Will the cells in a hive eventually get smaller to 4.9mm or will it stay large like the foundation it was put on?
it will stay large. the only way to get 4.9 bees is to regress Nick
The brood cells will get a cocoon for each generation of workers. In 10 or 20 years it will get noticeably smaller. But if you are depending on small cell to control the mites you won't have the bees that long.
You'll need to get small cell foundation and swap all of the foundation out twice to get there.
Hey, MB. Do package bees (that are usually "large" bees) draw out "small" comb if left to themselves in a foundationless hive? That is, when you do your starter strips or triangular (sp?) strips of wood, do the bees make smaller comb?
You can buy small cell package bees from Buckeye bees. If they are already small they will gladly build small cells.
In all cases here I'm talking about the size of worker brood comb. I have found that "normal" large cell (bees raised in 5.4mm cells), if left to themselves will build about 5.1mm cells on the average. If you take the bees raised in those 5.1mm cells and let them build what they want, they will build 4.9mm average cells. If you take the bees raised on 4.9mm cells and let them build what they want they will build some areas of cells as small as 4.6mm with most around 4.8 and some as big as 5.1mm. But mostly it will run around 4.6 to 4.9mm in the center of the brood nest (except for the drone comb and storage cells of course).
If you let them SPACE the combs like they want (which I've done with flat top bars in top bar hives with no starter strips) they tend to space the center of the brood nest 1 1/4" on center. They tend to space the combs with some drone on them about 1 3/8" to 1 1/2" and the combs with lots of honey storage as wide as 1 1/2" to 1 7/8" and occasionally larger.
If YOU control the space between the combs they will build less drones and smaller worker cells when the combs are spaced closer rather than farther. So when the combs are 1 1/4" on center the cells tend to be smaller than if they are spaced 1 1/2". The bees tend toward spacing them 1 1/4" for the center of the brood nest and wider as you move out from there.
Has anyone had experience with the Buckeye small cell? ie., they're not trying to pass of half regressed or not regressed bees as small cell are they?
I only know they advertise small cell bees. I don't know how small they are, what size cells they were raised in etc.
I assume some people bought some. Maybe they could report what their experience was?
Did they draw 4.9mm nicely?
MB, if you would, I assumed that that frames for small cell would be the same sized frames as for the large cell. Is this assumption correct? That is, are we still using the same width frames and the same spacing between frames (ie. ten frames in the brood boxs)?
[This message has been edited by OldScout (edited September 03, 2004).]
Most people use regular frames. Some of mine are cut down to 1 1/4" but most are regular sized. 1 1/4" is more what I see them building naturally for the center of the brood nest. At 1 1/4" spacing they tend more toward wanting to make smaller cells and less drones than the 1 3/8" regular spacing. Either works. The 1 1/4" spacing will let you get 11 frames in a 10 frame box and get less drones and smaller cells more qickly though.
Fascinating. Do you just run one side of the frames through the table saw to cut off that extra wood or do you try to trim a little off both sides (probably the better method)? Once again, many assumptions here. Are you cutting down plastic frames? Is it enough to just cut down the top bar of the frames?
You seem to repeat that this is your method for brood. Do you cut down your frames for supers? And what spacing so you use for supers? Can the frames be multi-use? That is, if one width of frame is used for brood and another for supers, doesn't that limit your flexibility to use the same frames for brood and for honey in your mediums?
>Fascinating. Do you just run one side of the frames through the table saw to cut off that extra wood or do you try to trim a little off both sides (probably the better method)?
Both sides. You can run it through a table saw or plane them off. Both methods work better if you have already nailed them together (and don't have a nail in the sides) because you have something to hold on to.
>Once again, many assumptions here. Are you cutting down plastic frames?
Plastic frames are not small cell. The PermaComb has no spacers built in so you can space them however you want without cutting anything down.
>Is it enough to just cut down the top bar of the frames?
On what? On plastic frames? Plastic frames won't be small cell anyway.
>You seem to repeat that this is your method for brood. Do you cut down your frames for supers?
I don't cut down all of them anyway, but I space the frames in the supers, once they are drawn to 9 frames in a super, not 11.
>And what spacing so you use for supers? Can the frames be multi-use? That is, if one width of frame is used for brood and another for supers, doesn't that limit your flexibility to use the same frames for brood and for honey in your mediums?
No reason they can't be all the same but regardless of the width of the Hoffman spacers, I still space them wider in the supers, because the bees would space honey storage wider anyway, and they uncap much more easily. I use the Maxant spacer that looks like a comb for the supers.
The frames I make I use a srcew to keep the spacing. I have a super full on 1 1/4 as a trial. The top bar of frames is normally 1 1/16 in width. So it is just the end bars that get cut.