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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Milton, Vermont
    Posts
    307

    Post

    I read some of the posts regarding small cell. At first I thought it was just small cell comb. Some of the posts I read lead me to believe you also need small cell bees. Do you need to start with a certain breed of bee or can you use small cell foundation with any colony and still get small cell comb? Do different bee breeds build substantially different size cells when building natural comb?
    Also, the adds for small cell foundation state that it should be used only by expierienced beekeepers. Do you need to crowd bees to get them to draw out small cell foundation or is there something else I don't know about it?
    It is what it is.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,742

    Post

    >At first I thought it was just small cell comb. Some of the posts I read lead me to believe you also need small cell bees. Do you need to start with a certain breed of bee or can you use small cell foundation with any colony and still get small cell comb?

    If you let any typical (large cell) EHB build what they want they will build a variety of cells sizes but most will be about 5.1mm worker brood cells (as opposed to the standard foundation size of 5.4mm worker cells). The bees raised on this size will build somewhere between 4.6mm and 5.1mm with most being about 4.85 to 4.9mm. Now the large cell bees, have been "regressed" and are now small cell bees. In other words, bees that were raised (from larvae to adult) on small cells.

    > Do different bee breeds build substantially different size cells when building natural comb?

    No. Not if we are limiting the discussion to Apis Mellifera (European Honey Bees).

    >Also, the adds for small cell foundation state that it should be used only by experienced beekeepers.

    Probably just to keep from getting grouched at by people who put it in the hive, don't monitor the cells size, don't swap out the larger comb, don't monitor the mites and wonder why their bees die.

    It's not hard to use. Just put it in. But until you have mostly 4.9mm or smaller in the core of the brood nest, don't assume it will control the Varroa. It will probably make a difference and perhaps even enough difference that you wonÂ’t need to treat, but you should still monitor the mite levels.

    >Do you need to crowd bees to get them to draw out small cell foundation or is there something else I don't know about it?

    Any bees do better with lots of bees, but they will draw small cell wax foundation with just as much enthusiasm as large cell.

    I do mostly natural comb on foundationless frames (frames with a comb guide of some kind).

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

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Milton, Vermont
    Posts
    307

    Post

    Thanks Michael,
    I am going to work towards small cell. I assume it will take some time (probably a couple of years at least), fortunatley I only have a few hives currently so it will be easier and cheaper than a large operation.
    I will continue to monitor the mites and hope I can keep the levels down.
    It is what it is.

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