Hello Dee, I have contact a bee institute in Germany where they testing and breeding bees on 4.9mm cells for some years also.
Have you studied why your hives survive even if theyÂ’re mite infected?
Do you know exact the reason why this happen or is it a result of many different ways and you find it out by a lucky chance?
IÂ’m not familiar with test on bees, queens and cells they made on the institute but there a few thinks they discovered why it can work and many times not.
One reason I heard that small bees producing much less pheromones on the 8th day than bigger bees and the Varroa goes by the smell from that pheromone on the 9th day into the cells. More pheromone, more interest to go into the cells.
On tests they neutralized the smell totally and no mite entered the cell.
A second reason the find is, that the Africanized bees breeding only 20 instead 21 days and most Varroa are not fully developed and canÂ’t reproduce again.
IÂ’m not a scientist thatÂ’s why I say it simple. A combination of both is a possibility why bees live and survive with the mites.
Do you have blood from Africanized bees in your colonies? What does happen in the long run when you sell queens or colonies to someone else and they breeding with non-Africanized drones? Have you any results?
I would be interested to buy queens for myself and other beekeeper in our association. Can you give a guarantee that the bees will survive here over the years only on small cells or do I need drones from Africanized bees?
The scientists say if breeding queens and they get fertilized with drones like this it will work, but if youÂ’re a beekeeper on a different locality with other drones, it doesnÂ’t work. After a few years the effect is gone and even the bees in 4.9mm cells have a hell of trouble to survive without a treatment.
Hi Alfred and All
Do you have any more details of the research done in Germany on small cell size. Good quality research (or any proper research) seems to be something in very short supply on this subject.
Here's a quote from a web page on bee research on small cell:
"Honeybees fare better against deadly varroa mites if the bees
build smaller versions of the six-sided cubbyholes, called
cells, in which they rear their young and store honey.
Beekeepers predetermine the cell size bees will make by giving
them wax sheets with the base cells imprinted on them. From
these "starter kits," the bees build layers of cells to make
the honeycomb. ARS scientists learned that when bees built
combs from starter kits with a smaller cell size, those bees
infested with the mites had a much higher survival rate 40
percent instead of near zero with the standard size cells.
Researchers suspect the smaller cells result in lower stress
on the bees, increasing the bees' ability to withstand mite
infestations. Some beekeepers have lost half their hives to
mites in recent years. Honeybees annually pollinate US crops
worth $10 billion. Contact Eric Erickson, Carl Hayden Bee
Research Lab, Tucson, AZ, 520-670-6481. (Quarterly Report,
April to June 1997)"