Beemaster's International Beekeeping Forum

BEEKEEPING LEARNING CENTER => NATURAL & ORGANIC BEEKEEPING METHODS => Topic started by: Fox Creek on October 08, 2012, 12:43:56 am

Title: Why not try small cell?
Post by: Fox Creek on October 08, 2012, 12:43:56 am
  I'm new to beekeeping and I would like to share some thoughts.  The first beekeeping book I read was "The Backyard Beekeeper." I found this to be very informative and decided to try my hand. I ordered four hives from Mann Lake. I contacted Olivarez's Bees in Orland Ca. and reserved four packages.
  While waiting for April to arrive I read "The Idiot's Guide to Beekeeping". Not knowing anything about beekeeping I decided to send for the pf100 and pf120 small cell frames from Mann Lake.
  I started my beekeeping using small cell and no chemicals. My Carniolan bees had no problem building comb on the small cell and the foundationless frames I inserted between built comb frames.
  As of now I have never seen a mite. My hives seems to be doing very well going into winter.
  I have also bought and read, "The Practical Beekeeper" by Michael Bush. I have to say, I'm a believer in natural, no chemical, small cell beekeeping.
  I do not understand why one would resist using the small cell.   
   
Title: Re: Why not try small cell?
Post by: Jim 134 on October 08, 2012, 01:36:40 am
IMHO
http://www.ent.uga.edu/bees/documents/m08138.pdf (http://www.ent.uga.edu/bees/documents/m08138.pdf)


     BEE HAPPY Jim 134 :)
Title: Re: Why not try small cell?
Post by: Fox Creek on October 08, 2012, 03:33:40 am
Thank you Jim. I read this report awhile back. The debate rages on! As a new beekeeper I decided it would harm nothing to go small cell. So far so good. I guess I will find out. 
Title: Re: Why not try small cell?
Post by: Michael Bush on October 18, 2012, 04:04:04 pm
After a decade of no Varroa issues at all, I won't go back to large cell...
Title: Re: Why not try small cell?
Post by: BjornBee on October 19, 2012, 08:00:59 am
 I'm new to beekeeping and I would like to share some thoughts.  The first beekeeping book I read was "The Backyard Beekeeper." I found this to be very informative and decided to try my hand. I ordered four hives from Mann Lake. I contacted Olivarez's Bees in Orland Ca. and reserved four packages.
  While waiting for April to arrive I read "The Idiot's Guide to Beekeeping". Not knowing anything about beekeeping I decided to send for the pf100 and pf120 small cell frames from Mann Lake.
  I started my beekeeping using small cell and no chemicals. My Carniolan bees had no problem building comb on the small cell and the foundationless frames I inserted between built comb frames.
  As of now I have never seen a mite. My hives seems to be doing very well going into winter.
  I have also bought and read, "The Practical Beekeeper" by Michael Bush. I have to say, I'm a believer in natural, no chemical, small cell beekeeping.
  I do not understand why one would resist using the small cell.  
  


You are gold to those that promote small cell.

Had bees not even one year, and you are a believer in small cell. Great job!

As there are always the next wave of beekeeper coming on board and taking this same position, yes you are right, the battle rages on.

I know many beekeepers who once thought the same way as you. I suggest, before being an advocate for small cell and claiming to be a believer, a bit more time may be required. Even the hardest of die-hard small cell supporters say that regression and getting to the correct genetics, is a several year process. Of course no need for that promotion any more when the new smallcell crowd claims smallcell success with less than a year of beekeeping experience.

Give it some time.  ;) You state you have never seen a mite yet claim smallcell is a success after one summer. I'm surprised even smallcell folks can stand by and seemingly say nothing about that.

Your bees were probably treated prior to getting them. And it is common to have first year hives with little or no mite problems. It hardly can be translated into claiming smallcell success.

Good luck.
Title: Re: Why not try small cell?
Post by: VolunteerK9 on October 19, 2012, 10:14:40 am
For a little light reading:

http://www.ent.uga.edu/bees/personnel/documents/Berry1109.pdf (http://www.ent.uga.edu/bees/personnel/documents/Berry1109.pdf)

I've got SC hives, but they had to be treated for mites with all the rest for the past two years.
Title: Re: Why not try small cell?
Post by: D Semple on October 19, 2012, 11:01:51 am
I believe the biggest part of success is having a plan and executing that plan.

If you are a beginning beekeeper, you better follow somebodies else plan and not pick and choose the parts you do and don't like till you know what you are doing and can decide for yourself.

If you choose to be treatment free, by all means follow their plan exactly.


To many spoons in the pot ruins the soup regards

Don
Title: Re: Why not try small cell?
Post by: kathyp on October 19, 2012, 11:25:56 am
i agree with above.  my two biggest problems with small cell and "natural", is that 1. small cell foundation tends to be more expensive.  certainly more than my foundationless costs...which is far more natural. (+ i'm cheap!)  and 2. the natural thing tends to be a religion with some people. 

it's right up there with the natural childbirth craze...which didn't last long for a reason  :evil:

no harm in trying a thing, but do it with open eyes.  if you go small cell and think you are not going to have a mite problem, you will probably be disappointed.  if you do it and you are willing to deal with mites, you'll probably be ok.
Title: Re: Why not try small cell?
Post by: deknow on October 19, 2012, 11:30:08 am
You are gold to those that promote small cell.
gold?  how does that work?  most of us that "promote small cell" are simply sharing what is working for us.  I'm not sure why that is a problem, or how we are supposed to profit from that...where does the gold come from?

Quote
Had bees not even one year, and you are a believer in small cell. Great job!
Generally, people have opinions about things before they try them...are new beekeepers required to have have no opinion about beekeeping?  The poster is hardly claiming expertise and experience...I'm not sure why it's worth jumping down someone's throat for sharing.

Quote
...Even the hardest of die-hard small cell supporters say that regression and getting to the correct genetics, is a several year process.
...it would be hard to read our book and Michael's book (as the poster claims to have done) and not realize that.  It's also worth noting that the poster used cheap pf-100 series frames to start his packages on and to regress at the same time.  What did it cost? (not much more than any cheap plastic frame or wooden frame with foundation).  What is the downside? (perhaps harder to spin honey out of smaller cells....anything else?).

The poster isn't any more enthusiastic than any first year beekeeper who is excited about the things they are doing...should we chastise every new beekeeper who talks about how excited they are and tell them they don't know enough yet to share their excitement about being a beekeeper?  Why not?

Quote
Of course no need for that promotion any more when the new smallcell crowd claims smallcell success with less than a year of beekeeping experience.
...guess you must be looking for an argument, seeing as the poster didn't claim success.  The poster claimed that the bees built out the PF frames and foundationless frames well.

Quote
Your bees were probably treated prior to getting them. And it is common to have first year hives with little or no mite problems. It hardly can be translated into claiming smallcell success.
....and it hasn't been.

deknow
Title: Re: Why not try small cell?
Post by: deknow on October 19, 2012, 11:42:30 am
sorry...duplicate post...operator error
Title: Re: Why not try small cell?
Post by: deknow on October 19, 2012, 01:56:11 pm
For a little light reading:

http://www.ent.uga.edu/bees/personnel/documents/Berry1109.pdf (http://www.ent.uga.edu/bees/personnel/documents/Berry1109.pdf)
.....light reading if you just read the abstract and the conclusions.  It's difficult to determine what such a study disproves, given that no one who "promotes small cell" would expect any positive results from the protocol used.

For instance, I could claim that I can drive safely on the highway at 55mph.  I would also claim that good visibility is important.

Someone could challenge my claim that I can drive safely on the highway at 55mph....they could ignore my claim that good visibility is important, and they could ignore all the other aspects of my driving habits.  They could then claim that it is impossible to drive safely at 55mph, and "prove it" by crashing the car driving in reverse, with a television on, while they are deep frying mozzarella sticks on the dashboard.

As Bjorn points out, not all claims should be given equal weight.  No one with experience and/or credibility has claimed that no matter what else your practices are, that using small cell comb will help you with mites.  Why would researchers not design a more useful experiment that would actually test the claims made by the most experienced and credible "promoters of small cell"...the claims that motivate the investigations in the first place?

deknow
Title: Re: Why not try small cell?
Post by: BjornBee on October 19, 2012, 02:05:43 pm
You can break it down word for word if you like. I guess you don't understand that when a kid hits a clutch basket time and time again, and you say something like "That kid is MONEY!" is has nothing to with actual currency. But I guess if I need to explain that one, you missed the "gold comment also.

I question anyone who says they are a true believer of anything after less than a year and is willing to question why anyone else would resist it.

I'm not jumping down anyone's throat. But I do question anyone (you) willing to take a stand on someone questioning success when not one winter or full year has been completed.

I'm reminding the casual reader of this forum that success, and the promotion of anything, in such a short period of time, is questionable.

I'm not upset. I would expect nothing less from a person who promotes smallcell. And I understand that some beekeepers debunks research accomplished on a longer time frame than the OP. I know you did it through the backdoor approach, but planting the seed that enough research has not been done is questionable, especially after you seemingly back up a first time person who "Is a Believer" after such a short period of time.

I remember years ago when I first reported my less than success with smallcell. It was because I didn't do it for three years as I was told. It was for all kinds of reasons. And that is the way it goes. There is always excuses for those saying anything bad about smallcell, but when a person touts success of not finding one mite after a few months of smallcell use, and claims to be a "believer" while questioning why anyone would resists smallcell, is given a free pass.

Shame for even suggesting that this is a good idea. It should send red flags to anyone even listening to those that promote smallcell on such poor criteria.

Title: Re: Why not try small cell?
Post by: Fox Creek on October 20, 2012, 06:19:39 am
   Well, I was happy to see I had some responce to my post. Some were helpful and some had advise. Mr. Six Stars ripped into my post like a monkey on a cupcake! At first I thought, "Oh what a fool I am!" Then I realized maybe the poster was a little harsh. Maybe He misrepresented my post. I could hear ax grinding.
    I'm new to beekeeping and made this clear. I have read many beekeeping books. This only means I have knowledge, not experience. I chose to follow the advise given in "The Idiots Guide and Practical Beekeeper." Why? It only made sense. If you start with large cell, you invite the pitfalls I read about. So, as my post stated, Why not try small cell ! What does it harm? The bees built comb just fine. Did I just get lucky? Maybe. As for the mites, I stated, "as of yet", not Never will!
    By the way. If your going to quote me, be accurate and complete. I did not claim success. You quoted me, "the debate rages on!", then ignored the rest of the paragraph where I stated, " So far so good, I guess I will find out!"    
Title: Re: Why not try small cell?
Post by: Sunnyboy2 on October 20, 2012, 11:37:34 am
As I understand the small cell theory, advocates believe it may help with mites because 1) leads to smaller bees which are harder for mites to stay attached, 2) less room for mite to reproduce in cell.  Any other beliefs on why small cell may help with mite problem?  (Or have I missed the point already?)
As I read the first post, I did not take it as claim of proof about small cell defeating mite. I did take it as antidote to ask the more experienced beeks, "do some of you see a Benifit to using more traditional, larger size cell foundation?"  Do some out there see a down side to small cell?

The post was far from a new beek presuming to teach you experienced folk a thing or to, it was an thread to be taught, to gather opinions about the pros and cons of different cell size.  "Why not small cell"

For me, that is a great question.  I have learned a great deal reading conversations on this site, some going back years. 

So I echo the question, why not small cell?  What are pros and cons?  Why might traditional cell be better.

PS.  We can't be thin skinned.  I personally think a bit of sarcasm can add needed passion to the debate.  But we also need to be sure to not discourage discussion.
Title: Re: Why not try small cell?
Post by: Sunnyboy2 on October 20, 2012, 11:41:34 am
Also.

Great articals, thanks for posting.
Title: Re: Why not try small cell?
Post by: Jim 134 on October 20, 2012, 12:22:54 pm
Do not most of the mites reproduce in cell drone cells :roll:
How small are the drone cells in a small cell hive ??? in millimeters ???




    BEE HAPPY Jim 134 :)
Title: Re: Why not try small cell?
Post by: Bee Curious on October 20, 2012, 02:10:06 pm
Welcome to the world of passionate beekeepers, Fox Creek.   Don't take anything too personally--we all have our strong opinions here, but there's a wealth of knowledge and experience to learn from. Keep enjoying your bees and keep your ears open for information.
Title: Re: Why not try small cell?
Post by: bbrowncods on October 20, 2012, 03:35:16 pm
If genetics is one of the keys that will eventually allow the bee to overcome the V mite, then wouldn't it be ironic if its natural cell size is one of the traits that it uses to do so?
But please don't let my experience overly influence anyone.
Title: Re: Why not try small cell?
Post by: kathyp on October 20, 2012, 05:01:51 pm
one thing about foundation of any kind is that the bees need to make drones.  some years, they make LOTS of drones.  one of the reasons i like foundationless (besides the being cheap thing) is that they can use whatever space they want for drone cells.  it does seem to cut down on burr comb which i think i nice.

i know this isn't really related to the small cell question....but just an observation that if you really want to do something natural, there is nothing natural about any kind of foundation.

to the question "why not small cell?", there is no reason not to do it.  do what you want, and keep what you like.  i only warn that research does not back the small cell reduces mites thing, and if you think that it will, you will most likely be disappointed.  if you think that it will reduce your mite load and you do not pay attention, you may well lose your bees.
Title: Re: Why not try small cell?
Post by: Vance G on October 20, 2012, 07:59:47 pm
I bought the mann lake plastic 4.9 mm frames and put nucs on them that were very clean of mites.  I kept looking as they moved off the 5.4  and in the second year having been on the 4.9 mm frames, I found a whopping number of mites.  That is not a scientific study, it is my observation.  I treated with apiguard to knock it down.  This does not make me angry at 4.9 which I got cheaper than I could put together a wood frame with any foundation.  The bees after being habituated to them draw them as well as any foundation and I have tried several over the years.  It costs me nothing to have tried the small cell if I decide later there are no benefits culturally.  They are good servicable frames so I can't understand the vitriol.  Eat some prunes out there for God sakes!  It will change your outlook.
Title: Re: Why not try small cell?
Post by: specialkayme on October 21, 2012, 05:59:12 pm
Why not try small cell? Because I'm not convinced it makes a difference. Every study that I've read on the topic either states that the results are inconclusive, or that small cell has no effect on varroa reproductivity. One study I've read actually states the opposite.

The theories as to why small cell works are nice, but they are just that. Theories. Without proof that it works, I'm not interested in switching just yet. If evidence presents itself that it does work, I'll be interested in switching.

I went foundationless for approximately 5 years. In the end my hives crashed due to varroa (among other things) and I was left with 0 hives. My cell sizes varied, but were larger than they were "supposed" to be. I guess no one told my bees. If foundationless didn't work, I don't have much confidence small cell will work.

Every success story I've heard regarding small cell can not be duplicated. Those that it works for don't even know why, or how, it works. They just blindly go on believing it works when the studies say otherwise. That's fine for them, but don't impose it on me. Similar thought processes worked for the Greeks and their system of gods. Blind faith. I think I'll pass.

But why not use small cell? If you are going to be purchasing foundation, why not have it be small cell? Small cell foundation is harder to find, and usually more expensive. Usually the same with pre-built frames with plastic foundation. So there is a greater cost involved. But even if we can get it for the same price, if it isn't working, why do it? If we don't know if it works or not, why do it? I have one hive that has less mites on it because I let fruit rot on top of the cover. Why not throw rotting fruit on all my covers? Because I'm not convinced it matters.
Title: Re: Why not try small cell?
Post by: Michael Bush on October 22, 2012, 09:19:46 pm
> 1) leads to smaller bees which are harder for mites to stay attached

I have never heard that one.

> 2) less room for mite to reproduce in cell. 

There have actually been some studies on that one.
http://www.apidologie.org/index.php?option=com_article&access=doi&doi=10.1051/apido:2001007&Itemid=129 (http://www.apidologie.org/index.php?option=com_article&access=doi&doi=10.1051/apido:2001007&Itemid=129)

>Any other beliefs on why small cell may help with mite problem?  (Or have I missed the point already?)

Pre and post capping times would seem the most logical (one day less of each) considering the life cycle of the Varroa.  Another would be the psuedo drone theory proposed by Dee Lusby, which is that on natural cell size the Varroa do not tend to reproduce in worker cells, preferring drones, but on large cell they mistake the large cell workers for drone cells.  There are also observations of more biting of mites and more chewing out of brood on small cell.
Title: Re: Why not try small cell?
Post by: specialkayme on October 22, 2012, 10:30:22 pm
There are also observations of more biting of mites and more chewing out of brood on small cell.


I haven't heard of those observations.

According to Marla Spivak, chewing or biting of mites is a hereditary trait. Much like VSH. I don't think having bees on small cell could promote any type of genetic trait any faster than having bees on any other type of cell size. It would be the equivalent to say those bees on small cell are more "cordovan" than those that are not. The cell size doesn't determine the bees genetic makeup. I would think any observations showing a correlation between chewing and biting on the one hand and cell size on the other are just a coincidental observation.

But hey. I'd love to be wrong :)

Speaking of, why isn't anyone selecting for a gene that promotes grooming? Or chewing?
Title: Re: Why not try small cell?
Post by: Chrisd4421 on October 22, 2012, 11:17:06 pm
For me, I go foundationless to allow the bees to do what they do best.  They have been doing it for thousands and thousands of years without our intervention.  As with any life cycle, there will be good times, bad times and allowing nature to rule, the strong will survive.  I feel honored to be able to witness their ecosystem and in return, I try to intervene as little as possible.

Small, large, natural  cell size? I need to ask my bees.

Chris in nj
Title: Re: Why not try small cell?
Post by: Fox Creek on October 23, 2012, 11:25:23 pm
    Thank you all who responded to my Question, "why not try small cell". Some large cell beekeepers have tried the small cell and had little or no improvement. There are studies showing small cell show no improvement. Then there are those who insist success with small cell. (I have seen the Nebraska inspection sheets showing 0 mite problems over a period of several years at M. Bush's website.) I do not think those who support small cell are being misleading in the least. It has worked for them! So far so good for me.
    If I was starting out new again, I would still go small cell as I see no downside. Starting large cell seems to be counter productive.

    p.s.  I agree, getting to the point where most of our frames are foundationless would be best.   
   
Title: Re: Why not try small cell?
Post by: kathyp on October 23, 2012, 11:49:12 pm
if i may make a point about MB's mite counts...and not at all to put down anything he says or does...lord knows i have gone to his site for answers lots of times....but he, and some others, do many  things other than small cell .  breeding for mite and disease resistant bees is probably more the reason for success than the size of the cell used.
Title: Re: Why not try small cell?
Post by: Fox Creek on October 23, 2012, 11:54:14 pm
Thank you Kathyp. I will keep this in mind and continue to learn from you and other experienced beekeepers! I have soooo much to learn!
Title: Re: Why not try small cell?
Post by: Michael Bush on October 28, 2012, 09:03:16 am
>but he, and some others, do many  things other than small cell .  breeding for mite and disease resistant bees is probably more the reason for success than the size of the cell used.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beessctheories.htm (http://www.bushfarms.com/beessctheories.htm)
Title: Re: Why not try small cell?
Post by: T Beek on November 15, 2012, 09:32:20 am
For me, I go foundationless to allow the bees to do what they do best.  They have been doing it for thousands and thousands of years without our intervention.  As with any life cycle, there will be good times, bad times and allowing nature to rule, the strong will survive.  I feel honored to be able to witness their ecosystem and in return, I try to intervene as little as possible.

Small, large, natural  cell size? I need to ask my bees.

Chris in nj

Excellent!!

Just go foundationless and WATCH your bees decide  8-)
Title: Re: Why not try small cell?
Post by: Fox Creek on March 20, 2014, 11:35:58 pm
    Three years in. Never a large cell frame in my bee yard. Small cell only. During the second year I added a few foundationless frames per hive. Not sure I like them. My bees have found other ways to raise drones. So,how are my hives   doing? Comb? Mites?
    Well, I have to say, last fall, as I was preparing my hives for the winter, I saw a mite on the back of a drone. This drone was outside, on top of a hive. All the warnings I have received here or read about elsewhere raced through my brain.   I went through every frame of every hive looking for more varroa. I could not find another. I closed up my hives, leaving plenty of honey to get them through the winter.
    I started winter with six hives. This spring I discovered I lost two, to starvation. Clusters of bees in the center of frames with honey inches away. Strange because we did not have a very harsh winter.
    As I went through my hives frame by frame, I looked closely for mites. Expecting the worse. Not one! No wing deformities either.
    Of my remaining hives, two are thriving (added boxes already), two are about average.
    So now after three years, no problems building comb on small cell, no mite problems.
   
    I still keep my fingers crossed!
Title: Re: Why not try small cell?
Post by: hjon71 on March 21, 2014, 02:11:01 am
Good update.
As a new beek, I appreciate any info I can get and first hand experiences like this are IMO invaluable.
Title: Re: Why not try small cell?
Post by: T Beek on March 21, 2014, 08:41:22 am
A magnifier will tell us 'for sure' whether varroa is in our hives………all colonies have some……those little brown dots (smaller than a pin head) found on the bottom boards of Beekeepers around the country are very likely varroa. 

Look close and use it as an educational opportunity to conduct a thorough investigation of any 'dead out' colony found.  Learning and beekeeping (life?) go hand in hand…..and doesn't end until we die.
Title: Re:
Post by: Brother Dave on April 02, 2014, 04:45:13 pm
I am in my third year as a beek I have three hives and no foundation. The bees seem healthy. No deadouts or queen failures this spring. My beekeeping friends that are using foundation don't have straighter combs. I am happy with foundationless fraimes. I won't go back.

Sent from my SM-T210R using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Why not try small cell?
Post by: Fox Creek on July 10, 2015, 10:26:00 pm
.
Title: Re: Why not try small cell?
Post by: Eric Bosworth on July 11, 2015, 07:44:53 am
Is that an ASCII art picture of a mite?
Title: Re: Why not try small cell?
Post by: ed/La. on August 15, 2015, 10:58:34 pm
No expert here but the cells get smaller with every batch of brood.  smaller cells due to cocoon build up
Title: Re: Why not try small cell?
Post by: OldMech on August 16, 2015, 12:32:28 am

Every success story I've heard regarding small cell can not be duplicated. Those that it works for don't even know why, or how, it works. They just blindly go on believing it works when the studies say otherwise. That's fine for them, but don't impose it on me. Similar thought processes worked for the Greeks and their system of gods. Blind faith. I think I'll pass.

But why not use small cell? If you are going to be purchasing foundation, why not have it be small cell? Small cell foundation is harder to find, and usually more expensive. Usually the same with pre-built frames with plastic foundation. So there is a greater cost involved. But even if we can get it for the same price, if it isn't working, why do it? If we don't know if it works or not, why do it? I have one hive that has less mites on it because I let fruit rot on top of the cover. Why not throw rotting fruit on all my covers? Because I'm not convinced it matters.


why not have it be small cell? Small cell foundation is harder to find, and usually more expensive.


      It is? The PF120's I got from Mann Lake were under $2.00 each when I ordered 300 of them a couple years ago. No assembly required. So it was cheaper and less labor intensive.

   Natural or small cell does not HURT, it is the same cost, so why not try it?  If you are already established on large cell it takes a couple generations to get the bees to draw small cell without messing up or ignoring the small cell foundation and drawing what they want over top of it.... Letting them make/draw foundation less will get them starting down the right path. It was pretty simple to regress my bees...   In a couple of situations I needed foundation, and all I had with me was the small cell frames.. installed them, forgot about them, and found them well drawn when I did find them again.
   I do NOT claim small cell makes a difference, but I do say it does not HURT the situation.   
   I use a LOT of foundation less, and my bees typically draw out the equivalent of two frames of drone brood. Some bees a half a frame more, some bees half a frame less.. I love it. When i need to check for mites I decap the drone brood and count the mites in each cell, then average them all out to see if I need to treat.
   The bees I have with better resistances seem to do better with small and natural cell. The generic bees I "had" it did not seem to matter one whit if I had them on small cell or large cell..   
   I dont own bees with no resistance any more. I personally feel it is irresponsible of me to buy generic bees. Irresponsible to my neighbors, and the feral colonies nearby.  I refuse to send out generic drones that will undermine any possible resistance that has started, in my bees, the neighbors bees or the feral bee colonies.  It is as bad or worse than keeping MEAN bees.
Title: Re: Why not try small cell?
Post by: Michael Bush on August 17, 2015, 05:03:14 pm
>No expert here but the cells get smaller with every batch of brood.  smaller cells due to cocoon build up.

To a point.  When the size falls below their natural threshold the bees chew out the cocoons.  See Grout's research on the topic or, even further back, Huber's.  Of course with large cell foundation that may be a lot of cocoons and they will seem really small... like small cell bees.  But it takes decades for that to happen.  In my experience all your bees will have died from Varroa many times over before you get them regressed by just using the same large cell comb over a long period of time...
Title: Re: Why not try small cell?
Post by: Eric Bosworth on August 17, 2015, 09:28:14 pm
I still say foundation is pointless. It costs money that quite honestly I don't have. It is not the same size the bees build on there own and last but not least its a lot of work. Bees lived for thousands of years without foundation. Why not let them continue what works for them?
Title: Re: Why not try small cell?
Post by: AR Beekeeper on August 19, 2015, 04:57:31 pm
One problem I see with small cell, and natural cell, is the hype that says the only way to have bees that are resistant to varroa and the viruses that they carry is by using the "magic cell formula."  I have bees that have not received any treatments for 9 years, they build up and swarm if I am not watchful, they produce the average surplus crop, and they do it while being on the dreaded big cell foundation.  The cell size has nothing to do with bees developing resistance, it is all about the bee.
Title: Re: Why not try small cell?
Post by: Michael Bush on August 19, 2015, 05:30:30 pm
>The cell size has nothing to do with bees developing resistance, it is all about the bee.

I think the bees are building resistance in other ways over time, but that was not my experience.  On large cell with no treatments they all died.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beessctheories.htm

Seeley's latest research points towards the resistant ferals being smaller...  interesting...
Title: Re: Why not try small cell?
Post by: Jim 134 on August 21, 2015, 08:56:46 pm

Seeley's latest research points towards the resistant ferals being smaller...  interesting...


If you have ever been to Tom Seeley's seminars you will notice he does not focus on one thing why bees makes it in the wild.


           BEE HAPPY Jim 134 :)
Title: Re: Why not try small cell?
Post by: little john on August 28, 2015, 03:55:40 pm
Bees lived for thousands of years without foundation. Why not let them continue what works for them?

Because human beings are clever. They are always seeking to gain More and More from Less and Less - this paradigm being termed 'efficiency', which is considered by them to be a good thing.
 
And so we have bigger cells, bigger bees, bigger queens, bigger colonies, more and more honey, more and more money. It's always about "More and More" - always.

Unfortunately, although clever, human beings are sadly lacking in wisdom. Nature has established the 'norms' - in terms of cell size, colony size, and so on - over millions of years. These work, and have proven sustainable over that extended time-scale.

But we modern humans think we can improve on this. 'Improvement' meaning "More and More" of course, rather than staying with what has been proven to work over countless millennia.

The skeppists of the Middle Ages used to cull both their weakest, AND their strongest colonies - intuitively recognising that average performances are the one's to nurture for the long-term, not those which out-perform the others, for I presume they suspected that this increase in performance would have a hidden price-tag attached.

Selecting for the average, and not for the 'best' (undefined) - I wonder if such a reversal in thinking could ever be embraced ?

LJ
Title: Re: Why not try small cell?
Post by: Eric Bosworth on August 29, 2015, 09:28:43 pm
I don't think I would cull out any. Natural selection will take care of that over winter on its own. But I do agree with the premise.
Title: Re: Why not try small cell?
Post by: KeyLargoBees on September 17, 2015, 10:38:24 pm
So riddle me this....if you allow a package or swarm of bees to build foundation-less will they regress to small cell over time or will the genetics of the bees dictate  the cell size?
Title: Re: Why not try small cell?
Post by: OldMech on September 18, 2015, 11:32:34 am
I have never had bees on natural foundation that did not regress given time.
   When you give them foundation less frames, they will build slightly smaller cells in the center of those frames. The problem then lies in the fact that you then USE those frames for three to five years, so thats where they stay. If you do not mind wasting wax, time and effort, both yours and the bees, the following year you can swap them onto new frames again, and you will find that they build even smaller cells near the center of each comb..  The cells will get a little larger as they go outward to the edges, but will usually not be as large as standard foundation, with the exception of the drone comb.
Title: Re: Why not try small cell?
Post by: sawdstmakr on September 18, 2015, 01:08:11 pm
What OldMech said.
The reason for this is that if you have large bees trying to build small cells. They do not build them any smaller than what they can get into to work and feed the larvae. So the first generation is a little bit smaller than the last because if they are well fed larvae, to a certain extent, they will grow to fill the cell.
We are trying to get small bees because small bees take less time to develop which helps to minimize the mite development. The original mite host was bees from Asia where they could only develop on the drones because of the longer development time.
Jim
Title: Re: Why not try small cell?
Post by: Michael Bush on September 21, 2015, 10:51:16 am
>So riddle me this....if you allow a package or swarm of bees to build foundation-less will they regress to small cell over time or will the genetics of the bees dictate  the cell size?

Sort of.  It's not so much TIME as turnovers of comb.  In a few turnovers of comb, yes they will get back to natural size.  In one turnover of comb and 20 years to accumulate cocoons, they will also regress... but that's a lot of time.
Title: Re: Why not try small cell?
Post by: deknow on September 21, 2015, 11:54:01 am
If you have ever been to Tom Seeley's seminars you will notice he does not focus on one thing why bees makes it in the wild.

Jim, in this case, Seeley isn't the lead author....but this new study looking at how the bees from the Arnot forest have adapted to mites is interesting....it points towards bottleneckING of the population rather than an influx of resistance....and (even though seeley has done a rather poor study dismissing small cell as being ineffective), they note quite directly that in adaptimg to the mites, these feral bees got smaller.
Title: Re: Why not try small cell?
Post by: Eric Bosworth on September 22, 2015, 08:57:28 pm
>So riddle me this....if you allow a package or swarm of bees to build foundation-less will they regress to small cell over time or will the genetics of the bees dictate  the cell size?

Sort of.  It's not so much TIME as turnovers of comb.  In a few turnovers of comb, yes they will get back to natural size.  In one turnover of comb and 20 years to accumulate cocoons, they will also regress... but that's a lot of time.
That is why I like to continuously expand the brood nest. It also helps the bees fill horizontal hives.
Title: Re: Why not try small cell?
Post by: Duane on September 23, 2015, 07:26:48 pm
We are trying to get small bees because small bees take less time to develop which
It just occurred to me that with smaller cells, not only do you fit more brood in a given area, but shaving a day or two off each cycle results in more bees.  In a 21 brood cycle time frame, you'd have an extra one.  Not much in a season, but still...

I'm just thinking that back when the one who thought bigger bees was an advantage did not think through it well.  I would rather have two bees rather than one slightly larger bee.

And from what I've read, it's not small or large cell, it's "natural" cell rather than fixed cell.  I think some are not making that distinction in "proving" or "disproving" anything.

In the fall, I've come across where animals have torn out yellow jacket nests.  (Some right near where I walked that summer!)  I noticed they had a variety of varying cell sizes.  While hard to put the tore up nest in the exact order, I did not see anything to hint at a progressive seasonal pattern.  I can't help thinking there's a reason the wasps and bees have for different cell sizes.  We may not know them, but what we don't know could be hurting our bees. 

With the assumption that they use different cell sizes for different reasons or times, then it may follow that adding one or two empty frames in the middle may not be all that good.  It could upset the nest.  As I've read before, it may be better to start a whole box at a time.
Title: Re: Why not try small cell?
Post by: Michael Bush on September 24, 2015, 01:18:44 pm
>It just occurred to me that with smaller cells, not only do you fit more brood in a given area, but shaving a day or two off each cycle results in more bees.  In a 21 brood cycle time frame, you'd have an extra one.  Not much in a season, but still...

Let's do the math.  Assuming that a given number of bees can keep one box warm regardless of the number of frames (which would be consistent with my observation) then one eight frame medium box of eight large cell combs (4620 cells per frame) would be 36,960 cells which will emerge in 21 days making it about 1760 per day.  An eight frame medium box with narrow frames (9 frames) and small cell (5544 per frame) would be 49,896 cells which will emerge in 18 to 19 days making it 2772 per day.
Title: Re: Why not try small cell?
Post by: Arnie on September 24, 2015, 04:40:24 pm
I wonder how Fox Creek's bees are doing.

I have 2 hives out of 7 with small cell. Outside of the fact that they have been reluctant to draw out the comb, I see no difference. I will have to give them some time. Luckily, I have gotten a couple queens who appear to have some 'survivor' in them. I'll be raising daughters from them. Then I may take one of those off the OAV treatments and see how they do.

Title: Re: Why not try small cell?
Post by: Fox Creek on October 19, 2015, 10:19:58 pm
    After about 5 years I developed 12 hives. Last fall I collected about 40 pounds of honey per hive. I thought, cool, maybe I can start thinking of sales next year! Side note. ( it was about this time I began loosing feeling in both hands. Aching numbness. )  In the spring I had a visitor, ........... Nope, not mites. .... A three hundred pound black bear. I observed the Bear's second visit from my bee yard shed. About 10 at night. I allowed him to finish his business as I considered this my fault for not putting up an electrical fence. I did not want to shoot this beautiful animal.  Unfortunately the bear decided to make my property his home. My Cattle dog actually stood between the bear and myself one night. I was very proud of her! Anyway, the bear came to my window one night too many. My dog alerted me of the danger and I went outside with my 30-30. I left the dog inside. I find the bear about 70 feet from the house. Its pitch black however I have a flashlight. I can't feel the riffle in my hands nor the trigger. Barrel balanced on the flashlight I shoot the bear from about 90 feet. I know I hit him cause he turned completely around. I fired a second round and the bear spun around again. With each shot the bear kept coming towards me. I fired a third round with the same results. I thought, F this. I ran back up to the house, threw a mag into my m1a. I stepped back out side and found the bear standing on his hind legs. He was looking around, probably for me. He gave me the perfect shot. Even with the numb hands and balanced barrel on the flashlight. I fired one round hitting him in the heart. Face down, the end. Not a happy story. I did notify Fish and Game. They wanted pictures of the bee yard and the bear. Because of where I live they asked me if I could dispose of the bear and I agreed. I now have a perfect bear skull in my shed.
    I never had a mite problem. Never used chemicals of any kind. Small cell was a success for me. Yes, you can call me a believer! Two surgeries later and I still have numb hands. 2015 has not been a very good year for me. I remain optimistic.  Not sure if I will try to rebuild my bee yard.   
Title: Re: Why not try small cell?
Post by: Arnie on October 19, 2015, 11:34:04 pm
Sorry to hear of your troubles, Fox Creek.
I hope you can get the feeling back in your hands. Then maybe get some more bees. Good luck to you.
Thanks for the reply.
Title: Re: Why not try small cell?
Post by: Fox Creek on October 20, 2015, 09:30:12 am
    No problem Arnie, I loved the experience. Bee keeping was both fun and interesting. I have learned so much. I do miss having the bees around. I also enjoyed this forum. Good luck to you too!
Title: Re: Why not try small cell?
Post by: Dallasbeek on October 21, 2015, 12:29:40 am
Fox Creek, my wife is having some neuropathy, as well.  I really feel for you, brother.  Best of luck. 

Gary
Title: Re: Why not try small cell?
Post by: SiWolKe on January 01, 2019, 08:43:37 am
Here is a new report of a research done including the use of "small" and "big" cells.

https://brage.bibsys.no/xmlui/handle/11250/2565356

I used small cell foundation myself for 2 years. Started to introduce empty frames in 2016. There is no difference in cell size between the two, it?s mostly 4.8 to 5.2 in worker broodnest area.
The wax foundations are often changed to various cell size by the bees but some bees colonies built perfect small cell broodnests on the foundations. Depends on the seasonal changes. Just like on natural comb. I cut 15% drone corners on every foundation.

Bees are AMM, carniolans and elgon mutts.
Same with all races.

The average natural cell size in my climate and with my swedish stock ( now mixed)  is 5.1.

I have 33mm space between frames. I like the density of bee numbers and broodframes in my square dadant box because brood stays in one box, even without a queen excluder.
Much easier to work with one broodbox, In spring, when my mite infested treatment free bees come out of winter in small cluster they still build up to be strong with first main flow, wild cherries.
That because of the density and warmth.

What they say in the article about central europe is not true. Sure, more reinfestations. But when I was on the tf conference in Austria in spring 2018 I realized that we have many tf beekeepers who work hidden because of our laws. And we have 240 feral colonies observed which were found, which are never treated.

Today my opinion is that having ferals around, wild living honeybee colonies with survivor genetics are the clue. They spread the survivor genes. this can be done by beekeepers too, flooding the area with survivor colonies`s drones and breeding only from survivors or colonies which hold mites at bay, which means monitoring.