Special or Unusual Frames
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Steele and Brodie Drone Frame for Bee Hives

Drone frame for bee hives, originally designed and manufactured by the Steele and Brodie company, also manufactured by Apex Enterprises.

This is a twin panel frame with worker foundation in the top part and a void left in the bottom portion.

The idea is that mainly drone comb will be drawn in the vacant space at the bottom and then this can be cut out and destroyed as a means of drone sacrifice and varroa mite removal.

I tried some out in the Summer of 1994... The bees drew out the worker foundation as worker comb and filled the blank portion with mainly drone cells. So it worked OK as far as this, but I gauged that the number of drones (and thus entrapped mites) that were culled was not sufficient.

Many UK beekeepers just place a shallow frame in the side of the brood nest and then trim off the wild comb that is built on the bottom edge of this frame. This may remove a few more drones, but I am still sceptical that the numbers are insufficient to fulfil the objective of removing enough mites.

Drone comb is only likely to be drawn when bees wish to produce drones, if day length is decreasing in late summer, you can expect mainly worker sized cells to be drawn as the bees will require workers before they require more drones.

The components making up this device are:-

 1 28 mm wide topbar
238 mm wide Hoffman side bars having the reduced section 28 mm broad. Each with two 8 mm wide x 6 mm deep notches 139 mm from the top edge
4Manley style bottom bars

A piece of shallow worker foundation is fitted in the top window of the frame.

If the notches are made 134 mm from the top edge instead of 139 mm, then the bottom edge of the foundation protrudes slightly through the mid bars and provides a wax guide for the drawing of the drone comb.

  Steele and Brodie Drone Frame

Dave Cushman.

Page created 20/02/2002

Page updated 06/12/2022

 Originated... 20 February 2002, Upgraded... 13 September 2006,
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