Capped Drone Comb and Other Mysteriousnesses of the Universe

Someone emailed me a couple questions like I’m some kind of beekeeper who knows stuff. I got lucky, though, because the questions were easy. Question #1: What does drone comb look like? Answer #1: It looks like this:


It also looks like this:

And this:

Capped drone cells are large and bullet shaped. Worker brood cells have flatter tops — I mean caps. These photos were taken from an old frame packed with drone comb that I pulled from one of our foundationless hives a while ago. That drone that looks like it’s emerging from its cell is actually dead. Fresh drone comb isn’t as dark, and most beekeepers using conventional frames with plastic foundation probably won’t see an endless field of drone comb on their frames like this.

Question #2: My queen doesn’t fill entire frames with eggs, only the middle part. Is that normal? Answer #2: Yes. I’m no expert, but it seems normal to me. What you’ve described is exactly the pattern I see on all of my brood frames. Here’s an example:

This photo was taken from a pulled frame of mostly emerged drone comb, but the brood pattern is the same for worker brood. A ring of capped honey on the top and sides, and then brood everywhere else with open cells of packed pollen (a.k.a. baby bee food) scattered here and there close to the brood cells. You can view another example from yesterday’s post, Honey Super Filling Up Slowly. The only time I’ve seen full frames of brood is in nucs, but my experience at this time is limited.

I think I’ve answered the two questions correctly. I’ll update this post if it turns out I’m wrong.

2 thoughts on “Capped Drone Comb and Other Mysteriousnesses of the Universe

  1. So what does normal brood look like vs. drone? You said it was flatter, which is the principle difference I see between drone and honey comb. Could you show off some non-drone brood?

  2. I provided a link to some regular brood comb in the post, but here it is again:

    Plus another shot:

    Update: And here’s some partially capped honey comb:

    And for good measure, here’s some drone comb again:

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