i have just heard about this stuff and have a few questions i catch most ly swarms now how do i get them on small cell and if i get them obn small cell the bee are smaller dose that afect there honey prodution? and if i get them on small cell do i have to treat for mites thans alot SW_TR
>i catch most ly swarms now how do i get them on small cell
Some swarms are from feral bees that are already natural sized (small) bees and if you put them on small cell foundation you'll already have them.
Some swarms are from peoples hives and are raised on "enlarged" foundation (standard foundation) and these will take at least two or three regressions, meaning they drew the comb and raised bees on it who drew the comb and raised bees on it etc. Because each generation is willing to build smaller comb. How small and how fast depends on the bees, but I've seen a swarm do it in a short period of time where the first comb they drew was about 5.2mm and the second was about 5.1 and the third was about 5.0 and the last ones were 4.9 and 4.8 and this wasn't shaking them down, just that the bees that kept emerging were willing to build smaller and smaller. This was natural comb (no foundation). If you keep measuring and moving the larger comb to the outside to emerge and get filled with honey and keep adding foundation to the middle of the brood nest you should eventually end up with 4.9mm cells and small cell bees.
>and if i get them obn small cell the bee are smaller dose that afect there honey prodution?
Yes, it improves honey production.
>and if i get them on small cell do i have to treat for mites
Dee Lusby is raising survivor bees on small cell, feeding only honey, culling any brood that is more then 10% drone and not treating for mites at all. I beleive she now has around a thousand hives.
Since I'm still trying to get to all my hives regressed I'm fogging with FGMO in the meantime.
You don't lose honey production on small cell. You will actually have more bees per broodnest turn over. As for treating for mites there are 2 schools of thought here. One goes cold turkey and selects using survivors with no treatments. The other uses soft chem's such as acids and oils till one is regressed at which pont one should stop the usage. I personally went the hard way. Here's a link to my website http://wave.prohosting.com/clay2720/ Once there click on 4.9mm comb drawing link.
so i have to shake the swarm into 2 deep boxxes with undrown small cell and the when it is all drawn out o take it out and out in neww foundation that will cost about 40 dollars!!!!!!! how long do you think it would take to get a whole hive on small cell? and also the bees that i get are raised on regular foundation. thanks so much SW_TR
so i have to shake the swarm into 2 deep boxxes with undrown small cell
Shake into one hive body. Just like starting a package bees.
neww foundation that will cost about 40 dollars!!!!!!!
This is one of the major reasons there are many against small cell methods due to its labor, cost, risk. But if you ask me it is no more expensive than using chemicals and in the long run probably cheaper. Buy the foundation in bulk to take advantage of savings.
how long do you think it would take to get a whole hive on small cell?
It all depends on the bees and how they progress. Some on the beekeeper and there skill and timing. So any where from 2 to 5 yrs. 3 yrs is about normal. Just a process that can't be rushed as were dealing with living things (altered permacomb can be used, but that it MB's department as I use wax).
Most of mine I've done with the PermaComb. It is pretty stressful for the bees to do shakedowns. I just do a gradual swap out with the PermaComb. I take all the frames of just honey and pollen and move them above the excluder and move some capped brood to the outsides and fill in the middle with PermaComb. As the outside frames fill with honey, I move them out and put more PermaComb in the middle. The foundation can be used in a more gradual swap out too.
You don't have to waste the first regression. It can be used for starting new packages later for their first regression and they won't have to draw it. I'd spray it with Certan to keep the moths out of it and make sure the bees have cleaned it well.
If you don't want to spend money on foundation, try 1/2" wide starter strips of small cell foundation. Or just blank starter strips you make by dipping wet boards in wax and peeling them off and cutting them in strips, and let the bees build what they want. I had some large cell bees move into a miller feeder and build their own comb. The first combs were about 5.2mm and the last ones were about 4.8mm. Bees will build smaller comb if you let them.
Part of why the small cell is expensive if that Dadant goes to the trouble of trying to find wax with the smallest chemcical residues. This drives up the price.
If the bees draw the comb themselves without foundation it will have no chemicals in it and if they draw it for brood it will be smaller.
do i have to buy a queen from a certain place or can i just get them anywhere? and do many comercile beekeepers use it? this is sounding interesting thanks SW_TR
i mean can i get a queen any where for requeening a small cell hive?
I believe there are one or two sources of small cell queens in the States, but as I'm the wrong side of the Atlantic I don't know who. IF large cell bees are put onto small cell they have a habit of superceding, but I don't know whether this is due to the queen or the workers having problems with the change.
Hello Swarm Trapper,
The key to small cell beekeeping is getting as much small cell comb drawn and the bees on it as quickly as possible. Any type bee will only draw out small cell comb during certain conditions. That makes getting small cell comb much harder than large cell comb.
So keep your comb drawing power maximized. If you let your hives die to find the 'small cell survivor', you can dig a hole so deep it takes years get climb out of and gain no benefit! Keep your hives living and drawing out small cell comb by treating them with a noncontaiminating treatment. Half the advantage seen with small cell bee health is the clean environment they're in.
Once you are able to get 4 to 6 small cell combs in the center of each brood box, you can toss the screened bottom boards, mite trays, treatments, research and everything related to the mites. It's amazing how much stuff relates to treating mites and how much time is spent thinking about it.
At that point you'll have the time and experience to try your own ideas out. Maybe raise those special queens, etc. Beekeeping up north gets to be just about the same as it was before the mites. I'm not sure if it the same where they have hive beetles in the south.
>i mean can i get a queen any where for requeening a small cell
I haven't done a lot of requeening with small bees, but I changed a lot of large queens over to the wax coated 4.95mm PermaComb and only two couldn't or wouldn't lay in it. I would guess you can buy a queen and the odds are she'll do fine. If not she'll get superceded and the new queen will be similar in genetics. Meanwhile during a supercedure they aren't queenless.
what is the best way and time to get them to draw out smallcell? thanks
In the spring as early as you dare to get them started.
Clay's Bee Page- http://wave.prohosting.com/clay2720/
I agree with Clay. The spring is when they build alot of comb, and it will be alot less frustrating. It also gives you time to cull bad comb. Next year, I will be into year 2 of regression, and I think my bees have come pretty far. I don't really measure the cells, but I was getting better and better combs being drawn. I did not cull too much, rather put them into nucs, because they had some good cells in them. The new queens, liked the smaller cells, and I think I got a little head start for next years starters, that I hope to winter. The bees know what they want, so I will let nature take its course.
I tried some of the 4.9 wax coated plastic foundation from Dadant. When I split the hive this summer I gave the queenright colony 4 frames of the foundation - 2 in the middle and 2 on the fringe. The bees build strips of brood comb up and down the foundation as though you were attaching strips of 1/2 comb facing the front and back of the hive instead of the normal facing outward. I ended up with comb 3 or 4 brood thick with 3 'double' strips on each side.
Remembering the advice to put improperly pulled comb and start over I scraped and fed the brood comb to the chickens and hope the fall honey flow would promote a different result.
(bees are Italians moving from Duragilt).
Still reading and trying to learn.