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Thread: 4.9 mm cells

  1. #21
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Oklahoma City, OK


    Thanks guys for all the good discussion. There is a lot I am still learning, as well as some of the terminology. With the help of this board, I have picked up a lot of valuable information.

    I'll give it a try, and just see what happens.

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Florida, USA


    Hello Everyone,

    Bee's do know how much and what kind of cell is in a hive. S. Taber did an experiment where he inserted worker foundation in the center of the broodnest and kept rotating it outward as it was built. Initially he thought the bees would continue to build worker comb, but not so.

    After a certian point the bees would rework the foundation and build drone comb, even to the point of reworking already built worker comb into drone comb.

    I have had similiar experiences with queen rearing and small cell foundation. When the bees purpose is frustrated, eventually they find a way around the obstacle.

    My experience has been much the same as Barry's. My bees are quite happy to draw out about 6 or 7 frames of 4.9 in the brood nest and then switch to a larger cell size generally toward the exterior portions of the brood nest.

    So this last summer thats how I ran my hives. Sixs frames of small cell in the center of each box and 2 frames of larger stuff on the edges. The hives have exceeded my expectations. That all should have been dead but instead consistently dropped about 1 mite per week!

    So it's important to have the smaller stuff in the center of the broodnest. I think maybe the area that the winter and spring clusters would cover. During the summer there is not much difference in behavior between the small cell hive and the larger kind. But the cleansing behavior is greatest during the late summer and early spring.

    So get that small cell in the center of the broodnest. It doesn't have to consist of perfect frames.

    Keeping the new wax clean is also very important. So if a person must treat use a noncontaiminating method. Then when there are enough small cell frames in the center of the hive let them go without treatment. The bees will learn to handle the mites and those hives that are resistant to the viruses will survive. The next year they will thrive.

    A few frames inserted into the broodnest will get one started. It will take longer and the bees will need to be treated longer to live long enough to draw the needed comb.

    A better approach might be to shake down a hive into a single deep consisting of just the sealed brood, 4.9 foundation and a frame of honey on the outside edge. One of those frames of honey could be drone comb. Maybe the bees would think they have enough drone comb and do a better job with the small cell.
    As the brood hatches the frames would be replaced with more small cell foundation.

    That's what I did initially to get my small cell drawn.

    I am curious to know how the bees draw the 4.9 inserted a few sheets at a time in the center of the broodnest.

    Some Thought

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