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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Western Pennsylvania
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    Post

    Bob,

    5.1 mm would be withen the natural sizes found for your zone.

    http://www.beesource.com/pov/lusby/therm_map.htm

    It's intresting that ranges of cell sizes I am see here in PA are from 4.9mm to 5.1mm (this in the broodnest area in ferals found not too near to domestic colonies) then sizes may vary up to 5.2 and even 5.3 outside this area. But a shade above 5.0 seems to be the size the bees want to seat in at here.

    My coments also have nothing to do with small cell and varroa control, just what I am seeing here in the ferals. As it seems there is a range of natural cell sizes and not locked in at any particular size.

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    45,261

    Post

    >Looks to me like *most* of the brood rearing comb in your pictures are of larger size (about 5.1 mm from a guess).

    It was a first regression of a large cell package, so I'm guessing there was plenty of 5.1mm also. But there was also some as small as 4.7mm on most of the brood combs.

    >I have been going through deadouts today culling comb. I find plenty of all cell size comb in my brood comb.

    An interesting phenomonon that I see even more of since I went to foundationless. A lot of different sizes.

    >Cell size is not an exact science.

    That is one of the principle difficulties of saying that bees build cells of Xmm for brood cells, when, in reality, they build a range of sizes.

    >One can keep culling comb of the larger size if a small size is what they want. Culling smaller size if a larger cell size is wanted. Bees quickly adapt.

    And the mites have to put up with or take advantage. But if you let them build their own or you give them something OTHER than oversized foundation, you'll get a lot more smaller cells.

    I really don't see any 5.4mm in natural worker comb. Most runs around 4.9mm (once they are regressed) and it jumps from maybe an occasional patch of 5.2mm up to the drone cells which, at the bottom, are about 6.0mm and often run as high as 6.6mm and occasionally run higher. There is a distinct gap and, other than maybe a transition cell here or there, 5.4mm falls in that gap.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #23

    Post

    Rob Harrison wrote:

    One amazing thing to me is that the bees never seem to tear down and rebuild cells which have became smaller due to years of brood rearing. I wonder why?
    Do they or do they not, in the wild?

    I just found this thread because I was googling for 'Jaycox' to find some research of his I"d just heard about. He'd allededly done a study where he proved that old brood comb was unhealthy (and it was from a chemical beekeeping perspective, so the 'unhealthy' could've been pesticides as much as viruses etc).

    Anyway, I was looking for this study because one one of these lists/forums someone was asking where the recommendation to replace old broodnest combs every x years came from. I'd been told that Jaycox recommended something specific like every 2 or 3 years.

    I was just talking to top bar hive beekeeper Les Crowder about this issue, asking him what feral bees do to get rid of old broodcomb. He told me that in colonies he's removed from studwalls, he's noticed that they actually move the brood nest around over the years by moving to a different end of the hive/colony/combs, and letting the wax moths eat the old brood nest, then returning to that part of the hive afterwards to clean up the damaged wax. He said he'd often noticed that they'll move right back after that, and build their brood nest right atop an area where there's sign of wax moth damage to the wall studs or other structures.

    Les is from the top bar school of thought that says that our regular harvesting of combs and lack of re-use is healthier for the bees, which I think BWrangler concluded also.

    Mark

    [size="1"][ December 18, 2005, 12:23 AM: Message edited by: girl Mark ][/size]
    urban top bar hives in Oakland and Berkeley, CA...

  4. #24

    Post

    Man O'War wrote:
    Some worry about the accumulation of AFB
    spores and, according to that theory,
    the more layers of cocoons the more of
    a problem that would be."

    Is this where the suggested,
    replacement of combs after five seasons,
    comes from?
    Here's the reference I found to old comb and problems:
    http://www.edpsciences.org/articles/...4/04/M4012.pdf
    (says that Varroa mites preferentially invade bees in old comb even though the old comb is smaller


    http://apis.ifas.ufl.edu/apis86/apapr86.htm
    More evidence now corroborates the notion that old combs can lead to bee management problems. As reported by Dr. Jaycox in his March issue of "The Newsletter on Beekeeping," a new study soon to be published by J.P. Koenig, G.M. Boush and E.H. Erickson in Journal of Apicultural Research compared various kind of comb. Levels of disease ranged from negligible to over 6 percent, with the lowest level on new comb or super comb, the highest associated with old brood comb.

    In past issues of this newsletter (July 1984 and October 1985), I reported that old brood comb may harbor not only chalkbrood fungus, but also nosema spores and supports wax moth populations far better than comb recently drawn from foundation. Aggressively renovating the bee nest by systematically removing old comb appears to be a management technique with promise. Again, this should not be done all at once, but slowly and regularly over a period of time. Dr. Jaycox also recommends the beekeeper experiment by doing a proportion of his/her colonies and then comparing chalkbrood infestation with those that were not renovated. Remember, however, that rooting out old comb is only one variable in the chalkbrood enigma. Others, such as the genetic resistance of the bees and prevailing environmental conditions which favor fungal development must also be taken into consideration
    and this: http://apis.ifas.ufl.edu/apis84/apjul84.htm#2

    [size="1"][ December 18, 2005, 12:27 AM: Message edited by: girl Mark ][/size]
    urban top bar hives in Oakland and Berkeley, CA...

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Osceola, Iowa south central of state
    Posts
    248

    Post

    Ok, I have a question for you small cell advocates. I am going to go to all small cell myself. What I am wanting to do is let them build there own comb so there are no cantaminates in the comb. But. and here is the question, If I let them build there own the frist time around (I am getting mostly package bees) then they will have to regress themselves. On the other hand, if I buy small cell foundation, then they will not have to be regressed later on. Is that the correct understanding? if so, what do you think I should do?
    Bill

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,261

    Post

    >If I let them build there own the frist time around (I am getting mostly package bees) then they will have to regress themselves. On the other hand, if I buy small cell foundation, then they will not have to be regressed later on. Is that the correct understanding?

    No. They will do the same thing either way. In my experience they will most likley build about 5.1mm cells with or without small cell foundation. Either way you'll need to do another regression.

    I would do the natural cell, myself, but I feel it's more natural, cleaner and cheaper. [img]smile.gif[/img] My preference is the comb guides on the top bar, but I have also done starter strips and even empty frames between two drawn combs. Or any comb with an imprint of a nice straight comb still on the top bar works fine.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Osceola, Iowa south central of state
    Posts
    248

    Post

    I want frames and not just top bars for this year. I just can't spread too thin this first year. What do you mean when you say comb guides? what is the difference between that and starter stips? and sence I have those larger cell foundations, if I use them for starter strips, will that be ok? It will save me buying any more and I could use some of them up. But I want to start right the first time.

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    45,261

    Post

    >What do you mean when you say comb guides? what is the difference between that and starter stips?

    Starter strip:
    http://www.bushfarms.com/images/Prim...arterStrip.JPG

    This one is a plain one, but it doesn't matter if it's embossed either.

    My triangular comb guide:
    http://www.bushfarms.com/images/Foun...lessFrame2.JPG

    This can be cut on the bottom of the top bar or added on.

    Charles Martin Simon's triangular comb guide:
    http://charlesmartinsimon.com/pictures.htm
    http://charlesmartinsimon.com/frameinstructions.htm

    Langsrtoth's triangular comb guide:
    http://www.bushfarms.com/images/LangstrothFrame.jpg
    http://www.bushfarms.com/images/BeveledTopBarFrame.JPG
    http://www.bushfarms.com/images/BeveledTopBar.JPG

    You can also cut a strip of wood about 1/8" off the edge of a one by and glue it in the groove or use popscicle sticks.

    You can also just leave the imprint of the last comb on the top bar and not bother to replace the starter strip or foundation.

    You can also just put an empty frame between two drawn combs which act as a guide.

    >and sence I have those larger cell foundations, if I use them for starter strips, will that be ok?

    I think it will work fine. Try then and measure what the bees build. My guess is it will be around 5.1mm the first shot, no matter what the size on the strips is.

    Here's how you measure cell size. Lay the ruler down and measure across ten cells:
    http://www.bushfarms.com/images/47mmCombMeasurement.jpg

    >It will save me buying any more and I could use some of them up. But I want to start right the first time.

    I only cut the starter strips about 3/4" wide. By the time you put this in the groove only about 3/8" is showing. If you look at natural combs the top cells are always a bit big and funky:

    http://www.bushfarms.com/images/TTBHComb.JPG

    This one is upside down so look at the bottom (which is the top when it's in the hive) row of cells.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Osceola, Iowa south central of state
    Posts
    248

    Post

    Ok, here is what I am doing now. I build 12 new medium supers because I am going to go to that size because of weight. I also build 4 medium depth 3 frame nucs today. I then put in some foundation from the big cell foundation I had bought. but what I did was cut the foundation strips where the wires go up and down and then put the pieces onto the frame. By doing that, I had to turn the foundation the other way to make it fit. i have only done one starter strip because I was not sure if by turning the foundation it would matter. will wait to see what you say about that. I don't emagin it will matter but thought I'd ask anyway.

    BTW My bees are out big t ime today. I fed them a little.
    Bill

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    211

    Post

    To all
    Just a few shots over the last few days following the incorporation of the cell gauge developed by a member on the orgainic beekeepers list.

    http://tinyurl.com/69wtc

    Some may be aware that a small cell trial was conducted in New Zealand and the results published in the November 2002 New Zealand Beekeeper titled "Varroa destructor not thwarted by smaller sized cells,study finds" By Michelle Taylor HortResearch.My own private research with varroa resistant bees now in year 6 takes one on several tangents when viewing the whole picture.Into year two with my feral bee project and now starting my small cell project.As an office holder at branch level of our National Beekeepers Association I will need sound practicle proof it works to present to our association,hopfully as a presentaion at a National conference as I did with FGMO and now approved in New Zealand.Our commercial beekeepers and stake holders (producers of foundation)have a lot of capital invested in frames and foundation mills.One foundation manufacturer invested in a drone comb mill and no doubt would do likewise for small cell (if it is required)if it can be proved effective as a stand alone varroa control.This work needs to be accelerated as NZ is into year 6 with varroa and chemical resistance could show up at anytime now.Private beekeepers are also providing funds into research projects here and our NZ Hort Research team are working on a number of projects in the control of varroa.

    [size="1"][ January 12, 2006, 03:37 PM: Message edited by: Bob Russell ][/size]
    BOB

  11. #31
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,261

    Post

    >By doing that, I had to turn the foundation the other way to make it fit. i have only done one starter strip because I was not sure if by turning the foundation it would matter. will wait to see what you say about that. I don't emagin it will matter but thought I'd ask anyway.

    Ian Rumsey seems to think it will have less varroa that way:

    http://www.bee-l.com/biobeefiles/ian/comb.htm
    http://www.beedata.com/data3/natural-comb.htm
    http://www.beedata.com/htcomb/index.htm
    http://www.bee-l.com/biobeefiles/ian/varroa_cell.htm

    A discussion on here:
    http://www.beesource.com/ubb/Forum16/HTML/000023.html

    >Some may be aware that a small cell trial was conducted in New Zealand and the results published in the November 2002 New Zealand Beekeeper titled "Varroa destructor not thwarted by smaller sized cells,study finds" By Michelle Taylor HortResearch.

    Yes. It would have been nice if she had read anything about the protocol of how to regress bees and done a study that lasted a significant period of time on a significant number of bees.

    >This work needs to be accelerated as NZ is into year 6 with varroa and chemical resistance could show up at anytime now.

    Try wax dipping PermaComb. You can skip the whole regression thing. Then you can do splits off of those hives. It accelerated my work significantly.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  12. #32
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Osceola, Iowa south central of state
    Posts
    248

    Post

    You know something MB, you sure make me do a lot of thinking and studing. the more I learn the more I know I don't know. Where does it stop. It don't, I do know that!!

    Thanks so much for your input. I appreciate it.
    Bill

  13. #33
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Osceola, Iowa south central of state
    Posts
    248

    Post

    I had left for a minute, but had to come back and make another statment. I can see so many ideas to try out and I am excited about all the possibilities. However, I can't do them all and don't want to reinvent the wheel. This is why I ask so many questions. If I can get to where some ideas are not answered then i have got a place to start!!!!!

    Michael, do your bees build horiszontal comb or vertical or both or have you looked? I thought it might be interesting to see what the small cell orintation was like.
    bill

  14. #34
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    45,261

    Post

    > can see so many ideas to try out and I am excited about all the possibilities. However, I can't do them all and don't want to reinvent the wheel.

    I started with natural built comb on starter strips so I could see what the bees would build. When I was convinced they would build smaller cells, I did the wax coated PermaComb to speed things up. Now I'm using a mixture of about half and half PermaComb and foundationless.

    >Michael, do your bees build horiszontal comb or vertical or both or have you looked?

    Here's a primary comb (first one they built) on an unembossed starter strip and it's vertical (note the "Y" in the bottom of the cell is going sideways)

    http://www.bushfarms.com/images/Prim...arterStrip.JPG
    http://www.bushfarms.com/images/Prim...arterStrip.JPG

    Here's a foundationless frame from somehwere other than the center and it's kind of a wavy horizontal

    http://www.bushfarms.com/images/FoundationlessDrawn.JPG

    >I thought it might be interesting to see what the small cell orintation was like.

    So would I.

    Michael Housel's observations were that there is a primary (vertical) comb and the rest of the combs are horizontal in a particular orientation.

    http://www.bushfarms.com/images/FoundationlessDrawn.JPG

    My observation is that there is a primary (vertical) comb and the rest is unpredictable.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  15. #35
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Osceola, Iowa south central of state
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    Post

    Well, I noticed the wavy was full of honey. I wonder if the brood would tend to be one orintation would be much different than the storage area.

    Bill

  16. #36
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Post

    It doesn't seem to matter.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  17. #37
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Osceola, Iowa south central of state
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    Post

    I just now noticed something. i checked my boughten foundation and it is vertical not horizontal. Is that the way it always is? I thought it was the other way around. Mine has the pointed end up not the flate side.
    bill

  18. #38
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    211

    Post

    Michael Bush
    Thanks for responding to my posting.

    >Yes. It would have been nice if she had read anything about the protocol of how to regress bees and done a study that lasted a significant period of time on a significant number of bees.

    My posting was not to critisize the work done by Michelle Taylor and the Hort Research team here in New Zealand.I sighted their work first hand.I am revisiting small cell following observations from both my resistant and ferral bee projects with the aim of presenting my findings to our 3500 beekeepers and intend to donate a fully working hive to Hort Research.

    >Try wax dipping PermaComb. You can skip the whole regression thing. Then you can do splits off of those hives. It accelerated my work significantly.

    At this point I do not know if we have any full depth permacomb in New Zealand to wax dip.However I have access to 4.9 plastic comb (from a private import a couple of years ago) but have many frames well underway from plain wax starter strips drawing 5.0 - 5.3 at present in the feral trapped swarms to select from ready for next season.

    By all means direct me to documented protocols and addresses on small cell you are refering to.
    BOB

  19. #39
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Post

    >I just now noticed something. i checked my boughten foundation and it is vertical not horizontal. Is that the way it always is? I thought it was the other way around. Mine has the pointed end up not the flate side.

    If the pointed end is up then it's horizontal. We are talking about rows of cells. Look for a "row" of cells. Do they run vertical or horizontal? Standard foundation is all horizontal. Another way to look at it is this. Is the "Y" in the bottom of the cells right side up or upside down? Then it's horizontal. Is the "Y" in the bottom of the cells sideways? Then it's vertical.

    >At this point I do not know if we have any full depth permacomb in New Zealand to wax dip.

    There is no full depth PermaComb. It is all mediums.

    >However I have access to 4.9 plastic comb (from a private import a couple of years ago) but have many frames well underway from plain wax starter strips drawing 5.0 - 5.3 at present in the feral trapped swarms to select from ready for next season.

    A good start.

    >By all means direct me to documented protocols and addresses on small cell you are refering to.

    Dee's writings are under the POV section. They may not be laid out as a typical "protocol" but the requirements are all listed there. Mostly that you have to end up with 4.9mm in the broodnest before you'll succeed.

    http://www.beesource.com/pov/lusby/index.htm

    She would say it takes a minimum of two regressions on 4.9mm foundation to get natural sized bees that will make natural sized cells. She would say you shouldn't expect control of Varroa until you get to that point. To simply put some large bees on small cell foundation with no turnover of comb and expect to find significant enough control of Varroa to keep the bees alive without treatment is NOT an expected outcome. The expected outcome would be that they will need at least two regressions before that state is reached and the real test is when the core of the broodnest is all 4.9mm drawn cells, not just 4.9mm foundation. This is takes least two or three years for this to happen gradually swapping out comb or two full shakedowns in one year to do it as quickly as possible. And still it may take another year to finish regression It takes time for them to draw the comb, time for the bees to emerge from that comb and time for those bees to draw more comb and time for those bees to emerge. The only shortcut I know is if you have fully drawn small cell comb to start with. Which is what I get with the wax dipped PermaComb. It's 4.95mm, slightly bigger than I want but small enough to make a big difference.

    But if one wishes to do an experiment on small cell one should talk to the pioneer of it on the principles methods. Success and failure are all in the details.

    I used the plastic 4.9mm foundation and I like it on regressed bees. I didn't have any luck with it on unregressed bees. They did everything to avoid drawing it.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  20. #40
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Romney Marsh Kent England UK
    Posts
    292

    Post

    i din't realise it would take my bees two or three years to get on 4.9 or smaller cells in the brood box,

    if i could get some 4.9 PermaComb i take it would help then,and is it the same size as a b/national brood frame

    ive had a look and can't find any PermaComb for love or money over hear in the uk.


    Tony

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