is it possible to shake bees off 5.4 on too 4.9 already drawed out. then with a queen excluder,control the hive for one cycle,so the 4.9 bees that are born can draw the next box of 4.9 for better results.
I do it on wax coated plastic comb (PermaComb) and it works fine. My guess is that it will work most of the time. I had a couple of queens who wouldn't or couldn't lay in the small cell, but most of them seem to prefer it. Where will you get drawn 4.9mm comb?
Yes. Finding the drawn 4.9 combs is the hard part.
i have some bees i regressed last year, the comb looks good an measurers good. also a bee keepper that i am aquainted with has some,witch i am hopping will sell me some also.
Ok. Ya'll are peaking my interest in the 4.9 mm small cell from Dadant. This draws from a couple of threads. The first being saving the comb from feral hive and using it when capturing them. The second the 4.9 mm small cell.
I have built some extra full depth boxes and frames - I haven't purchased the foundation yet. I know of two feral hives that I am going after this spring. Hopefully they made it through the winter.
Do you think I should save as much of the comb as possible and tie it into the frames with plastic bailing twine. Then use 4.9 mm Dadant for the other frames?
Brood comb works well tied into frames and I've often left it there. The bees will fill in the gaps and attach it to the frame. We would all be curious about cell sizes in the feral combs if you would measure and report them also.
Honey comb does not work well tied into frames. It's too heavy (from the honey) and too fragile (no cocoons) and besides it probably won't be small cell. From my experience the honey will probably be anywhere from 5.2mm to 6.6mm.
I'll have to do that. I have never measured cell size before.
I am building the Bee Vac that is on the Beesource plans page. I am almost finished with it.
It is going to be interesting. One batch of bees is in a church. The other is in an old tree. I am going by the church tomorrow to see if the bees are flying. It should be around 60 tomorrow.
You said you have never measured before, do you know how? I had to learn from someone here.
Also, not only would saving the brood comb give you more bees, but it is possible that they draw smaller cells than normal commercial comb. By saving it, you might use it to help regress other hives in the future.
No, I don't know how. I was just reading an article on Beesource related to cell size. It will take awhile to digest it. I also remember seeing something on a ? Canadian beekeepers website defining how to measure it. I am sure he's on the forum. Sorry, just don't remember the name.
Is there an article or information you would suggest reading on this?
The name I was searching for was Allen Dick.
This is the website I was looking at: http://www.honeybeeworld.com/misc/cellcount.htm
[This message has been edited by Caddy (edited February 27, 2004).]
Yes, that would be the correct way, as shown on Allen Dick's site.
Short version of cell size:
Bees in most peoples hives are larger, not because of genetics, but because of the size embossed on the foundation. The bees follow the pattern, make big cells and bees raised in big cells are bigger.
Also brood in large cells are capped a day later and emerge two days later than natural sized cells. This has a dramatic affect on the Varroa mite reproduction.
Large bees have difficulty building the natural sized cells (first generation) because they are building the cell based on a combination of their own body size and their genetic imprint. First generation regression usually only builds 5.15mm cells. Next generation may build 4.9mm to 4.85mm. Next generation will build some cells as small as 4.6mm but the core of the brood nest will be about 4.85mm. Other cells on the edge of the brood nest (being used for brood) will be as large as 5.2mm. Drone cells will be about 6.0mm and honey cells will vary from 5.4 to 6.6mm. With a few execptions in the transitions of course. And the bees will fill brood comb with honey when there is no brood in it and honey cells with brood when the brood nest expands a lot.
The end result, in a natural hive, is a lot of different sized bees with most being small cell sized bees.
Very good information. I see from the table on Allen Dick's page he lists the measurements for Pierco. I have some of it so I can try to duplicate his numbers just for practice.
If I did make the assumption that the feral bees are first generation, then they would probably be on approximately 5.15 mm comb now. So if given the 4.9 mm Dadant, they would make it into approximately 5.15 mm comb?
If they are currently at 5.15mm there is a good chance they will build 4.9mm. The bees will do what they want of course.
I hear you. I am starting my third year in beekeeping now. I am starting to think that some of my hives do things just to prove me wrong.
Well I was writing a response last night after I got home from work, but I ended up passing out in the chair instead. :P
From what 1 or 2 experimenters are saying, it actually seems that the bees prefer neither large cell nor small cell. 4.9 and 5.4 being the "average extremes", the bees seem to have a preference for 5.1ish mm brood cells. 4.9mm still being our prefered size because it greatly helps in the management of mites (including Trachael Mites too it seems ?!?).
For this year I have purchased pacakges of 4.9mm bees for my new hives, and I am goign to let them build their own comb in my TBHs. If a comb has too much large cell, I will move it to the back of the brood chamber and have them build new comb in the front. I am also going to try to split the colonies agressively and purchases queens froma diverse collection of breeders/suppliers to contribute to the genetic pool here. Our bee population has been almost exterminated for various contributing reasons. That's besides the point though.
Scot Mc Pherson
"Linux is a Journey, not a Guided Tour" ~ Me
"Do or not do, there is no try" ~ Master Yoda
I think it is an overgeneralization that bees build any particular size cells for any particular use. My observation on several hives of bees on blank starter strips or just in a box with NO starters at all are that they will build the middle of the brood nest about 4.85mm with some as small as 4.6mm and some as large as 5.1mm. In the middle of the brood nest. As you move out to the edges the cells get larger.
I have not observed any significant amount of brood comb that was larger than 5.15mm although the queen sometimes expands the nest out a bit and lays in some.
Some have observed larger or smaller cells in different places and these variances could be caused by a number of things from climate, altitude, genetics, and even short term memory. If the bees remember building comb of that size recently they tend to build that size from habit.
I have put a lot of them on wax coated PermaComb which is, in effect, forcing them into small cell because the comb is already drawn and can't really be changed. I have also put a lot of them on blank starter strips and let them build what they want. The "small cell" ones from the PermaComb will be more likely to build smaller cells, but I find that even large cell bees quickly revert if you let them do what they want and keep getting them to draw new comb as the next generation emerges.
I've seen a group of bees go from 5.4mm that they were living on down to mostly 4.85mm cells with some 4.6mm cells in a couple of months' time.
I'm sure each group of bees does what they want and that will vary some.
As to genetics, although I'm sure it plays into it somewhere, I have a variety of bees and they all seem to build small cell for the brood chamber if left to themselves.
I am going into winter with only (at best) 10 small cell frames drawn. I would like to get a jump on regressing.
Golden rod is blooming and I don't mind feeding honey to the bees, is it too late to try the wax coated PermaComb method?
How do I coat the plastic? I don't have enough wax for dipping, I am sure.