Michael, you mention using small cell comb quite often.I went looking for it and couldn't find any in the catalogues I have.Where do you get yours?
Dadant and Brushy Mountain have it. Look a bit harder, they like to hide it.
Dadant makes it. Brushy Mt and Dadant sell it. If you are trying to regress, (get from large to small) buy the wax, not the plastic. The large bees HATE the small cell plastic. The wax they can cheat just a little for that first or second generation being raised on it and when they have naturally gotten back to normal size you can give them the plastic.
But I mostly am doing natural cells now. I make foundationless frames or I make blank starter strips and let the bees build what they want. You could just use small cell starter strips.
I gave a box of plastic to half regressed bees (they'd been on 5.1 for 3-4 weeks), and they drew it fine. I agree you're safer with wax, but it all depends on the strain, and how adaptable they are to different sizes.
I am still waiting for one of you small cell devotees (other than Dee Lusby) to come out and say:
"SMALL CELL IS DEFINITELY THE SOLUTION TO VARROA MITES. and here's the proof" or
"MY CELL HIVES HAVE AN INCONSEQUENTIAL POPULATION OF MITES AND HAVE FOR ( ) YEARS"
OK, I'm listening....Michael, Robert ???
I started the regressions two years ago late in the year and did not complete them before the mites got too bad and I used Apistan out of desperation, which did no good at all and the bees all died anyway.
The next year I used FGMO fog to try to keep the mites under control WHILE I regressed and it seemed to keep the mites down pretty well. I used Oxalic in the fall to see how things were going and it killed about 200 mites per hive total with two treatments over a few weeks. So the COMBINATION of FGMO and regressing kept the population of mites down to only about 200 total per hive.
Now I am almost entirely regressed and have not treated at all with anything since spring. I started the year with an official mite count (from the state inspector) of none. I have seen one mite in one drone cell in one hive so far.
What does this all mean? Well, if I had none when I started in the spring, maybe not so much. Maybe they have been exposed to other hives that are dying from mites, maybe they haven't.
So far it seems to be working very well, but it's been a short test of just small cell since I've only been doing JUST that since spring (March).
But it was the capping and post capping times observed in my observation hive that convinced me of it's importance.
I will, as always, keep you all posted.
I buy the wax foundation from Brushy Mountain. I put in 1 in the center then an empty frame (well with an "X" of wire) then more small cell. I push the large cell to the sides and will someday remove those.
I look at my bees really close for mites. I haven't seen any on the bees. But I haven't been into the brood sections to check. None of the drones I pick up wandering around have any mites.
I have SBBs on my hives. And I have a jillion bees.
No chemicals in my hives at all.