the nearest DCAs to the apiary and virgin Qs bypass these and mate further away. So I think that unless you are very isolated or have the resources to put drone mother colonies on a significant perimeter to your mating colonies you wont really reap the benefits of increasing the numbers of buckfast drones. Obviously a healthy amount of drone comb in the colony and drones in the environment is no bad thing.
I take your point - thanks. I am relatively 'stuck out' (see pic...) although I'm aware of 1 apiary about 1.5km away as the crow flies with c. 25 hives although I've no idea if his bees are a particular 'variety' - I must try and find out.

1643371343755.png
 

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From what little I know about DCA and mating flights if your colonies are all in the same apiary your effort to flood the drones available to your queens might be a vain and your neighbours genetics may have a far more significant influence. I recall research showing that drones tend to congregate in the nearest DCAs to the apiary and virgin Qs bypass these and mate further away. So I think that unless you are very isolated or have the resources to put drone mother colonies on a significant perimeter to your mating colonies you wont really reap the benefits of increasing the numbers of buckfast drones. Obviously a healthy amount of drone comb in the colony and drones in the environment is no bad thing.
Spot on - replicating Buckfast (or any bee genetics) are a bit of a lottery with open mating ... if there are any other colonies contributing to the drone population in the DCA then you will get whatever is the drones the queen chooses. Plus .. queens will not knowingly or willingly mate with their offspring .. so you could pick up some really regressive genes by encouraging your drones to mate with their mothers ...
 

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I take your point - thanks. I am relatively 'stuck out' (see pic...) although I'm aware of 1 apiary about 1.5km away as the crow flies with c. 25 hives although I've no idea if his bees are a particular 'variety' - I must try and find out.

View attachment 30140
Not a bad view from the office you have there.
 

PeaBee 

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Spot on - replicating Buckfast (or any bee genetics) are a bit of a lottery with open mating ... if there are any other colonies contributing to the drone population in the DCA then you will get whatever is the drones the queen chooses. Plus .. queens will not knowingly or willingly mate with their offspring .. so you could pick up some really regressive genes by encouraging your drones to mate with their mothers ...
Mothers? Mate with offspring? Lost me on that one do you mean siblings?
 

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Over the next few months I'll be converting changing all colonies (5) to Buckfast - right now I have 2 Buckfast and 3 black. My 'thinking' was that going forward if I increase the Buckfast drone population any virgin queens will have a higher change of mating with Buckfast drones than otherwise.
Hi Richard, You would be better off separating the two, crossing is unreliable and while I disagree that they always turn spiteful sometimes you will lose the best traits from each one.

Breed either Buckfast or Blacks, increasing the drone population is a good idea to increase the mating chances of the virgins.

Caution trying to raise too many drones will result in poorly nourished drones firing blanks.

If you want to raise drone levels above what the hive would normally do you should add emerging brood frames from other hives, a belt and braces approach would be to add some nourishment supplement.
 

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