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  1. #21
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Danbury,Ct. USA
    Posts
    1,966

    Post

    I put several swarms (read packages) on small cell wax foundation. I got some very cute little bees right away. As I added supers with normal comb, which was used as brood chambers, and the year wore on I didn't see such small bees again.

    Dickm

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    lousisiana
    Posts
    19

    Post

    Michael I think your right last weekend at state bee keeper meeting the reasurch people I asked about small cell said they where going other way.That is to say making very large bees in oversize cells.

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,593

    Post

    >One question that might shed light would
    be to examine the size of drone cells in
    a "regressed" colony. How big are they?

    They vary a lot. Dee would say this is because they haven't settled in to being regressed yet. That is probably true. There are still a variety of sizes of bees in my hives. Most small cell drone cells I'm seeing so far are around 6.0mm, but some are much larger, like 6.8mm or so. The drones from these larger ones look like alien creatures.

    >Michael I think your right last weekend at state bee keeper meeting the reasurch people I asked about small cell said they where going other way.That is to say making very large bees in oversize cells.

    I think anyone in doubt should try letting the bees build their own comb. I gaurentee it won't be larger than 5.2mm and most like will be about 5.1mm on the first try. Not 5.4 like our foundation is and certainly not bigger.

    I have never seen self drawn worker brood comb (excluding transition cells of course) from large cell bees, any larger than 5.2mm.

    I don't think larger will even work (and I don't mean for the mites) because Bardoux pushed it about as far as is practical. I've used 7/11 foundation for decades. The queen doesn't like to lay in it and if she does she lays drones. 7/11 is about 5.9mm. I think we have already reached the upper limit.

  4. #24
    jfischer Guest

    Post

    Is anyone using small-cell comb in their
    brood chambers and "standard-sized" comb
    in their supers? I'm just thinking about
    the "memory" speculation offered by Dee,
    and wondering if this would confuse the
    bees, and impact the comb drawn in the
    brood chamber.


  5. #25
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,593

    Post

    >Is anyone using small-cell comb in their
    brood chambers and "standard-sized" comb
    in their supers?

    I have some drawn "standard-sized" comb in the supers, but I haven't tried putting "standard-sized" foundation in the supers. So the regressed bees in my hives aren't drawing large cell foundtion, they are just filling it.

    Those who have put large cell foundation in the supers with regressed bees have reported that the bees often rework it into smaller sizes which would support the "memory" theory since the bees were already in the "habit" of drawing small comb and apparently they wanted to continue.

    I don't have enough personal experience with testing the "memory" theory to have an opinion on it. But I think people should be aware it may be a factor.

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Totnes, Devon, England
    Posts
    1,020

    Post

    According to the monk who worked here in the Bee Dept. for 15 years until a couple of weeks ago, Brother Adam used to say - whenever there was a question about what was the right thing to do - "let the bees tell you".

    Surely that is the correct approach - we should let the bees tell us what size cells they want to build, rather than imposing our ideas on them. That way, we minimize stress and maximize their inherent capacity to do what they do best.

    Those of us who think this way should do what we can to facilitate our bees in their quest for what they consider to be right, and stop the - in my opinion - misguided 'control freak' attitude to beekeeping that has prevailed since Victorian times, when the highest aim was to bend the bees - along with the rest of nature - to man's will.

    That doesn't mean that we revert to skeps and bee-burning, but it may mean that we step back from the constant questing for more and more honey at all costs. We need a more balanced approach. We must give more consideration to the long-term welfare of the bees in our care and be less willing to drench them in toxins in order to 'cure' them. After all, they have been around a lot longer than we have, and they always solved their own problems - until we came along and gave them a whole new set of things to deal with.

    The challenges faced by bees right now are mostly of our making. Now we have to learn to listen to the bees again.


  7. #27
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    DuPage County, Illinois USA
    Posts
    9,605

    Post

    AFAIK, Dennis has done this with his bees. Used 4 to 6 combs of SC in the center brood area and the rest large. Hope he weighs in here. I have some thoughts about all this but have to run right now. Later.

    - Barry

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    The Scenic Flint Hills , KS
    Posts
    5,159

    Question

    >AFAIK ???

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Kiel WI, USA
    Posts
    2,368

    Post

    As Far As I Know

  10. #30
    demerl51 Guest

    Post

    Hi Guys,

    >Dee Lusby thinks you should give them all the >same size because comb building is an >imprinted memory for them.

    Well, I've put small cell bees in a top bar hive and they built large cell sized comb and the bees that hatched from that large cell sized comb built small cell size comb. Not much small cell sized memory there!

    And I've measured natural comb from top bar hives that had small cell bees, large cell bees, and Lusbees in them. And I/ve measured some feral comb as well. All these bees built a full range of cell sizes and the cell size distribution was about the same for all of them. Large cell size bees build small cell sized comb and small cell sized bees build large cell sized comb. All the different bees built a structured broodnest of which cell size was just one aspect. Cell size wasn't impacted by the bees state of regression. But broodnest location was everything.

    Look at the comb measurements for yourself. What do you think?
    http://wind.prohosing.com/tbhguy/bee/cells.htm

    Many small cell beekeeping management practices and the need for regression is built upon the 'cell size memory' premise. But if this premise is in error, then small cell beekeeping can be made much simpler and easier when management practices are tuned to work with the bee rather than against it.

    You can get the details at:
    http://wind.prohosting.com/tbhguy/bee/musin.htm

    >Is anyone using small-cell comb in their
    >brood chambers and "standard-sized" comb
    >in their supers? I'm just thinking about
    >the "memory" speculation offered by Dee,
    >and wondering if this would confuse the
    >bees, and impact the comb drawn in the
    >brood chamber.

    Well, they don't get too confused in a top bar hive with natural comb. In fact, a beekeeper, who has only seen how bees draw out foundation, will be amazed at how rapidly and easily bees draw out natural comb when compared with foundation. I sure was ;> )

    I ran a few standard hives with both large and small cell sized combs in the broodnest. Initially, I ran 6 small cell frames in the center and 4 large cell frames on the exterior. There wasn't any difference in mite tolerance between these hives and my all small cell frame hives.

    Natural comb hives have about 40% of the broodnest at small cell size. I had planned to put four small cell frames in the center, with six large cell frames on the exterior, as a test, but will leave that to others as my focus is now on top bar hive management and not optimizing small cell for commercial beekeeping.

    Regards
    Dennis
    Thinking...Don't quote me or D. Read our observations. Watch your hives. And then share what YOU see. Those who are willing to learn will be much better beekeepers for it :> )

  11. #31
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,593

    Post

    I agree we should follow the bees. I'm beginning to think foundation was a bad idea in the first place.

    My method has mostly been to use the wax coated PermaComb to speed the regression and leave it in the center of the brood nest and use foundationless for everything else. Another nice thing about the PermaComb is I have lots of "drawn" comb to put in a box of foundtionless to get them started in the right direction.

    With foundationless you get clean wax, because the bees just made it. You get natural cell size, because the bees have not been coerced by imprinted foundation. And you get to see what they build on their own, which is a complex and beautiful work of art. And you get to work a lot less. No foundation to wire. No foundation to put in. No worries about the foundation sagging.

    If anyone is interested in foundationless frames, I'd recommend reading Langstroth's Hive and the Honey Bee". Reprints are avaialable. I bought one from Amazon.com. The publisher is Dover. I also have an old one, but the new one works fine. Langstroth talks about the comb guide and trying to get a drawn comb in the center to get them going right, or cutting a strip of comb and waxing it to the top bar to get that first drawn comb.

    Besides Langstroth's book is the foundation of "modern" beekeeping. Every beekeeper really ought to read it.

  12. #32
    demerl51 Guest

    Post

    Hi Guys,

    >AFAIK, Dennis has done this with his bees. >Used 4 to 6 combs of SC in the center brood >area and the rest large. Hope he weighs in >here. I have some thoughts about all this but >?have to run right now. Later.

    I have put 6 frames of small cell comb in the center of the broodnest without any loss of mite tolerance when compared to my all small cell hives.

    My observations with natural comb indicate that 4 frames should work. So I took four hives and placed four frames in the center of each box. And I also took a couple of hives of 'regressed' bees from all small cell hives and put them on clean large cell comb.

    By the end of the first season, none of the hives with four frames of small cell showed any mite damage or needed treatment, while both of the all large cell hives were showing the initial stages of PMS and required mite treatment. I used oxalic. I termiated this test the next season when I left commercial beekeeping and became a top bar hive hobbiest. So, this test, although interesting, wasn't long enough. Three years would have been a good time frame.

    Regards
    Dennis


    [This message has been edited by demerl51 (edited December 11, 2004).]

  13. #33
    demerl51 Guest

    Post

    Hi Jim and Everyone,

    >Sounds kinda mean, but if the "caliper"
    >view is correct, a generation of bees may
    >have to suffer to build your smaller comb.
    >I like the "caliper" view better, as it
    >is the simplest answer, and requires no
    >additional memory or "intelligence".

    >One question that might shed light would
    >be to examine the size of drone cells in
    >a "regressed" colony. How big are they?

    My observations show the bees have adjustable calipers :> )

    When I placed 'regressed bees' from a small cell hive into a top bar hive. they didn't construct one size worker cell. And they didn't build one size drone cell either. Drones were normally raised in a range of cell sizes which generally started around 5.9mm. I used that as a dividing line in my cell size distributions although a few drones were raised in smaller cells.

    So the drones, themselves, were of different sized, just like the workers. And these size difference can clearly be seen at the hive entrance.

    The problems I encountered with getting bees to drawn out small cell size comb was the motivation for building a top bar hive. I didn't have a good answer to this question: If small cell comb is so natural, why is it so hard to get it drawn out?

    My top bar hive observations indicate that it is not hard to get it drawn out. It's not dependand on the type of bee, it's state of regression, time of year or type of flow. But location is everything. I placed a top bar with starter small cell sized foundation starter strips inside the broodnest during the major flow. It was put next to combs that were actively being built in the small cell size range. The bees reworked these starter strips to a large size and then built the remaining comb just like its neighbors with the large cell size at the top and the small cell sizes at the bottom. A few inches made all the difference. Broodnest structure overruled the starter strips cell size.

    The bees aren't easily fooled concerning the broodnest structure. It's genetically hardwired into them. And I think that this causes the differences in comb speed/ease seen between natural and foundation based comb.

    Yet, the broodnest can easily be disrupted. The bees don't seem to be hardwired to handle comb that shifts, rotates or seperates :> )

    Regards
    Dennis
    )

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