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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Oakland California
    Posts
    47

    Post

    Hi,
    I have been reading quite a bit about the small cell 4.9 mm cell bees.
    To get to my question:
    Why do people think the small cells work?

    In what I can intuitively come up with is that the small cells cuts down on the time the bee needs to come out of the cell. So it disrupts the mite growth cycle.
    Does this sound like a good reason?
    So another question I have is this:

    What species of honey bees have the shortest gestation period?
    Or for that matter what is the different bee breedsÂ’ time from egg laying to emergence?

    As a newbie, I would comment that the cell size is important if smaller cell size equals shorter emergence time, but people should be looking at getting bees that emerge sooner. I only say this because of the writing I have been reading and people focus on the cell size but not on the effect the small cell size has on the bee family/lifecycle.

    Thank You.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Milford, MI
    Posts
    328

    Post

    Welcome aboard Donn.

    You are correct in your understanding that the mite cycle is disrupted by the shorter periods of the growth cycle of eggs laid in smaller cells. Shorter capping time allows less mites to inhabit capped cells, and shorter emergence times allow for less reproduction and emergence of mature mites.
    Gestation period is in direct relation to cell size regardless of bee race.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    The Scenic Flint Hills , KS
    Posts
    5,159

    Post

    For a better understanding read this ->

    http://beesource.com/pov/lusby/index.htm
    Bullseye Bill in The Scenic Flint Hills , KS
    www.myspace.com/dukewilliam

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Casper, WY
    Posts
    526

    Post

    Hi Donn,

    For another angle, check out my small cell pages at www.bwrangler.com/bee/smus.htm

    They are being renovated right now. But should be complete in a couple of days.

    The musings page is a summary of all the other pages.

    I've had bees on small cell for 6 seasons and it works. But not because the bees have been artificially enlarged. They haven't. And not because small cell size is more natural. It isn't.

    Regards
    Dennis

    [SIZE=1][ December 31, 2006, 12:33 AM: Message edited by: D. Murrell ][/SIZE]
    Last edited by D. Murrell; 10-25-2007 at 01:22 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,408

    Post

    >Why do people think the small cells work?

    By what mechanism? There are a lot of theories, and observations about more hygenic behavior ect. but the most measurable mechanism is the shorter capping and post capping times which make less Varroa in the cells and less offspring per Varroa that do get in the cells.

    If you want to know why people believe it works, it's hard to ignore having a lot fewer Varroa.

    >In what I can intuitively come up with is that the small cells cuts down on the time the bee needs to come out of the cell. So it disrupts the mite growth cycle. Does this sound like a good reason?

    Yes.

    >What species of honey bees have the shortest gestation period?

    AHB have a pretty short gestation period by all accounts, but then they are usually on natural sized cells in the 4.8mm range.

    >Or for that matter what is the different bee breedsÂ’ time from egg laying to emergence?

    In my experience it really comes down to cell size. The EHB are generally kept on large cells and then they have longer times. But on small cell they have shorter times. When AHB are put on large cell foundation they ALSO have longer times.

    >As a newbie, I would comment that the cell size is important if smaller cell size equals shorter emergence time, but people should be looking at getting bees that emerge sooner. I only say this because of the writing I have been reading and people focus on the cell size but not on the effect the small cell size has on the bee family/lifecycle.

    But the easiest way to get bees that emerge sooner is let them build their own comb which is often down to 4.6mm instead of putting them on 5.4mm foundation where they will emerge later.

    Natural cells run a gambit of sizes. Mostly natural worker brood comb runs between 5.1mm and 4.6mm.

    http://www.bushfarms.com/bees.htm
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Casper, WY
    Posts
    526

    Post

    Hi Donn,

    Another mechanism seen when bees are on natural or small cell sized comb, is their ability to actively detect and remove mite infest pupa. And all the bees I've had on small cell demonstrate this behavior.

    The damage to the mites is so significant, that over 95% of them will have visible bite marks. And you won't need a magnifing lens to look for mites with missing toes, etc. :&gt

    I'm sure there are several mechanisms involved. My bees have been able to maintain an average natural mite fall of 1 to 2 mites/week without any problems. When I un-regressed some bees and messed around with the broodnest structure in some top bar hives, they quickly developed PMS and required treatment to survive. While the small and natural cell size hives, in the same yard, kept on trucking without any problems.

    Regards
    Dennis

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Troupsburg, NY
    Posts
    4,074

    Post

    One other point to note about small cell bees is this,(this only in theroy, so don't anyone go off). The host-perisite relationship usually is not as detrimental to the host as has been the verrona mite-honeybee relationship. As I understand it, verrona normally only infects drone brood, which would allow for hive survial, and continued host supply for the mite. But because our commercial honeybees are larger than the ones in the wild, the mites can't tell the difference between worker cells and drone cells, and so infects both. Which kills the host, as well as the mite who nolonger has a host to live off. Survialal of the host = survailal of the perisite, and vise versa. As I said this is only theroy at this point but it does make sense. Just some thoughts.

    peggjam
    "I reject your reality, and substitute my own." Adam Savage

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Anchorage, Alaska
    Posts
    1,649

    Post

    “Mites of the Honey Bee” has a great drawing showing daily development of mites in worker vs. drone cells. Taken to the full time for “standard” worker bees three daughter mites can grow to adulthood. The survivorship at emergence for the mites is listed according to age at 94%, 38%, and 13%. For drone brood five mites are shown to emerge with percentages of 98%, 94%, 84%, 76% and 63% survival. Longer time in cells does make a difference. Shorten the time by one day for worker bees and two adult daughters emerge. Shorten the time by one more day and only one daughter mite emerges. I’d suppose the % survival will also decrease accordingly. I’ve seen in a badly infested hive, mites also in queen cells, although it’s hightly unlikely any daughter mites would be able to fully grow.

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