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  1. #81
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Casper, WY
    Posts
    526

    Post

    Hi Guys,

    After converting to small cell, I was able to toss all my mite chems, all the research files and notes and put the v mite out of my mind. It's amazing how much energy and time are required to deal with mites in the traditional way. And how much simpler beekeeping becomes once the bees are on small cell.

    For most beekeepers, once they get their bees on small cell and see the difference, then they can speculate all they want about hows and whys. The Lusbys, Barry, Joe, Clay and I all have. Another much larger group of beekeepers like Michael, etc will soon have more than a couple of years experience with small cell and have the proof they need and their own ideas of the processes at work.

    And it can be great fun as long as we don't take our speculations too seriously. For I am sure there are mechanisms and behaviors connected with cell size and the bees that none of use know anything about :&gt))

    Regards
    Dennis
    Knowing that that bee mags are much thinner when the mite related articles can be skipped. :&gt)

  2. #82
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,320

    Post

    Having recently returned here to Tucson I was totally unaware of anything to do with SC, mites or other beekeepers here, Lusby's included. I did know that AHB was believed to be in the area or they soon would be. I transferred a feral colony living under a neighbors mobile home into modern equipment using Pierco one piece frames and foundation in wood frames. Soon after I began to split this colony into two, then split them again and again until I had 10 colonies -- several of which would usually have a fall surplus each year despite my highly inadequate supering. During this time I subscribed to the ABJ and learned about the recent influx of parasitic mites and about the chemicals used to help control them. I don’t like the thought of using toxic chemicals, and since I hadn't then and still haven’t lost a single colony for any reason, I determined not to use any toxic chemicals. I also learned about the SC idea and decided it would be fun to see if I could grow smaller bees (I began keeping bees when I was 10 y.o. in 1966 because they fascinated me). I met a local beekeeping supplier and he had all-wax SC foundation. I purchased a small quantity and since it was full size and the majority of my bees are in medium depth supers exclusively, I cut the sheets in half and wired them leaving a gap at the bottom. I rotated the SC foundation into the brood chambers as frames of brood were sealed (I use 2 mediums- sometimes 3 for brood). I did not replace all brood frames with SC, but about 8 out of 10, usually the outer frames are still Pierco foundation. Before I finished rotating SC into all 10 hives I discovered, through my local supplier that wax coated plastic SC foundation was available and I began using that instead of the all-wax.
    I still haven’t used any chemicals – at all. I still haven’t lost a single colony. It’s been more than 8 years now. I can’t really say if SC has helped with mites. Though I often see mites on pupae I examine and adults as they go about their business, all the colonies have been storing a good surplus, I am still too stingy with supers, and this January every colony was boiling over with bees, the strongest I’ve ever seen them and they still are.

    And it is fun, the majority of the bees do look much smaller.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  3. #83
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Anchorage, Alaska
    Posts
    1,649

    Post

    I still haven’t used any chemicals – at all. I still haven’t lost a single colony. It’s been more than 8 years now.

    Oh Great! You had to bring that up didn’t you?! As the bee wrangler down there in Wyoming has mentioned more than once when mite resistance and cell size was first brought up many said it had to be done for more than 2 years to be considered worthwhile. When that happened the time frame was raised. Now with 8 years being mentioned, it will probably take at least 10-12 years to be considered as a method for keeping mites at bay.

    >I can’t really say if SC has helped with mites.

    Nope, you can’t. To do so only causes a lot of theatrical....well you know...

  4. #84
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    dallas, or, usa
    Posts
    23

    Post

    Hey Joseph where did you get the sc plastic cell foundation?

  5. #85
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Alpine, NY (near Cayuga Lake)
    Posts
    107

    Post

    Dadant has it, for deeps.
    Lesli<br /> <a href=\"http://beeyard.blogspot.com/\" target=\"_blank\">http://beeyard.blogspot.com/</a>

  6. #86
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Puget Sound
    Posts
    65

    Post

    Naturebee
    --This has been done.

    Yes, but the same or similar study needs to be done in many differant environments to support, clarify or debunk the results.
    Interesting results like this should encourage experiments by researchers.
    The insignificant differances between Italian and Africanized cells may become very significant with 1000 to 2000 or more bees coming out of cells daily.
    It would be interesting to see if the differance between small cell and standard hold up through following trials.

  7. #87
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    San Francisco Eastbay, CA
    Posts
    203

    Smile

    Hi this post is for Dennis.
    I looked at your pages and was very impressed with the information you have porvided. I have wanted to go to small cell for some time but have been put of by the amount off work and loss of hives following the Lusby methods. I had some questions on how you go about moving to SC.
    You say you just replace gradually the inner 4 or 5 frames of the broodnest with SC and leave the rest LC frames. Is this correct?
    Also do you leave the honey supers LC?
    Do you find they will draw out a full sheet of foundation if it is used or do you use the 25mm method.
    I would appreciate any and all comments. I do believe the way forward is without chemicals and am please dto find a forum with such great information.

    Murphy
    \"I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree<br />And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made<br />nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee<br />and live alone in the bee-loud glade.\"<br />-- WB Yeats

  8. #88
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Casper, Wy, USA
    Posts
    804

    Post

    Hi Murphy,

    I am going to restrict this discussion to methods using conventional equipment and fixed cell size foundation.

    First, my perspective. The results seen by small cell beekeepers is due to a pesticide free broodnest and the smaller cell size in the core area which is a better approximation to a natural broodnest. It doesn't have a thing to do with artificially enlarged bees, cell size memory, small cell bees or anything to do with regression.

    A little bee behavior. In a natural broodnest the bees only draw out so much small cell comb. In standard equipment the same is true. So if you give the bees lots of small cell foundation, they will just build so much small cell comb and then convert the rest of the foundation to a larger size. My experience indicates that the best will do about 6 to 8 deep sheets max before converting the rest to larger cell size. A 5 frame nuc will draw out almost all it's foundation small cell size.

    So, I just operated within these parameters. Give the bees a small cell foundation for the core, but also provide them with enough drawn large cell and drone comb toward the exterior.

    I actually have used drone foundation to satisfy the bees need for a certain amount of larger cell size. It was left over from my queen rearing days.

    The bees naturally draw out the smaller cell sizes close to the hive entrance and the larger sizes toward the top of the hive. Don't put a box of small cell foundation on top of the hive and expect to get any kind of good results.

    If the bees draw out larger cell size comb, just move it to the exterior or use it in the supers. It will be clean and won't have any effect on the 'state' of the bee.

    Forget all the regression stuff. Treat your bees with a non-contaminating mite treatment, when needed, to keep your bees from perishing. Then when they have enough small cell core area, you will have a clean broodnest and won't need to treat again.

    And that's it. It's that simple.

    No areas of influence, search/selection the small cell bee, worrying about trying to keep the small cell genetics pure or viable, etc. No need to worry about unregressing bees if they get on larger comb, or about a few select, small cell bee suppliers, etc.

    Regards
    Dennis
    I once wrangled bees. But now, knowing better, I just let them bee.
    http://talkingstick.me/category/bees/

  9. #89
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Knoxville, TN
    Posts
    1,933

    Post

    Bwrangler, so I want to split some of my colonies next spring and begin them on small cell. I had planed on removing an entire box, since all my hives have three boxes, and placing a hive body of small cell foundation on top of that.
    "The bees naturally draw out the smaller cell sizes close to the hive entrance and the larger sizes toward the top of the hive."
    So I guess I shouldn't do that but instead just pull about 4 frames. Should I alternate drawn comb, foundation drawn comb. Or put the drawn together and the foundation together? Or something completely different?
    thanks

  10. #90
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    San Francisco Eastbay, CA
    Posts
    203

    Question

    Hi Dennis,

    Thanks for the info.

    I was wondering how best to start introducing the SC foundation into existing hives. I have several hives that are single brood boxes and was wanting to try this out on them first. Would I just start replacing the frames in the center of the boxes?

    Give the bees a small cell foundation for the core, but also provide them with enough drawn large cell and drone comb toward the exterior.
    I have chemical free frames of Perco some of which is drawn, could I use this on the outside? I was thinking maybe 6 SC for the core and 4 LC Perco frames to fill out the box. Does this sound ok, or should I skip the LC Perco and use all SC and let them build their own LC?

    I actually have used drone foundation to satisfy the bees need for a certain amount of larger cell size.
    Did this not cause problems due to varroa prefering the drone foundation? Did the bees clean out the varroa?

    The bees naturally draw out the smaller cell sizes close to the hive entrance and the larger sizes toward the top of the hive.
    What do you mean by the SC sizes close to the entrance, and the larger sizes towards the top?
    Are you referring to the frames top and bottom?

    I appreciate the matter of fact answers that help make the SC waters less murky.

    Murphy
    \"I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree<br />And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made<br />nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee<br />and live alone in the bee-loud glade.\"<br />-- WB Yeats

  11. #91
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Casper, Wy, USA
    Posts
    804

    Post

    Hi Murphy,

    Some ideas on mixing different cell size frames:

    Another aspect of regression that can be dropped is the shake down of bees into a hive consisting of small cell foundation. A shake down is exceedingly disruptive. Some kinds of bees will abscond or kill the queen under those circumstances. Hence the advice to use includers, etc. This is about the most disruptive management technique I can think of!

    In areas with a short bee season, a hive treated this way, won't make any surplus. And it will certianly need to be fed.

    In addition, a beekeeper with a few hives, will have lots of brood, feed, etc in large cell size frames. It is essentially wasted with a shake down and a one cell size focus.

    My advice, try to work with the bees. Use all of your resource to the best advantage. Use the Pierco. Don't waste the brood or the food.

    Just give them a small cell core. Once you get the small cell core and clean wax, lots of options are available.

    I've run six frames without any problems. My tbh observations indicate four should work. And I would have tested four frames had my focus not shifted to top bar beekeeping.

    &gt;Did this not cause problems due to varroa prefering the drone foundation...

    It could have,if the drone comb was left in the center of the broodnest. But I placed it to the outside and eventually rotated it out which is another interesting subject.

    &gt;What do you mean by the SC sizes close to the entrance, and the larger sizes towards the top?

    With natural comb the smallest cell sizes are drawn on comb closest to the hive entrance which is at the bottom of most hives. Feral colonies with entrances near the top of the cavity, also construct the smallest comb at the bottom. The bees are genetically wired to build the small cell sized broodnest core below their food supply(large cell) and near the entrance when possible. Hence a swarms preference for cavities with a bottom entrance.

    Some small cell beekeepers have reported the bees do a better job with small cell foundation when it's in the bottom box rather than on top.

    &gt;I appreciate the matter of fact answers that help make the SC waters less murky.

    It's a curious fact that small cell beekeeping, which is purported to be so natural and in tune with the bees, has so much stuff associated with it. And all that stuff requires a lot of highly skilled beekeeper intervention to make it work. And that amount of work must be continued or all that effort to get those small cell bees is lost! Yikes! What's wrong here?

    Regards
    Dennis
    Thinking if working with the bees is harder than working again em, then maybe how one is working with them is still actually working again em :&gt
    I once wrangled bees. But now, knowing better, I just let them bee.
    http://talkingstick.me/category/bees/

  12. #92
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    San Francisco Eastbay, CA
    Posts
    203

    Post

    Hi Dennis,

    Thanks for clearing this up. I have never liked the shakedown method and that was one of the reasons I haven’t gone SC. All the discussion of bee size also didn’t make sense as my bees are on LC and I have bees of all sizes.
    My plan is to change out all my brood frames to clean frames, as the whole treatment with chemicals is making honey not seem so pure anymore, as well as becoming futile with the mite resistance.

    &gt;It could have, if the drone comb was left in the center of the brood nest. But I placed it to the outside and eventually rotated it out which is another interesting subject.

    Dennis, by rotating the drone comb, do you mean that you removed the drone combs that had been capped? Did you freeze, or uncap the comb and replace with another comb for laying drone in?

    The information is great.

    Regards,

    Murphy
    \"I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree<br />And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made<br />nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee<br />and live alone in the bee-loud glade.\"<br />-- WB Yeats

  13. #93
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Casper, Wy, USA
    Posts
    804

    Post

    Hi Murphy,

    Actually, those drone frames are now used in the supers for honey production.

    Regards
    Dennis
    I once wrangled bees. But now, knowing better, I just let them bee.
    http://talkingstick.me/category/bees/

  14. #94
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Knoxville, TN
    Posts
    1,933

    Post

    A population model for the ectoparasitic mite Varroa jacobsoni
    in honey bee (Apis mellifera) colonies
    Stephen Martin *

    http://www.sheffield.ac.uk/uni/proje...df/mem1998.pdf

    "The idea that bees with a shorter sealed period
    are more resistant to the mite has been the focus
    of much research and bee breeding programmes.
    By combining the offspring mortality data (Table
    3) with their developmental times (Martin,
    1995b) the effect of shortening the sealed brood
    period on the mite population development was
    investigated. Fig. 6 indicates that even a 1-day
    reduction in the sealed brood period would only
    delay and not prevent the mite build-up. The
    model indicates that unless worker post-capping
    times approaching 9 days can be achieved it is
    unlikely that selecting bees with shorter capping
    times would give rise to mite-tolerant bees (Martin,
    1997b)."

    Is it possible small cell only gives a little extra push in concert with other forms mite control like resistant queens?
    Does regretion act merly as natural selection?

    I have no experience with Small Cell, but I will. Even an extra push is important.
    Plus no foundation can have benifits.
    Just trying to figure all of this out.
    I have found other research that casts doubt on small cell, so in all fairness I think the sceptics (read Jim Fisher) have cause for questioning.

  15. #95
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,809

    Post

    &gt;Fig. 6 indicates that even a 1-day reduction in the sealed brood period would only delay and not prevent the mite build-up. The model indicates that unless worker post-capping times approaching 9 days can be achieved it is unlikely that selecting bees with shorter capping times would give rise to mite-tolerant bees (Martin, 1997b)."

    How about a one day reduction in sealed brood period and a one day reduction in pre capping times? I've seen estimates that an 8 hour reduction in EITHER would be sufficient to control the mites. This research is merely a model based on a lot of assumuptions.

    &gt;Is it possible small cell only gives a little extra push in concert with other forms mite control like resistant queens?

    It seems sufficient by itself, but I'm all for resistant queens.

    &gt;Does regretion act merly as natural selection?

    Not that I can see.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  16. #96
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,320

    Post

    &gt;Is it possible small cell only gives a little extra push in concert with other forms mite control like resistant queens?

    It seems sufficient by itself, but I'm all for resistant queens.
    I'm trusting you both mean: queens that produce resistant offspring, and not just that the queens themselves are resistant, after-all if just the one solitary insect (the queen herself) were resistant that wouldn't be worth very much.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  17. #97
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,809

    Post

    The queens pass on various characteristics that are useful. Behaviors such as: Hygenic (as in chewing out infested cells); Grooming (as in getting the mites off of each other and biting and killing the mites); SMR (where the mites don't manage to produce fertile, viable offspring for some unknown reason, possibly some kind of immune response or some kind of difference in chemicals or phermones); Mite tolerance (where the bees don't die from the viruses and manage to survive despite heavy mite loads, possibly because of a good immune system); Early capping (where the cells are capped sooner so that less varroa infest the cells); Early emergence (where the varroa can't make as many offspring because they have less time); and possible other currently unkown behaviors or strengths.

    But yes, it's the bees that use these genetic advantages. The queen just passes these qualities to them.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  18. #98
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Romney Marsh Kent England UK
    Posts
    292

    Post

    hi,

    is it ture that a fair amount off bees that swarm from man made hives that go into the wild and start up there new home still sircome to the mite problem,

    if so, with out man interfearing wouldn't this swarm build small cell broad comb which would in prove there chances of survival

    tony

  19. #99
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,809

    Post

    &gt;is it ture that a fair amount off bees that swarm from man made hives that go into the wild and start up there new home still sircome to the mite problem

    Yes.

    &gt;if so, with out man interfearing wouldn't this swarm build small cell broad comb which would in prove there chances of survival

    They will build an intermediary size of about 5.1mm. The bees raised on that that swarm and build another colony will build about 4.9mm The bees that swarm from that and build another colony will build about 4.8mm.

    The two issues I see are:

    1) surviving when hives are crashing around you and your forgager are bringing in varroa at a large rate, far more than they would reproduce on small cell.

    2) not being fully regressed is not enough to handle the mites. You don't get down to a full day shorter capping and post capping until you get down close to 4.9mm. That's two regressions minimum.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  20. #100
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Romney Marsh Kent England UK
    Posts
    292

    Post

    thanks for clearing that up for me Michael, lol,

    there is so much info and help on beesource.

    i know one bee keeper up the road from me and i do ring him from time to time about things a don't under stand, but i have noticed that he is getting a little fed up with me and my phone calls,lol,
    so i will have to rely on you guys on here,

    thanks again

    tony350i

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