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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    North Alabama, SW Kentucky
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    1,914

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    We've discussed the natural variation in cell-size found in the brood nest (hive bodies). I'm wondering if anyone has made observations about the uniformity/variation of cell-size in honey supers.

    If the comb can't be used for brood, either because of an excluder or "honey cap" over the nest, how well do the bees follow the foundation pattern?

    If so, is it effected by the "maturity" of the broodnest (meaning the bees have a full-size working broodnest that they are content with)?

    Waya
    WayaCoyote

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,593

    Post

    I have a package right now on top bars drawing a lot of drone and immediately filling it with nectar. Obviously they weren't planning on using it for drones, at least yet.

    There seems to be a lot of variation everywhere in a hive.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    North Alabama, SW Kentucky
    Posts
    1,914

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    Thanks, Michael,
    but I'm guessing you're using starter strips or foundationless for your TBH. I'm interested in how well they'll follow the patern of a full sheet of foundation. I guess that I'm looking for uniformity in cell size in honey supers.

    Waya
    WayaCoyote

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Anchorage, Alaska
    Posts
    1,649

    Post

    Last summer during the honey flow I put some small cell foundation in a super for the bees to draw out. The bees were "standard size" Carniolans when I hived them on previously drawn small cell combs. They drew the foundation out uniformly, i.e. none of it followed the small cell pattern. Some cells were very small and some while 6-sided had sides that were also mismatched. They did fill it full of some nice honey, though, and it's still nice white comb, so will probably use those combs for supering again this year.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    North Alabama, SW Kentucky
    Posts
    1,914

    Post

    Dick,
    Thanks. Would you say that your Carniolans weren't stablized on the Small-cell yet?

    Waya
    WayaCoyote

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Anchorage, Alaska
    Posts
    1,649

    Post

    Waya, I don't know. I'm as much in the dark with 'small cell' and 'natural comb' as most everyone else is. The bees had been introduced from a package onto drawn comb and had gone through a few brood cycles before I put that expensive small cell foundation into the super only to have them get confused as to how they were expected to draw it out. Since that time I've read from the 'natural cell' folks that larger cell comb is drawn outside the nest during a honey flow. I guess this time, I'll be inserting a frame into the brood cluster from time to time to get more drawn.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Grifton, NC
    Posts
    1,302

    Post

    In my short experience, I've observed that the bees kinda do what they want, regardless of how we try to trick them. I have some cordovans that have really messed up a couple of frames with tunnel, ladder and bridge comb. They have smaller cells and large drone cells all mixed up together. I'm wondering if orderly cell building is a trait you can select for?

    I have some darker bees that have started drawing cells nicely on new wax foundation. Seems like they do alright in the center of the comb, get sorta confused when they get near the edges.
    Banjos and bees... how sweet it is!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
    Posts
    6,502

    Post

    The bees naturally want to have a certian amount of drone comb in their hives. If you are continously culling every scrap of drone comb, they will build more. Just the way it is. Too much drone comb is bad, of course, for brood production and v mites, but a little is good.

    Especially when drawing foundation. If you are drawing foundation out with little drone comb in the brood chamber, they will make more of it int eh supers.
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Germany /Europe
    Posts
    126

    Post

    I can talk about this theme too....
    Last year I gave my established hives on small cells (4 yr) a triangle shaped piece of small cell foundation for adding drone comb to it.

    One hive did react very strange...
    What did they do?

    They draw the small cell comb perfectly....
    ..and stopped.
    Then they filled this half frame with willow honey and capped it.

    At the same time they reworked a complete frame of drawn worker cells to drone comb, from 4.9 to 6.7mm!!!

    I can't explain this behaviour bur they are still alive without any varroa treatment.

    I guess they do what they need...

    Regards, Alienor
    Sincerely
    Alienor

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