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  1. #41
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
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    McMinnville, TN, USA
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    716

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    I heard of many having losses during regression. Many of those people did not treat for mites as they regressed which was good as the weaker genes died out but I could not afford the losses. I used those foundationless frames slowly as I did my many splits this year. I still have all my standard plastic foundation frame mixed in. When I made up my 5 frame nucs, I used 3 frames of brood with bees and one of honey with bees and one of my foundationless frames. When these nucs went into a full hive body all the frames given where the foundationless. I used one frame from several of the quickest ones to make a full box for other splits so more mixing of frames was done. When I did removals I tied(rubberbanded) the comb into these foundationless frames and give them more of the same. Doing the hives slowly all season I had no losses and large gains. I made 12 hives from 2. One hive lost its queen and had a laying worker so I combined it in Sept. 2 of the 11 hives had high mite counts. One of these still has a deep brood box of all foundationed frames. The other one is mostly small cell/natural cell and must just be genetic reasons as it was also on a screened bottom board. Plans are to make queens from all hives that do not need help with mites. I will keep catching swarms and doing removals so I am not worried about inbreeding. I use walk away splits tech for making queens so queens will be made from 8 different hives next spring if they all make it. 4 of these are from removals/swarms. The other 4 were raised by walk away splits this year from my original 2 buckfast hives.

  2. #42
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    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Most from stress some from mites during the regression.


  3. #43
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Guatemala
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    Some days ago we put some foundationless frames with only a narrow strip of wax as a starter. It´s early honey flow season in the area. Most frames have received some work of comb building, but not much. Without exception though, all comb built was drone comb . . . large cell drone comb !!!!
    It looks beautiful for honey storage, but my purpose was to get some small cell comb.

    Africanized bees in one colony did make natural, 4.9 mm cells, and of course the bees do look somewhat smaller. Maybe AHB can be used as small-cell-comb manufacturers if EHB are reluctant !
    Did I do something wrong? Will the bees take for ever to regress given this initial failure?
    Apart from Tom Industries, is anyone else making small cell foundation mills ?

    It seems to me that small cell beekeeping is becoming so popular and discussed upon, that small-cell foundation should be a major, very fast growing industry.

  4. #44
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Kiel WI, USA
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    2,368

    Post

    Does anyone know what size foundation is used in Brazil? It sounds as if they're building quite a honey industry, and they use smaller cells due to AHB, but I don't know what size it is.

  5. #45
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Heavener OK.
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    22

    Question

    Was reading the post on smaller cell size if the small cell cause the worker bee to hatch quicker.


    was wondering if you could in some way restrict the size of the queen cell if they would produce a queen two or three days sooner. SURE Would let you get new laying queens Quicker.say hatch in 13 or 14 days instead of 15 1/2 to 16 days

  6. #46
    jfischer Guest

    Post

    As far as "shorter maturation" time goes, there is
    not too much formality required to document the time
    from egg laying to capping to bee emergence.

    You'd need:

    1) A camera (still or video)

    2) A tripod or some other support that
    can insure that all the photos are
    taken from a consistent distance and
    at a consistent angle.

    3) An observation hive with 8-mesh in place
    of the usual glass.

    4) A spiral bound notebook

    To take a photo, you need the bees to get out
    of the way of the photo, so you can simply
    smoke them heavily to get them to move to the
    other side of the frame, or up/down to another
    frame if you have a multiple-frame observation
    hive.

    You'd need to take photos more often than once
    a day, because brood will be emerging in the
    order that the eggs were laid, and one can
    assume that once brood starts to emerge, that
    they will emerge at the rate of one bee every
    minute or so, reasonable, as 60 * 24 = 1440,
    which is a decent estimate of a typical queen's
    laying rate, give or take a few hundred eggs a
    day. Capping time will also vary, so one would
    want to "catch" when the bees start capping
    a cell.

    The maturation time of "large cell bees" is well
    documented, so you need no "control hives" with
    which to compare. You need only document the
    sequence for a few frames over the season, as
    careful analysis of the sequence of images alone
    will prove the point.

    Yeah, there'd be some statistical work required
    to "prove the point scientifically", but what
    you will end up with is a "bell curve" with a
    peak that centers where the mean time for each
    observable event can be clearly seen.

    Michael is a bit of a slog from Virginia, but
    Bjorn, you are only 4 or 5 hours North of me.

    What do I have to do - loan you the equipment?

  7. #47
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    >Some days ago we put some foundationless frames with only a narrow strip of wax as a starter. It´s early honey flow season in the area. Most frames have received some work of comb building, but not much. Without exception though, all comb built was drone comb . . . large cell drone comb !!!!
    It looks beautiful for honey storage, but my purpose was to get some small cell comb.

    Bees build what they think they need. When they think they need drone they will build whole frames of it.

    Where where the frames? In the center of the brood nest, not during a flow (meaning beofore or after the flow) they tend to build either small cell worker comb or drone comb. If they build drone, I move it to the edge of the brood nest and put some more in the center.

    >Africanized bees in one colony did make natural, 4.9 mm cells, and of course the bees do look somewhat smaller. Maybe AHB can be used as small-cell-comb manufacturers if EHB are reluctant !

    I'm sure they can. Large cell bees seem quite content to use small cell come even if it's smaller than they can draw.

    >Did I do something wrong? Will the bees take for ever to regress given this initial failure?

    I can't predict what these particular bees will do, but building whole frames of drone is pretty normal in a hive with foundation and not as much drone comb as the bees would like. They tend to focus on honey storage cells during a flow. Then tend to focus on drone cells if they don't have enough and they tend to focus on worker cells in the early spring and sometimes in the fall.

    >Apart from Tom Industries, is anyone else making small cell foundation mills ?

    Hawley in Iola KS makes them.

    >It seems to me that small cell beekeeping is becoming so popular and discussed upon, that small-cell foundation should be a major, very fast growing industry.

    Part of the issue with small cell foundation is how clean the wax is. Since most small cell people want no contaminants in the hive, it requires clean wax and clean wax is hard to come by. As I understand it, it's why Dadant's small cell is so expensive. It takes a lot of work and expense to test batches of wax to find reasonably clean wax. Since theirs sells for a lot more than standard foundation, I would guess, if you have a supply of clean wax, you could sell it for a much better price than standard foundation.

    Another issue that Dee Lusby believes in, is no cell wall on the foundation. The Tom Industries mills are like this. The lack of cell wall means better acceptance because it's easier for the bees to rework it to a different size than it's laid out. That means that at first, the large cell bees can build it 5.1mm and later the regressed bees can build it 4.6mm if they want. But the foundation encourages 4.85mm or so.

  8. #48
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Guatemala
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    244

    Post

    Mike. tkank you for being so accurate and focused when answering to my questions and doubts. I am sure someone else is also benefitting from it. Have you thought of teaching ?

    Wax, it seems, can become so important as a cash crop, that we could get into wax / comb production by setting aside a few colonies that prove good builders. Biobee fans might disagree with this idea, but is beeswax produced by intensive syrup feeding any different than beeswax produced under natural flow conditions ?

    One local beekeeper told me he is able to produce wax year around by feeding heavily; he has even sold drawn combs to other folks at a good price. I suppose he has the bees empty the combs out before selling. I´ll look further into it to let you know more details.

    Dadant claims that all their wax is cleaned before turning it into foundation. Residue levels may not be so high as to be harmful for ther honey or the bees. I know of no testing being conducted on beeswax as a requirement for selling honey. Now for those of us who are not so strict about residues in wax, the main issue is quick regression to small cell.

    A clean honey is of course of major importance if we want to have access to the market. But wax does not readily leach out any residues into the honey stored in the combs.

  9. #49
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    >Have you thought of teaching ?

    I have taught many college courses in Computer Science. I've been a guest speaker in many a grade school, Jr. High school and High School teaching about American Indians and Lakot in particular. Yes I've thought of teaching. I wish it paid better.

    >Wax, it seems, can become so important as a cash crop, that we could get into wax / comb production by setting aside a few colonies that prove good builders.

    If you have clean wax that is a salable asset. If you have drawn 4.9mm comb that is a salable asset.

    >Biobee fans might disagree with this idea, but is beeswax produced by intensive syrup feeding any different than beeswax produced under natural flow conditions ?

    I've seen studies on the subject and there was no measurable difference in the construct of the wax.

    >One local beekeeper told me he is able to produce wax year around by feeding heavily; he has even sold drawn combs to other folks at a good price.

    This is done by a few people in the US too. I'm amazed at the prices they get. But I think small cell is an even more difficult asset to come by.

    >Dadant claims that all their wax is cleaned before turning it into foundation.

    I'm sure it is to some extent, but as I understand the small cell is the best they have. All the studies I've seen say ALL wax is contaminated in the US.

    >Now for those of us who are not so strict about residues in wax, the main issue is quick regression to small cell.

    But the residues are part of the issue. I have seen studies, I'll try to find them again, showing that fluvinates at low levels increase mite reproduction.

  10. #50
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Guatemala
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    244

    Post

    It is very evident that most beekeepers will not be willing to get into or cannot afford the cost of gradual regression to small cell.

    Some exceptional people have broken their backs doing it, and have come out successfully. Topping the list are the Lusbys from Arizona. I have not met them, but it would be an honor. They deserve our recognition and thanks, and our follow. Their constant sharing is making a difference in the bee industry as we know it, just like some other folks did in the past.

    So, back to regression. It appears that instant regression can be accomplished by using small cell foundation, regardless of what size bees you put in.

    Now, I reckon, one would not just dump all bees on new foundation bacause that would imply loosing all brood and stores, unless these occupied combs are placed above the new hive, over a queen excluder. Replacing a few combs at a time would be a gradual regression, and so a year´s time would be enough for having culled all large cell comb.

    But then there is an old time technique called "shook swarming", that does exactly that: dump all bees on new foundation, giving them a fresh start. The time of year is crucial for shook swarming, if one still wants a crop. Some intensive feeding

    Another way of going about it, I think, is to make up nucs into small cell foundation. Once the nucs have developed to a fair size, then reunite the parent colony with the nuc.

    These approaches would probably require some extra equipment, but lots of beekeepers have lost colonies and extra boxes and frames may be laying around.

    Anyway, using samll cell foundation seems to outdo foundationless trials. Who is selling small cell foundation besides Dadant? Is it the same price as traditional foundation ?

    I would like to hear from someone who is into this regressing business with over 100 hives.

  11. #51
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    >It appears that instant regression can be accomplished by using small cell foundation, regardless of what size bees you put in.

    Not with foundation. But instant regression can be accomplished by using drawn small cell COMB regardless of what size bees you put in.

    >Anyway, using Small cell foundation seems to outdo foundationless trials.

    I believe you'll get regressed more consistently and more quickly with foundation. I went foundationless for two reasons:

    1) I wanted to know what the bees would really build on their own.

    2) Small cell foundation is very expensive.

    > Who is selling small cell foundation besides Dadant?

    Brushy Mt. stocks Dadant's foundation so basically on Dadant is manufacturing it and only Dadant and Brushy Mt, that I know of, are selling it.

    > Is it the same price as traditional foundation ?

    No. Dadant, as I understand, is testing wax and trying to keep the wax in the Small cell as clean as possible which costs them more and the cost is passed on to the consumer.

    Dadant's regular Medium brood goes for $0.82 a sheet in packages of 10.

    Dadant's small cell goes for $1.15 a sheet in packages of 10.

    Plastic Small cell $1.80 a sheet (I wouldn't use it unless you are fully regressed first)

    >I would like to hear from someone who is into this regressing business with over 100 hives.

    I've only got around 50 so I guess that leaves me out.



  12. #52
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Milford, MI
    Posts
    328

    Post

    Hey M.B.,

    Why is it that you would not recommend using plastic until the retrogression is complete?

    I personally prefer the use of the plastic SCF during regression, because I can reclaim the foundation as I cull out larger drawn frames or if the cells do not get drawn out close to 4.9. With wax I can't scrape it down.

  13. #53
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Based on my experience and on that of several other people I wouldn't reccomend it. I've only tried it once on a hive that wasn't regressed, and they fought it tooth and nail. They build comb ANYWHERE but on the 4.9mm plastic foundation. They built it out from the face of it, they built it at right angles to it, but they would not build comb on the foundation.

    Other people have reported similar results.

  14. #54
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Milford, MI
    Posts
    328

    Post

    But I've had the same experience with Duragilt being cross combed. At least plastic can be reclaimed whereas the bees won't build on Duragilt that's been stripped to the smooth layer of plastic.

    What do you do with the expensive wax SCF that's not been drawn out close to 4.9?

  15. #55
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    DuPage County, Illinois USA
    Posts
    9,384

    Post

    >>It appears that instant regression can be accomplished by using small cell foundation, regardless of what size bees you put in.

    >Not with foundation. But instant regression can be accomplished by using drawn small cell COMB regardless of what size bees you put in.

    This is interesting. I brought back a dozen nucs from Lusby's several years ago that were on SC comb and now Dee is saying that those bees weren't regressed yet. They hadn't made it out to their bee pasture yet to be "seated" into their proper regression. So according to her, cell size isn't full regression. One must have that sphere of influence.

    I don't agree with this, but that is the other POV.

    - Barry

  16. #56
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    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    >But I've had the same experience with Duragilt being cross combed.

    I can almost always trace cross combed Duragilt back to housel positioning errors. And it's almost always on just one frame.

    With the plastic it was EVERY frame and after I would scrape it off they would just do it again. After scraping almost all of the comb off about 20 times I took the plastic out and gave them foundationless frames instead.

    > At least plastic can be reclaimed whereas the bees won't build on Duragilt that's been stripped to the smooth layer of plastic.

    But what good does it do to keep scraping it off when they STILL won't build it correctly?

    >What do you do with the expensive wax SCF that's not been drawn out close to 4.9?

    I've only once or twice actually given full sheet sof wax 4.9m to an unregressed colony. I usually use either foundationless, blank starter strips, or 4.9mm starter strips. If they are 5.1mm I'd keep them and reuse them for other regressions, until I have enough 4.9mm to do it more quickly.

    >>>It appears that instant regression can be accomplished by using small cell foundation, regardless of what size bees you put in.
    >>Not with foundation. But instant regression can be accomplished by using drawn small cell COMB regardless of what size bees you put in.

    >This is interesting. I brought back a dozen nucs from Lusby's several years ago that were on SC comb and now Dee is saying that those bees weren't regressed yet. They hadn't made it out to their bee pasture yet to be "seated" into their proper regression. So according to her, cell size isn't full regression. One must have that sphere of influence.

    She may be right, in some sense, that true, stablized, uniform regression takes a bit more than that, but to get small bees willing to build small cell comb can be done in one shot if you have drawn 4.9mm comb.

  17. #57
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Milford, MI
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    Post

    Thanks Michael for all the patience you've given us in your response and clarification of these questions.

    As for Housel positioning, I made sure to mark all my frames and arranged them prior to installation with inverted side towards center, and still had mixed acceptance, but only on a few frames.

    Since you brought up the subject, I need some clarification, as I'm sure so do others, on HP theory. Does it make a difference where the brood nest has started drawing out frames of foundation? What I mean is this, I've got 5 frames on either side of center in the brood chamber, on a shake-down the colony may not choose to start building in the center. Therefore, their center comb or starting point is not as we have arranged the frames. Should the frames be rearranged according to the the cluster? Does it help the structure of the colony to position drawn frames with HP in the center of the brood chamber instead of a full chamber of foundation? And, does it make a difference if the frames are arranged with the inverted Y's facing the center or away from center? I have arranged mine towards center, as I believe recalling that is what Housel suggests.

    Thanks again Michael...


  18. #58
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    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    >Thanks Michael for all the patience you've given us in your response and clarification of these questions.

    You're welcome.

    >As for Housel positioning, I made sure to mark all my frames and arranged them prior to installation with inverted side towards center, and still had mixed acceptance, but only on a few frames.

    Odd, but certainly sometimes the bees don't like anything we do.

    >Since you brought up the subject, I need some clarification, as I'm sure so do others, on HP theory. Does it make a difference where the brood nest has started drawing out frames of foundation?

    I do HP only because I see that it helps acceptance of the foundation. I'm still not seeing it in my TBH or my foundationless frames except for the primary comb. But the primary comb is almost always the first comb they build, it's almost always a sideways "Y" with the bar to the right and it's the comb most people are not putting foundation in for. Instead they just have the regular combs and an imaginary primary comb.
    http://incolor.inetnebr.com/bush/ima...rimaryComb.JPG

    But occasionally they skip a primary comb and instead build a comb with opposite "Y"s on the same comb.
    http://incolor.inetnebr.com/bush/ima...ombCloseup.JPG

    So I like to either have foundationless, in which case they build their own primary comb, or I put some foundation in rotated 90 degrees from normal (it takes two to fill a frame of course, or you can just put some in the center).

    >What I mean is this, I've got 5 frames on either side of center in the brood chamber, on a shake-down the colony may not choose to start building in the center. Therefore, their center comb or starting point is not as we have arranged the frames.

    I think having an actual primary comb can resolve this, but I know that's not what most people are doing.

    > Should the frames be rearranged according to the the cluster?

    That's up to you. I don't know what will work the best for the bees.

    >Does it help the structure of the colony to position drawn frames with HP in the center of the brood chamber instead of a full chamber of foundation?

    IMO it's always better to have at least one drawn comb in a box than a box full of foundation. HP or not.

    >And, does it make a difference if the frames are arranged with the inverted Y's facing the center or away from center?

    I think it does. HP theory says it does.

    >I have arranged mine towards center, as I believe recalling that is what Housel suggests.

    It's always difficult to describe the positioning because it depends on where you are standing, which way you are facing and whether you're moving toward the center or away from it. But I beleive you are describing it correctly.

    If an inverted "Y" is shown as "I^" and a sideways "Y" is shown as ">-" then looking at each face of each comb it looks like this:

    YI^,YI^,YI^,YI^,YI^,>->-,^IY,^IY,^IY,^IY,^IY

    Since most people don't make an actual primary comb the frame with the ">->-" is usually left out.

    So since I usually make a primary comb (if I'm using foundation) and since I like to put 11 frames in a hive (by shaving 1/16" off each side of the end bars) mine looks like the above list.


  19. #59
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    McMinnville, TN, USA
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    716

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    Why does the trails say foundation is better than foundationless?

    I can see you are giving the bees wax to work so they have to make less wax being a help, but as to mite prevention and over all health of the hive. I did foundationless because of being to poor for regular foundation then started seeing benifits from the smaller cell size. I have alot of combs that need to be culled but they will most likely be used atleast another year with my agressive splitting to get my number of hives up to 30. I noticed when I first gave a colony just one foundationless frame they drew out mostly all drone cell sizes. So I now leave that one frame in the hive toward the out side of the hive body. From my observations of smaller cell sizes like the 4.6 being used for worker brood would not a cell size of 4.7 or such be even better than the 4.85 foundation that is made now. The only draw back to this I see is bees need to be all sizes from 5.1 down. I do not know how hard it would be to make a wax press to make a graduated foundation but from what I have seen this seem the best to mimic ma nature and get the better mite protection. I have started 500 foundationless frames which I hope to have ready for spring splits.

  20. #60
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    >Why does the trails say foundation is better than foundationless? I can see you are giving the bees wax to work so they have to make less wax being a help...

    Trails? Is that a person on here? Anyway, the reason most say it is because they have believed the old statement about how much honey it takes to make a pound of wax. Numbers thrown around vary from 4 or 6 to 12 or 14 but no one really knows for sure. We do know it takes several pounds of honey to make a pound of wax and using this formula they assume that there is nothong more complicated involved. From my experience they will build comb the most quickly without the foundation. If that's true, why do I care about the logistics of how that happens?

    >I did foundationless because of being to poor for regular foundation then started seeing benifits from the smaller cell size.

    And you also got to prove to yourself that smaller sizes ARE natural sizes. That's one of the main reasons I did it. But I'm also lazy. No foundation to wire. No foundation to sag before they draw it and have to be replaced again...

    >I have alot of combs that need to be culled but they will most likely be used atleast another year with my agressive splitting to get my number of hives up to 30.

    Just rotate them out and up into the supers above a honey cap and they can be used for extracting or, if they are 5.1mm or smaller, for another regression somewhere.

    > I noticed when I first gave a colony just one foundationless frame they drew out mostly all drone cell sizes. So I now leave that one frame in the hive toward the out side of the hive body.

    That's a good plan. They want a certain amount and if you take it all away they will draw more drone comb.

    >From my observations of smaller cell sizes like the 4.6 being used for worker brood would not a cell size of 4.7 or such be even better than the 4.85 foundation that is made now.

    Dee Lusby arrived at 4.9mm for these reasons:

    1) It was the point at which it resolved the problem.

    2) She wants to have all the same size, interchangable comb, and 4.9mm is about as small as she can extract with the thicker honey they get in the desert.

    I think you also have to figure, if you can't convince people to regress from 5.4mm to 4.9mm so how would you convince them to regress from 5.4mm to 4.6mm?

    Trying to get 5.4mm bees to draw 4.6mm foundation would be a mess. I think they would turn it into a crazy quilt. Most 5.4mm bees don't do so badly with 4.9mm foundation.

    > The only draw back to this I see is bees need to be all sizes from 5.1 down. I do not know how hard it would be to make a wax press to make a graduated foundation but from what I have seen this seem the best to mimic ma nature and get the better mite protection.

    Dee belives that all of us observing such a mixture of sizes are seeing them because we are not fully regressed. The combs on her bees are very consistent with just small cell everywhere and drones around the very edges, mostly in the bottom corners and the bottom (where she leaves a gap).

    > I have started 500 foundationless frames which I hope to have ready for spring splits.

    I have 500 that I made from scratch and another 500 or so that are blank starter strips or old frmaes with combs that I just cut out the comb and put them between drawn frames. I like them more, especially as I get the hang of how to manage them. Things like putting a drawn comb in the middle of a box of foundationless frames greatly improve matters.

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