Results 1 to 16 of 16
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, United States
    Posts
    397

    Wink

    Hi to anyone checking in. I have just been asked by Mr Barry Birkey if I would take over as moderator of the "Making Cell Calls" for the Bulletin Board.

    I have never done anything like this before, however, I would like to have a go at it as I have been told many beekeepers have questions now concerning cell size and how honeybees react to its changing.

    Consequently, any person having questions on any topic related to cell size, or any questions related to the cell size map, or Saga, or articles relative thereto posted at this site under POV LUSBY I now guess I will try to answer answer/explain for you if I can.

    Any dialogue back will be more than welcomed for continuing discussion or opening up more threads.

    Sincerely,

    Dee A. Lusby


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2000
    Location
    Sequim / Wa / USA
    Posts
    175

    Post

    Hello Dee
    I have posted about what I found and also you have me on your list as well as my friend Dan Harvey.Any comments of your's relative to my posts are certainly appreciated. Generally , I try anything at least once , provide it makes sense.
    Whatever you have researched and concluded I cannot challenge because I have no proof either way.
    I have however some thoughts on the matter.
    As you saw from my posts the measurement go all over the place. From 4.75 to whatever I said.The 4.75 measure came from a newly established very small colony within a soffit.
    No queen was visible , figuring it had a Virgin. It absconded the next day after hiving. ( Very much regretted since it was definitely from a survivor colony). There was of course no brood nor eggs. No visible mite ( Varroa) infestation.
    Now , this colony is in an area up around 1500 feet elevation. Miles from now where in wild bush.
    Other measures are also in part from suvivor colonies which vary widely in width . The widest are most likely drone cells. The measure of TBH is also random . Those bees have build their combs from starter strips 3 years ago. On occasion there was only a wax strip left without pattern imprint.
    Our location jibes with your area map and should have the 5.2 measure as standard. With the exception of drone and honey cells the measure is indeed from 5.1 to 5.2. I will however keep on measuring.
    What sort of puzzles me is the concerted effort to reduce the size to 4.9 when the map shows the regional size of 5.2. Why bother to reduce further ??? If I am not mistaken relates your effort to the
    reduction of mite infestation and I can readily see the reason.
    As Far as this mite stuff goes , having 18 colonies this year, I found one mite in a drone cell , one mite on a bee's leg. Zero to 50 at one time on one of my screened bottom boards ( Normal drop off) and 2 to 3 with the sugar shaking method. I find this method unreliable as the one with ether . It can be at best misleading. I do have lovely anecdotal proof for that. So what I am getting at is : Is it required to reduce the size of cell in this climate and elevation to 4.9 or can we leave it as is? Our location is opposite Vancouver island along the strait of Juan de Fuca south of Victoria / BC.
    Best wishes
    H. E. Garz

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, United States
    Posts
    397

    Post

    Hi Helmut

    It was very nice to see your post.

    You wrote: "Our location jibes with your area map and should have the 5.2 measure as standard. With the exception of drone and honoey cells the measure is indeed from 5.1 to 5.2. I will however keep on measuring.

    What sort of puzzles me is the concerted effort to reduce the size to 4.9 when the map shows the regional size of 5.2. Why bother to reduce further??? If I am not mistaken relates your effort to the reduction of mite infestation and I can readily see the reason."

    You also wrote " As you saw from my posts the measurement go all over the place. From 4.75 to whatever I said. The 4.75 measure came from a newly established very small colony within a soffit."

    Reply:

    Helmut, if I remember correctly you had said the measurements averaged from 4.9 - 5.5 with drone brood being in a much higher range up into 7.0 or higher.

    This is all good what you are seeing and shows many domestic hives have been or are in the immediate area, but also there are still quite a few survivor natural sized colonies, and some even established survivor colonies, with cocoons regulating them even smaller, than the norm. But this is fantastic to find for genetic variability, for you have actually seen that it is there and available, though in small numbers if a beekeeper wants to go and seek.

    However, I am puzzled? I have just looked at the map for the strait of Juan de Fuca south of Victoria, B.C. (please see map at the following)
    http://www.beesource.com/pov/lusby/therm_map.htm

    I can see the grey area on the map for vancouver island across from mainland and I can see the blue area on the map for British Columbia, but I cannot find any dark green area near you.

    Can you please explain to me how you interpreted the map to arrive at the regional size of 5.2 you are quoting?

    Other than that you seem to be doing extremely well in seeing the variation of domestic sizing you need to downsize from vs. the natural sizing you need to go towards with your bees.

    I'd love to help you reach your goal with advise if you so want. You have a great start on it. Keep going.

    Dee A. Lusby

    [This message has been edited by Dee A. Lusby (edited 10-07-2000).]

    [This message has been edited by Dee A. Lusby (edited 10-07-2000).]

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2000
    Location
    Sequim / Wa / USA
    Posts
    175

    Question

    Hi Dee
    Thanks for the speedy reply.
    Yes , Now, I am puzzled also. I have wondering about that before . On the map one finds a narrow band from what looks like the northern tip of Vancouver island down to the southern Tip of Baja. The climatic condition vary a heck of a lot along this line. Here again , the color of this band (left of blue) appears green as predominant color. A close look says ; it could be gray.------- SHAME ON ME
    Ok , sorry I caused a raising of eyebrow. I made the error Not to scroll further down to see the temp averages !!!! Therefore, I am back to the old drawing board.
    I will keep posting if anything exciting happens or have questions
    Best wishes
    H E G -

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, United States
    Posts
    397

    Wink

    Hi Juandefuca

    It was nice to hear from you again and that you will be back and keep posting if anything exciting happens or have questions.

    I have now gone back to your post of 10-6-2000 11:26PM. I wanted you to relook at the map first and see your thoughts on it which you have done.

    You wrote on 10-6-2000, "Is it required to reduce the size of cell in this climate and elevation to 4.9 or can we leave it as is? Our location is opposite Vancouver island along the strait of Juan de Fuca south of Victoria/BC."

    Since you have been writing about TBHs you have, technically you can do want you feel you are comfortable with pertaining to field management.

    However, one gets out what they put in relative to results; and, you have said that you are, I think, using some biological controls i.e. powdered sugar for one. Also I think you have mentioned in the past about having a lot of drone brood and drone/honey cells which you cut or cull.

    For new combs built you are in a natural range area for 4.9 - 5.1, but as combs age you will find the bees will narrow them somewhat as cocoons build up with successive brood cycles.

    Therefore, it should be normal for you to find feral colonies with combs built measuring in the 4.7 and 4.8 range. I think you mentioned already seeing 4.75 cell size in a swarm you caught that absconded.

    Now how does this relate to the question you posed? - namely, is it required to reduce the size of cell in this climate and elevation.?

    I would say it is only necessary if you want the bees to exist without supplemental help in the equipment you keep them corraled for domestic purposes. You will find the more the bees approach the upper limit of the sizing range, they will need help on your part to survive todays problems of parasitic mites that have been stirred up to their full reproductive capability by use of various treatments.

    You have already seen in the natural state that bees go smaller naturally, and if a beekeeper were to think about it, bees by narrowing cells with age, technically are always in a mode of sizing down in nature, towards a state of more variability for breeding purposes and survivalability, rather than less, as would be the case if they were forced to hybridize larger, which would tend to create more factors for less variability in breeding and survivalability.

    How odd it is that our industry has been on a road of honeybee enlargement for a good 100 years opposite to what occurs in nature for evolution naturally?

    Therefore, it would be reasonable for you to want to help your bees to size back down to cell size self-sufficiency, relative to mites and secondary diseases, to avoid excessive work on your part, as you acquire more bee numbers that would eat into your free time and enjoyment.

    I hope this answers your latter question I overlooked? If I need to broaden any of my comments above please let me know and I will try to explain more fully especially as relates to breeding variability and survivalability for it really needs to be basically understood by beekeepers.

    Best Regards to you


    Dee A. Lusby





  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, United States
    Posts
    397
    On Sun 8 Oct 2000, 19:18:53, Helmut E. Garz wrote the following:


    Hello Dee

    The question of cell size came to my mind again this afternoon whilst checking the state of another two colonies .

    Since I was introduced to your theory or facts, I keep an eye on things rather at random and not always thorough.

    First of all, as I said before: I have no quarrel with the reduced cell size and it's effect on the propagation of Varroa. By obvious evidence of the preference of the mite toward drone size cells and may be the incubation period thereof,can be accepted that as proof .

    One can also understand the evidence of mite propagation in worker cells if not sufficient drone cells are available. After all, those mites have their survival interest as any other critter.

    Today again it came to my attention that some worker cells appeared smaller than other cells, specifically compared to the drone and honey cells, which is not news.

    May I say that I did not try in any way to modify the cell size. Whatever comes about is happening on it's own and I exerted no influence on it. Also, I report what I see, measure and neither add nor detract of evidence,even though what I observe is mostly anecdotal.The following questions and statements came about this afternoon.

    #1 The foundation cell size according to the imprint is not larger than 5 m/m.

    #2 Worker cell size is minus 5 m/m

    #3 Drone cell size is larger than 5m/m and in some cases very much larger.So are honey cells, but they vary in size very randomly.

    #4 If the manufactured imprints are 5m/m and the bees build accordingly, why are drone cells larger when the imprints are smaller?

    #5 Why do workers build smaller cells when the imprints are larger?

    #6 Should one present imprints of smaller (4.9) size will workers build larger measures?

    #7 If worker cells get smaller( Less than 4.9) with age, do the bees become still smaller.That appears to be the case, because a number of workers ARE occasionally indeed smaller than their sisters.

    Now, today I took some measures. As I said, combs are drawn from the foundations
    of supply houses.

    I measured 10 cells as recommended. The total length dimension is 5.35 cm(inside to inside dimension) That brings us to each cell 0.535 cm or 5.35 m/m.

    The cell walls are close to 1/2 (0.5 ) m/m. There are 9 cell walls to consider which has to be deducted from the total since the inside dimension are of value. 9 times .5 m/m = 4.5 m/m.that brings us to my estimation to 4.9 m/m per cell. Measuring an individual cell wall to cell wall is indeed 4.9 m/m.

    I measure with a toolmakers steel rule with 1/2 m/m increments as smallest measurable entity. I also use a magnifying glass to enlarge the spot measured. Even at that I will not claim accuracy smaller than 1/2 m/m . That brings me to an accuracy of plus / minus 1/2 m/m.

    Final question: Does 1/2 m/m make a rabbit fat? Does the queen's abdomen diameter
    play a role?


    Bear in mind that my questions and comments are by no means biased nor do they represent critique. I try to look at things in a neutral fashion unless it is an obvious falsehood. But I am curious by nature and like to go to the bottom of things. I also realise that I am not involved in research such as yourself and make errors. But who does not?


    I certainly appreciate your thoughts and comments if you feel so inclined.

    Another unrelated question: If drones cannot feed themselves why are drones sticking their heads into cells? Empty one's as well as with honey. I am not sure how to address this question to drones.

    Wishing you the very best,


    Helmut Garz

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2000
    Location
    Sequim / Wa / USA
    Posts
    175

    Lightbulb

    Today I checked the last two Langstroth hives and found an excellent pattern of drawn comb , which is the normal foundation as base having a 5 m/m imprint to start the cells. Again, all cells are uniform throughout , worker cell as well as honey or pollen cells.The inside measure is approaching 4.9 m/m , never more than 5. The drone cells are also uniform with a 6 m/m inside measure. Today is the first time I find this cell consistency whilst others are not always as clean as those checked today. But there is evidence of varroa on the bottom board. There was none in the sugar shaking test.That brings me to the last check ,which are two TBH hives of which one has langstroth dimensions and frames with foundations as well as those having been build by bees from a starter strip.If weather holds out , it will be done tomorrow. And that will conclude this years observations.
    JDF

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, United States
    Posts
    397
    I would like to respond to some very good questions put forth to me by Helmut E. Garz on Sun, 8 Oct 2000, 19:18:53

    <<#4 If the manufactured imprints are 5m/m and the bees build accordingly, why are drone cells larger when the imprints are smaller?>>

    There is a constant ratio for cell building that bees keep to when drawing out combs for use within a colony. That ratio is simply stated as 3, 4, 5. It pertains to the size difference that beekeepers can easily see relative to workers, drones and queen bees.

    For every 5 worker bees necessatating 5 worker cells, you will have appproximately in the same space, 4 drone cells or 3 queen cells built.

    This the bees build automaticly, so depending upon the time of the year, you will see them building the bigger drone combs relative to the smaller brood comb or small cell imprint you are using.

    <<#5 Why do workers build smaller cells when the imprints are larger?>>

    <<#6 Should one present imprints of smaller (4.9) size will the workers build larger measures?>>

    <<#7 If worker cells get smaller (less than 4.9) with age, do the bees become still smaller?>>

    To answer and give insight into the next inquiries I need to give a little historical background.

    In both the 1891 and 1908 editions of ABC and XYZ of Bee Culture it was written that "Several times it has been suggested that we enlarge the race of honey-bees by giving them larger cells; and some circumstances seem to indicate that something may be done in this direction, although I have little hope of any permanent enlargement in size, unless we combine with it the idea of selecting the largest bees to propagate from." ALSO WRITTEN on the same pages was, "Worker-bees reared in drone-cells are, if I am correct, sometimes extra large in size, but as to whether we can make them permanently larger by such a course, I am inclined to doubt. The difficulty, at present, seems to be the tendency to rear a great quantity of useless drones." This idea came about, because it was noticed by some beekeepers back then that bees sometimes reared worker-brood in drone-comb, where compelled to, from want of room and inadequate number of brood-cells available.

    The problem was over come by gradual increase of foundation sizing over the course of the 1900 century in conjunction with the selection of larger so-called better queens.

    Now this idea for bigger bees came about for want of better bees, that could gather more honey, and of course bigger bees could gather more than any smaller ones and even had longer tongues to do so with.

    As far back as 1913 in ABC and XYZ of Bee Culture it was written that the larger portion of the cells in a given hive would be found to measure about 5 to the inch. Meaning some would be smaller, some the same size, or some even larger. This approximate sizing was called worker-cells that could be used for rearing worker-brood, but also for storing honey or pollen.

    It was also said in 1913 at the same time that a smaller number of cells will be found to measure about 4 to the inch, which also meant that they could be a little smaller, the same, or a little larger. These were called drone-cells and were identified as being used for rearing drone-brood, or for storing honey, BUT SELDOM for pollen or worker-brood unless the bees were compelled (forced) to do so by lack of enough combs of the proper sizing.

    Also early on it was learned and written concerning the size of greater worker bees born out of bigger cells, that many qualities were NOT heritable/hereditary, so that a swarm from a colony on enlarged worker cells of 700 in freedom (nature) goes back to 734 cells and after that goes back to 835-870 cells.

    Now, just what does this have to do with the questions asked? Well, frankly, we have gone so much larger with our bees today, that they in many cases are completely seperate from feral bees anymore as to how they interact.

    You place small foundation into a colony at the wrong time of the year and by instinct the bees will automatically ruin it and try to build it larger necessatating much culling.

    You also can place large foundation into a colony at the wrong time of the year and also by instinct the bees will automatically ruin it and try to build it smaller necessatating much culling too.

    So to answer the questions, what is going on must be explained a little bit more.

    Most beekeepers are used to drawing wax when their bees are at their largest inclination for drawing combs, - namely, those used for honey production. These are the larger cell sizes our industry went to during the course of this past century,and are drawn on main flows, and today beekeepers have little problem doing it. They know they must wait until the bees are whitening combs at least 3/4 down the frames on a good flow to insert new combs for the most part.

    But there is another whole concept in drawing combs, namely, those combs used for brood that is completely different.

    The inclination for drawing smaller combs for the broodnest only happens when the bees first brood-up in the spring, restart drawing combs immediately following swarming; and/or restart brooding following broodnest turnover in the fall for going into winter by changing over from summer to winter carryover bees.

    So why do workers build smaller cells when the imprints are larger? They do so,mainly, because the time of the year or circumstances dictate, that they need brood combs built in ratio to the larger cells, they are being given.They could be given the larger imprints(honey comb size cells) first thing in the spring, with nature saying instead, brood combs of smaller size need to be built instead, or the bees are of a small cast delineation that don't fit the larger combs (i.e. caucasian)

    Also, should one present imprints of smaller (4.9) size will workers build larger measures? Yes, most definitely if given too late in the season when the inclination of the bees is for honey storage on a main flow and not for more brood, or the bees are of a large caste delineation that don't fit the smaller combs (i.e.carnolian,large hybrid Italian).

    If the worker cells get smaller (less than 4.9) with age, do the bees become still smaller? Yes, and this is the natural order of life for bees. They will build combs a certain size and then in a few short seasons by cocoon build-up, the cells naturally go smaller. This allows for a wide variability in genetics for mating.

    To go bigger would have then have the opposite effect, creating slower and less variable genetics for mating, besides creating imbalance problems with natural flora leading to still more problems.

    Now a final question asked was:
    <<Final question: Does 1/2m/m make a rabbit fat? Does the queen's abdomen diameter play a role?>>

    Maybe a 1/2 m/m doesn't make a rabbit fat, but it certainly has a bearing upon the size of a worker honeybee, because most beekeepers fail to realize that when you expand the sides of the parallel walls of the cell, you are expanding it in six directions at the same time and not just the two most think about. That expansion in six directions at the same time adds up fast, especially, since the size of the worker cell dictates the size of the thorax of the worker bee, which then correspondingly dictates the sizes of the rest of the bee's body parts.

    Does the queen's abdomen play a role? Maybe a little I would say. Saw it written early on that overly large queens were observed to be turning like corkscrews to fit into smaller cells to lay, thus slowing down the egg laying process and necessating the need also for larger combs by those observing. But here the question should be asked, if this was actually the case in nature, would the colony survive to perpetuate this overly large type queen?

    Now I don't know if I have answered your questions. I hope I did. If I did not please let me know and I will try again.

    For more information please see: http://www.beesource.com/pov/lusby/root1891c.htm


    If someone else would like to respond also, please feel welcome to do so. Maybe you can shed more light onto the subject for understanding also.


    Dee A. Lusby



    [This message has been edited by Dee A. Lusby (edited 10-17-2000).]

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, United States
    Posts
    397

    Post

    Here is something for beekeepers to think about.

    Just what is natural cell size by range within a colony of bees, whether in a feral setting or in a boxed hive?

    How does natural cell size drawing of wax tendencies change by season to season throughout the beekeeping year?

    Can working opposite this tendency create work and problems for the average beekeeper in the way combs are drawnout?

    Comments - rational????


    Dee A. Lusby

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
    Location
    Birmingham, West Midlands, UK
    Posts
    751

    Post

    Hi All.

    What do we mean when we say that broodcomb cells 'get smaller with time'? I'm looking at a photo of cross-sections of old and new comb in the September 2000 edition of ABJ, p. 725. The base of the older cells has grown much thicker, but as far as I can see the side walls have not thickened at all. what effect would this have on the size of the workers hatching out of these cells?

    Regards,

    Robert Brenchley

    RSBrenchley@aol.com

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, United States
    Posts
    397

    Post

    Robert Brenchley on 10-29-2000 at 11:03 AM posted some very good observations and question.

    Robert wrote: "The base of the older cells has grown much thicker, but as far as I can see the side walls have not thickened at all. What effect would this have on the size of the workers hatching out of these cells?

    Reply:

    Well, Robert to reply to you on the American Bee Journal article written Titled "Disease Prevention and Comb Culling" I will also have to have you look at page 726 besides page 725.

    First of all the picture on page 726 is showing a frame with what was called 4-gilt edge comb foundation that was made about 20 smaller than todays' modern foundations sold on our world market of 5.4mm sizing. This in itself is a sizeable difference in sizing. Now 4-gilt edge foundation was the for-runner to durigilt plastic base foundation the Dadants currently make if I remember correctly growing-up. So to begin with the author doesn't know what he is technically refereing to in talking about the combs getting smaller with age.

    Now concerning your question above. Even with the combs being about 18% smaller as the author says, you have CORRECTLY noted that the cell walls have remained the same. This is an accurate observation I would say. You also correctly observe that the bees thicken the base and not the cell walls.

    What this then does is make the cells of the thickened base combs extend a little further which the bees do willingly, and which we as beekeepers cut off during extracting.

    Technically, there is nothing wrong with these combs if they are not diseased and in fact today, it is the reason many old beekekeping families are still in business hanging on with mites around. But problems can arise if chemicals are used on the combs. I shall attempt to explain further.

    When we first shook our outfit down beginning the the 1980s we first sorted our frames in use and put all big foundation, namely 5.4mm up into the honey supers, and at the same time put all smaller frames down into the broodnest position. We had much 4-gilt edge at the time and we were very grateful for it. We then spend 10 years phasing in 5.0mm foundation into our broodnest converting our combs.

    We found that our bees would live with trachael mites quite well with this size and built out outfit back-up in numbers to between 900 - 1,000 colonies. When varroa hit in the early 1990s we figured it would be good enough for them also. But it turned out not to be true.

    With two mites now to contend with, acarine (trachael) and varroa too, the stress load was higher for secondary diseases. The hives would live with varroa also, but they lost more and more in production. Now you have good years and you have bad years with weather and plants to contend with. In good years we did fine. But in bad years the secondary diseases came on and multiplied. With the added labor needed in the field because we did not want to use chemicals and disese mounting during bad years to breakeven with money, we knew we had to correct further.

    We knew going smaller handled the problem once and being committed to biological beekeeping and knowing that technically in a hormonious state with mites in our colonies there should be no disease we decided to to from 5.0mm to 4.9mm and that short jump down solved out problem. But to get back to your question.

    The size of the old cells on the old frames were good, but not good enough under heavy stress load years. Now take this and for a beekeeper not knowing the comb history and being told he has to use chemicals then you initiate what is called a pesticide treadmill. Rachael Carson wrote about such a treadmill in her book “Silent Spring”. What this means is that basically, once you treat, you are forced to treat and then the treatments grow more stronger with time. But Why? and what does it do here in this case?

    First it makes for mites resistant to chemicals. Then the mites that are resistant to the chemicals, being the only ones left, since you can never kill them all, grow in numbers. Then what is a workable situation making honey at breakeven and very labor intensive becomes worse. The balance is tipped towards more labor and chemicals to control and pretty soon disease grows out of proportion and labor and chemical expense eat you up and the beekeeper is forced out.

    The older families that have been hanging on would be the last to hold out. First they normally own everything and second they have the smaller combs to make the time frame longer to get to the end solution. Which in this cse is either change to a more natural system to control costs or use chemicals and throw yourself out of balance more with the situation and let stress disease, now helped by chemicals, gain more resistance, while at the same time the mites also gain resistance and are put into an artificial situation of increased reproductive capability. So what you end up with is an on the line holding pattern thrown into one of chaos by use of chemicals.

    Now I don’t know if I have answered you observation and question Robert. I hope I have given you some more insite into old combs and maybe our mite problem today at the same time though. If I haven’t please let me know where I have failed you and I will try to explain maybe in a different way to try to help you understand more.

    Your comments and others are always welcomed.

    Thank you for writing.

    Dee A. Lusby

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Location
    Casper, Wy, USA
    Posts
    3

    Lightbulb

    Hello Everybody,

    Until this last season I would raise thousands of queen cells for commercial beekeepers using their breeding stock. The comb used in the breeders was drawn from duragilt foundation and was very dark and old. After grafting thousands of larva using a Chinese grafting tool, a feel for grafting larva soon develops and to a great degree supplants the slower more visually based methods.

    Sometimes a newly drawn duragilt base comb will be used in the breeder. A noticible difference occures when grafting from this comb. I can no longer just slide the tool down one edge of the cell and rotate it slightly to transfer the larva onto the tool. I must revert to the more visual methods as the tool is just as likely to miss the larva or push it to one side.

    A change likewise occures after grafting thousands of larva off of newly drawn comb and then using dark, old comb from a breeder. My first reaction is how much smaller the diameter is and how did I ever get that Chinese tool into that small hole.

    Has anyone else had a similiar experience?

    Best Wishes
    Dennis Murrell

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, United States
    Posts
    397

    Cool

    Well, Dennis has certainly stated in his 11 Nov 2000 05:29 PM post an interesting observation.

    Dennis has observed that combs get darker with age and also narrower on the inside cell dimensions and that this is readily evident to beekeepers during grafting.

    I would imagine that most beekeepers grafting on a frequent basis have observed the same conditions and would be hesitant to shift back and forth between new and old frames for grafting, once they have fallen into a natural rhythum of movement and pickup of grafting larvae with the grafting needle. I know that I certainly have seen it. Any others?

    My question here is: If it seems that the combs naturally go smaller with the bees working/using them, as a direction they seem to want to go, then why are we always wanting to force them to go the other way bigger, contrary to what they seem to be naturally doing?

    Certainly the bees know best what they themselves need to survive. Shouldnot we follow them for what they want?

    More thoughts here anyone?

    Dee A. Lusby

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, United States
    Posts
    397

    Post

    Juandefuca on Fri 1 Dec 2000 14:05:01 wrote the following

    Greetings!

    Here are some of my observations with different methods of measure.

    Measures of combs, Sample Number 1

    Full comb on standard foundation (Plastic) about 4 years of age, color: brown

    Cell depth11, m/m, 12 m/m, 11m/m, 12 m/m12.5 m/m, 11.5 m/m, and 12 m/m

    Average: 11.71 Tolerance: plus – minus 1m/m

    Worker cell distance of 10 cells center to center: 53.5 m/m, 53.5 m/m, 54.0 m/m, 54.5 m/m, 53.5 m/m, 53.5 m/m, 54.0 m/m, 54.0 m/m, 53.5m/m, 54.0m/m. Average width: 53.8 m/m.

    The measures were taken by the pin method and the tolerance is negligible

    Pins are centered and checked with watchmaker’s loupe.

    Length of dead bee pulled from cell: 13 m/m. #1: 15 m/m. bee #2: 14.5 m/m bee #3 13.5 in length. Width of bees above: abdomen widest spot: 5 m/m

    This comb consisted of worker cells with food and empties only. No drone cells. Cells relative uniform and good pattern

    Sample Number 2

    Portions of very old drone comb. Uniform straight line. Color: black very dark brown.

    Origin: Unknown number of years in house soffit. (Estimated 5 to 10 years.)

    Cell distance of 10 cells: 60.5, 60.0, 60.6, 60.95, 60.9, 60.9, 60.8 m/m: average distance 60.7 m/m

    Average depth 14 m/m

    The wall thickness between cells is very difficult to establish since it consists out of several layers of tissue thin sheets. However, the thickness can be established by various measures, incl. micrometer measure and it is apparent that the average would still be.

    .5 m/m, minus 1/10. The thickness also varies with depth. The bottom would be in the 1 m/m range whilst the top rim serves as a *** to prevent loss of contents is also roughly 1 m/m Therefore it can be safely assumed that the 4.5 m/m or 3.6 m/m be deducted from the total measure of length to arrive at the single cell width.

    The result is: Drone cell width on the average applying the 3.6 m/m = 6.4 m/m or using the 4.5 measure = 6.5 m/m across walls

    Measuring a single cell center to center varies from 6.0 to 6.5 m/m minus one cell wall measure.

    Sample #3: Newly drawn drone cells Width 6.5 m/m .The wall are too thin to measure (Tissue paper one ply.

    10 cells center-to-center 64.5 m/m

    Sample #4

    Foundation: Center to center for 10 cells 55 m/m. Theoretical width per cell 5.5 m/m minus cell wall thickness =5.1 m/m.

    Sample #5

    Relatively new comb chunks. Color: light brown.

    Not able to measure 10 cells. Measuring 4 or 5 is not accurate because of cell distortion

    Measuring single intact cells center-to-center wall = 4.5 m/m to 5.5 m/m.

    This sample comes from manufactured plastic base foundation.

    Sample #6

    This is old brood foundation by bees, not manufactured Age 10 to 5 years.

    Center to center for 10 cell measures 50.05m/m to 54 m/m, average = 52.3 m/m: 10= 5.2 m/m per cell not deducted for wall thickness

    Sample #7

    This is also an old worker cell naturally drawn comb

    The applied measuring methods were 4 fold. : Eyeball with loupe and ruler of ½ m/m graduations.

    Pins between cell walls, (Inside measure) =5m/m

    Pins outside of cell walls in adjacent cells touching the outside of measured walls: 6m/m.

    Measuring 10 cells, 55 m/m

    All measures in these data can have a tolerance of .5 m/m plus or minus. Some of the combs are distorted and soft.

    My former measures from various other combs of other colonies are within these measures. Nothing exceeds 5.2 max or 4.7 min applied to worker brood cells.

    More precise measures involve pass and no pass inserts with 1/10 m/m graduations but encountering the variables of the natural combs of 1m/m it appears to me is of no consequence since build up in wall thickness over time alters the inside dimensions anyhow.

    Another question arises is the environmental adaptation of living creatures If Varroa now prefers the larger cells, it will over time adapt to smaller cells

    Varroa has been present somewhere and spread from the original area. Therefore the bees from that area had or still have resistance to the mites and over time this will also occur with our bees.

    Questions

    How do you determine the percentage of mites in your colonies? What are the measures of your bees?

    Has your location i.e. influence over the mite propagation? (Altitude, temperature, humidity?)

    There is the debate over the size of worker cells. To my surprise I became aware of the large foundation manufactured. Is it possible that those are errors of vendors passing drone foundation to the unsuspecting public by either design or ignorance? I have never encountered here in Washington anything larger than as mentioned in my posts. But then, I have not been everywhere either

    Lastly I try to see what I can do with cubic content realizing there are rather great variations, mainly because of aging and size (Cells, That is) ignoring bottom prism.

    It looks like a wall size is 3 m/m x 6 = 18: by 4 =4.5 x 4.5 =20.3(Area) x11 (Depth) = 223.3 cu/m/m.

    Happy being

    Juandefuca




  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, United States
    Posts
    397

    Post

    This post was originally posted by Johnsewell on 12-07-2000, 04:31 PM under the topic "Commercially Converting to Organic/Natural/Traditional way of Beekeeping", but has been moved to this topic heading to be more in line with the subject matter so stated:

    John Sewell wrote:

    Are there any differences in yield per colony of smaller bees (are there more small bees as logic seems to dictate?)? Is it any different extracting from smaller comb?

    Thanks for all help so far.

    John

    Reply:

    We have seen no reduced yield in colonies converted once combs are drawn out and bees are using them. If anything you will find you will have to work the bees more often as they tend to grow so much faster and bring in stores faster also, so instead of 6 week rotation, you might want to work with 4.

    You will find there is no real difference in extracting from smaller combs per se, as the methodology is still the same, though you might have to gear your gear rotation ratios pertaining to speed slower to accomodate the smaller size to keep from tearing up freshly drawn combs (once toughened this problem is minimal).

    Sincerely,

    Dee

    [This message has been edited by Dee A. Lusby (edited January 18, 2001).]

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, United States
    Posts
    397

    Post

    This is in reply to Juandefuca's post of Fri 1 Dec 2000 at 14:05:01 when he wrote on some of his observations with different methods of cell measure.

    Juandefuca wrote:

    #6
    This is old brood foundation by bees, not manufactured Age 10 to 5 years.

    Center to center for 10 cell measures 50.05m/m to 54 m/m,average = 52.3 m/m: 10 = 5.2 m/m per cell not deducted for wall thickness

    Reply:

    This is a sample very good to see Juandefuca.
    It shows a spread of mating resulting in varing subcaste sizes within the colony concerned.

    The 5.4 m/m size would signify mating of domestic large to domestic large.

    The 50.05 m/m size would signify mating if a once or twice retrogressed subcaste.

    I would not recommend running the differing cell measurements together as they probably do not appear that way on the comb. They probably appear as patches of varying sizing with transitioning cells inbetween, with each individual subcaste represented making its own varing patch. Some the same, some bigger, and some smaller.

    Again nice to see this.

    Juandefuca wrote:

    Sample #7
    This is also an old worker cell naturally drawn comb.

    Measuring 10 cells, 55 m/m

    My former measures from various other combs of other colonies are within these measures. Nothing exceeds 5.2 max or 4.7 min applied to worker brood cells.

    Reply:

    Please see reply to Sample #6 Juandefuca. But please note, this is an even better sample you have here because the high end is 5.2 max which is a first retrogression down and the min is 4.7 which is at the least a full second retrogression down.

    So you have great variability of subcastes in your immediate area and natural feral stock if caught to work with, which should adapt very quickly to small natural size foundation of 4.9 m/m sizing, and if anything pull the sizing very accurately or even pull it smaller.

    Juandefuca, you wrote further here on Sample #7:

    Another question arises is the environmental adaptation of living creatures. If Varroa now prefers the larger cells, it will over time adapt to smaller cells.

    Reply:

    No. This has not occurred naturally in Nature over millions of years, so why should it now unnaturally do it? All that will happen is that the bees will be given a chance to mimic Apic Cerana and live in harmony with the mites. Nothing more, nothing less.

    Juandefuca then writes some more general questions:

    How do you determine the percentage of mites in your colonies? what are the measures of your bees?

    Reply:

    Don't look, don't need to look, because if I am not going to treat and they are no problem, the economics do not make sense.

    Has your location i.e. influence over the mite propagation? (Altitude, temperature, humidity?)

    Probably it does. We do not have long phoretic states with down times in brood barely being 4-6 weeks most at times. this does not leave much time for off season grooming to get rid of mites, instead giving more time to reproduction of same.

    Temperature also throughout most of the year stimulates mite reproduction, as does humidity.

    There is debate over the size of worker cells...It it possible that those are errors of vendors passing drone foundation to the unsuspecting public by either design or ignorance?

    Reply:

    I would say ignorance anymore by lack of education to the general industry, as to what the original foundation sizes were designed for in usage thru various experiments.

    After all Juandefuca, look how many beekeepers still don't know that for 100 years the industry sized upwards trying to produce a better, bigger bee with longer tongues, so they could gather more honey.

    Technically, we have a lack of education problem. There is research yes, but education to the industry for pros and cons and how to use such, is very mucy lacking I feel.

    Comments?

    Very best regards,

    Dee


Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Ads