View Full Version : Pierco to 4.9mm

02-28-2005, 09:38 PM
I have some hives on all pierco (5.2mm) If I added 4.9mm foundation would they regress?

02-28-2005, 11:30 PM
I would take some time for them to regress. But eventually over the course of 2 to 5 years depending how you went about it. The best time to add the 4.9 is in the spring when bees do there best small cell drawing. Adding the foundations between frames of brood (not in the supers).


Joseph Clemens
04-11-2005, 10:16 PM
That's just what I did. I started doing it when all-wax small cell foundation was available (I horizontally wired it), later I began using plastic small cell foundation. It really didn't take more than most of a Summer. I believe it would have gone even more quickly if I had taken more time to switch sealed pierco brood for small cell foundation in a more timely manner. I only worked the bees about once per month then, now I hardly work them at all (too aggressive / Africanized now). I am planning to requeen -- Cordovan if I can find queens I can afford, that way I can more easily determine, positively if they are Africanized or not.

04-13-2005, 06:42 PM
where do you get small cell plastic foundation?

Joseph Clemens
04-13-2005, 11:08 PM
Dadant carries it:

Even though my bees were so agressive it was difficult to "work" them. I did get the chance to see some of their deep super size brood combs. It sure is beautiful and fascinating to see a full deep comb of small cell comb nearly 100% with sealed worker brood. After having observed the larger size worker comb for so many years, the difference is amazing.

Joseph Clemens
04-14-2005, 05:18 PM
Question: This idea of regression, does it include the idea that when given all-wax 4.9mm foundation that the bees will rework it to 5.1mm or something like that?

Joseph Clemens
04-14-2005, 07:31 PM
Forum leader, please delete this post. Thank you.

04-14-2005, 08:23 PM

Yes, when regressing bees to SC, during the first step they usually draw 4.9 foundation at 5.1 or so. The bees that emerge from the 5.1 cells will usually draw out 4.9 foundation at 4.9 or so. In the brood nest.

Michael Bush has some good posts on this topic, so you might try a search on his name and small cell, or even starter strips.

This is based on all of the reading I've done. I'll be regressing my packages, when get them. I'm hoping this weekend.


Joseph Clemens
04-14-2005, 10:10 PM
I'm somewhat mystified now. My bees were all on Pierco foundation before I began to "regress" them to 4.9mm. I first started swapping out combs of sealed brood for 4.9mm all-wax. Most of my colonies are in all medium depth supers, so I would cut one full sheet of 4.9mm foundation in half, wax it into the top groove, electrically embed two horizontal wires. This would leave a small space between where the foundation ended and the grooved or solid bottom bars began. My bees drew all the foundation to 4.9mm, but they built drone cells in the empty space below the foundation, and yet they never connected the bottoms of the combs to the bottom bars which I would rather they had. Then once 4.9mm plastic foundation was available I used it for a few deep supers and then cut them to fit medium frames with the leftovers to be used later as starter strips in Top Bar Hives. Since I only intended to switch over the majority of the combs in brood nest supers, but not all, this "regression" has not been any trouble at all. All 4.9mm foundation has been drawn to size, first time around. All I can offer as possible explanation is that most likely many of my bees are Africanized. Perhaps this makes them more amenable to "regression"?

04-15-2005, 07:47 AM

Since I haven't done this yet I can't tell guess as to why it worked for you. It may have something to do with the Pierco foundation.

Michael Bush is the man to ask. I hope he picks up on this thread.

Reading the articles by the Lusbys I seem to remember they constantly took out any brood comb that was more than 10% drone comb.

Sorry I can't help more than this.


Michael Bush
04-15-2005, 08:42 AM
Yours were on Pierco and Peirco deep frames are 5.25mm. That's pretty much a first regression or at least a half of a first regression. smile.gif Most foundation is 5.4 or 5.45mm. My guess is that was what simplyfied it for you.

When using half of a deep with a gap, the gap is there so the bees CAN build drone comb. They should have at least 10% of the comb in the brood nest drone comb.

There are often comments how the Lusby's cull drone comb. But they leave a gap at the bottom of their foundation to encourage drone comb and then cull back to a target amount (not just a minimum or maximum) of 10% drone in the brood nest.

The bees sometimed don't connect the comb at the bottom at first. Sometimes they do right off. Eventually they usually do connect it.

Joseph Clemens
04-15-2005, 09:03 PM
Thanks for the additional information, it certainly helps complete the picture.

Having the drone comb at the bottom of each frame is just something I'm going to need to get used to the appearance of.

I am a little anxious for them to get the combs connected at the bottom of the frames, helps strengthen the all-wax ones which can get quite soft in the heat of the day.

04-15-2005, 09:40 PM
Thanks Michael!


Michael Bush
04-16-2005, 08:29 AM
Once the combs are attched on the end bars they are pretty strong. During that period where there is just an upside down arch of hanging, soft, new, full comb, you have to be very careful.

04-16-2005, 10:37 AM
So then do you use 4.9 thruout the hive (even in the honey supers)? It would seem like you must, since when they regress that is what they draw out, but is that a problem for honey extraction?

04-17-2005, 02:12 AM
Does anybody know whether Pierco will be offering the full frames in 4.9 anytime in the future?

Michael Bush
04-17-2005, 09:42 AM
>So then do you use 4.9 thruout the hive (even in the honey supers)?

I would. Especially since I don't use an excluder.

>It would seem like you must, since when they regress that is what they draw out, but is that a problem for honey extraction?

Some nectar sources provide honey so thick that even on LC comb you can't get it to extract. I've never had a problem, but if you want to use an excluder you can use drone foundation in the supers and it really extracts easily and, in theory at least, takes less wax to build the comb.

>Does anybody know whether Pierco will be offering the full frames in 4.9 anytime in the future?

I hve never heard of any plans for that. There is a company that says they will have 4.9mm fully drawn plastic comb: