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  1. #81
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    Nov 2004
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    Helsinki, Finland
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    597

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    To Michael
    ME: Of course it does, allways had. When you draw up Langstroth box without foundations, bees need 32 lbs honey to exrecete 4 lbs wax.

    M: I have heard numbers from 16 pounds to 8 pounds for a pound of wax and never seen a study to prove any of those numbers.

    Your figures are against 2 lbs= per kilo

    My figure 32 lbs is for 2 kg wax. L-box has 1 kilo foundations and 1 kg cell walls.

    There are real studies from that and I have gived those to you links. You just read them.

  2. #82
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    Sep 2003
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    New Zealand
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    211

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    Clint
    It's pleasing to know there are many of us in practice with private research/trials with this topic around the globe that don't have a private agenda.After many years of selecting and breeding bees for high honey yield (3 times the national average)with large cell bees on 5.4 mm I decided to select for varroa resistant bees following the varroa incursion to New Zealand in 2000.Observasions in high yielding varroa resistant untreated (all season)large cell bees lead to the inclusion of feral and smaller cell size into the project in the past year.Though I am not promoting small cell,the results from last seasons work suggest that I need to accelerate work in this area for next seasons spring in New Zealand.What you have experienced with honey production on your small group of small cell bees Clint is further encouragement as this will be included in next seasons project.Feral bees were wiped out in the North Island of New Zealand progressivly as varroa spread down the Island.At this time the South Island after 6 years of varroa in the North is still free of varroa.North Island ferals are now repopulating again.Ferals that I am monitoring are still alive from our past season at this time,now into early winter.
    BOB

  3. #83
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Casper, WY
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    526

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    Hi Guys,

    Back when the NZ study was done, the small cell camp stressed that varroa couldn't reproduce in the smaller cell size. At that time, most of the emphasis on varroa resistance focused on varroa behavior versus small cell size. The NZ study was a good test of this. Unfortunately, it was the wrong focus.

    Often, when discussing bee size, cell size, etc., it's easy to get confused, as these terms are commonly substituted for a wide range of management protocols associated with 'small cell beekeeping'.

    In the broadest sense, having a clean broodnest, a natural cell size, and an adapted, properly nurished bee are the essense of biological beekeeping. And, regardless if I think that the large or small sized cell/bee debate is a human invention, getting a small cell sized broodnest core has produced great results. My bees are mite tolerant. They overwinter much better. And they produce more honey.

    However, I think that many of the small cell beekeeping protocols, often promoted as necessary steps to get bees clean, healthy, productive and mite tolerant, only complicate and make the process more difficult. And some of them are quite impossible to achieve, if you have other beeyards in your area.

    These protocols, themselves, are the main disadvantage of keeping small cell bees. Some of them are very counter productive and actually work against the natural propensities of the bees. That's why it's so hard and expensive to get small cell bees the small cell beekeeping way.

    Any beekeeper who would deny that the Lusby's bees aren't influenced by the AHB is living and thinking in the past. I think, that the downward drift in cell size, as reported by the Lusbys, testifies to this. But dozens of other beekeepers, including myself, have achieved remarkable results with a small cell broodnest core, without the Lusby's bees or African genetics.

    Not because we all followed the small cell protocol to the letter, because most of us haven't. Or because we've achieved a small cell area of influence, an impossibility. But because we've given the bees a clean and much better approximation of a natural broodnest where they function best.

    Regards
    Dennis

  4. #84
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Perkasie, PA
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    1,998

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    bwrangler,

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the topic. Your post was clear, non-dogmatic, and informative.

  5. #85
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Milwaukee, WI, USA
    Posts
    268

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    Barry asked, in part:
    What percent equals africanized? What is the baseline or standard for bees when doing DNA testing?
    Hi Barry,

    The question assumes that the AHB strain is being diluted by EHB genetics. In fact, that isn't happening. The strains can interbreed in the lab. In the wild it's not happening enough to measure. They make their mating flights at different times, for one thing. The AHB stock is staying pure.

    [size="1"][ April 29, 2006, 07:36 PM: Message edited by: Tom Chaudoir ][/size]
    Best,
    Tom

  6. #86
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    San Francisco Eastbay, CA
    Posts
    203
    I want to start by thanking Michael, Dennis, Clint and the many others who I believe have done so much of the research and incurred the expense of it. They willingly share their results be it good or bad.
    This will be my first year of moving all my hives to:
    1. Clean new wax
    2. No chemicals to date
    3. Replacing queens with queens from swarms from known feral hives, or queens bred from those swarms.
    I as of yet do not know how this will play out, but I can only think that this 3 fold approach can help. I used the swarms that I knew to have come from feral hives (I have gotten swarms from these hives for several years) to build 4.9 wax foundation as well as combs from strips.
    I have not measured for cell size as this is not the important thing for me, the important thing is to get away from chemicals.
    I cannot honestly say using any chemical is ok for me, as I just do not want my kids to ingest anymore chemicals than they already are. I think that honey producers who say it is ok to use chemicals are thinking not of the people eating the honey but of the quick profit.

    Again, I applaud all those who have made it a much simpler decision to do this.

    Regards,

    Kieran
    \"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

  7. #87
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Totnes, Devon, England
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    1,019

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    Dave Robbins -

    ABSOLUTELY AGREE! Totally with you on this - the 'old school' bks are mostly too stuck in their ways to see this - you should see the flak I attract on the BBKA board (http://www.bbka.org) when I say things like that! (often from Finman, BTW)

    If you are interested, I posted my views on my blog at http://biobees.blogspot.com

    &gt;&gt;you have to understand that when you get into these issues your falling into the squabble between people who want to control nature and people who want to work with her
    I'm really not doing small cell
    I'm doing natural cell
    just give em a narrow strip of foundation to get em started and then let em build what they want
    I don't have much experience but I have read a lot and my take on the issue is this
    humans for the last 200 years have been doing stuff to make the bees do what we want
    we put em in boxes like we want
    we give em frames of foundation so they build nice straight combs that are convinient for us to manipulate
    we steal there food and feed em sugar water
    the list is long
    all these thing stress the bees
    up till recently, they handled it ok
    now the t and v mites come along
    the bees are getting pounded
    the stuff we do ain't helping
    maybe we should back off and let the bees do what they want a little
    maybe we can help em a bit and they'll figure out how to handle the mites
    I might be all wrong but I sure like this idea better that trying to find a better pesticide to put in hives to kill mites, thats just not a road I want to go down
    The Barefoot Beekeeper http://www.biobees.com

  8. #88
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Volga, SD
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    I've been reading this one for a while, waiting to see if it ever comes back to the title of the thread. So far, no one seems to be listing an disadvantages, other than, possibly, SC bees produce less honey. Maybe, maybe not. Depends on who you ask, to judge from the nature of this thread.

    Anyway, leaving that alone, and, speaking as someone who is not currently keeping SC bees, I see one big disadvantage: AVAILABILITY. I can't believe no one else mentioned it yet.

    Take foundation, for instance. SC foundation is far less common than "commercial-sized" foundation. I know, I know, you can still find SC foundation or just let the bees make their own, but what if you want a plastic foundation for some purpose? Commercial-sized foundation is far more available than SC foundation.

    And look at bees themselves. Again, I know that you can "regress" pretty much any bee into SC bees, but let's just say that you already have SC bees and want to add some bees of different races. Could you find packages of SC bees, especially in certain races? I know you could always replace queens or regress bees, but I still think SC bees are far less available than commerical-sized bees.

  9. #89
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Devils Lake, North Dakota
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    9,123

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    Availablity of foundation is no longer an issue at all. Dadant has both wired and unwired. Honey Supercell now has fully drawn plastic comb.

    As far as small cell packages....... there are some but I never have had the need.

    Overall I don't see availability as a problem, at least not for me.

  10. #90
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    Dec 2005
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    Volga, SD
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    I knew someone would say such things! And I see your point, Bruce, but I'm not sure it contradicts what I was saying.

    For example, (you live in the Dakotas, too, so you'll see easily what I'm saying) I drive common vehicles in part because of the availability of parts. If I drove a Ferrari or a Maserati (or any other uncommon type of vehicle), I could still get parts, but they're not stocked around here. In other words, they're not readily available.

    I know you can order SC foundation and comb, and I realize you might even be able to order SC packages, but that doesn't make them as available as commercial-sized foundation or bees.

    Am I understanding correctly, you find it just as easy to find SC comb, foundation and bees as commercial-size? Do you find any disadvantages to SC, or is it all positive? If it's all positive, why did we ever switch away from it, and why isn't everyone using SC bees now?

  11. #91
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Knoxville, TN
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    1,933

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    http://www.princeton.edu/~spratt/Publications.htm

    The fourth publication down at the above link, references research that suggests construction of comb cell sizes are somewhat dependant on the size and amounts of each size of cells the workers come in contact with. Actually they're talking about drone vs. worker cell sizes, but I think is could be relavent.

    More importantly beekeepers on this site have reported not having good luck with small cell packages drawing small cell comb. Then think about statements about the regression process in itself.

    I conclude that "regressed bees" or "small cell bees" has more to do with the size comb the bees have in the hive. Not any learned behavior that has been developed in the bees. It seems like to me "regression" is selecting out the large cells which leaves smaller cells that the workers base future comb building on. I would NOT suspect small cell packages to be useful. Small cell nucs should give you small cell comb to start with however and this should help.

    [size="1"][ June 13, 2006, 02:27 PM: Message edited by: MichaelW ][/size]

  12. #92
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    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    &gt;And look at bees themselves. Again, I know that you can "regress" pretty much any bee into SC bees, but let's just say that you already have SC bees and want to add some bees of different races.

    If you have SC bees, then, by definition, you have SC drawn comb. If you have SC drawn comb, then you merely put any size or any race of bees on it and in three weeks, you'll have small cell bees.

    &gt; Could you find packages of SC bees, especially in certain races?

    In my experience, you can't find ANY packages in ANY size in certain races. You can only find packages of Italians workers with various races of queens. Put them on small cell drawn comb and you're done.

    &gt; I know you could always replace queens or regress bees, but I still think SC bees are far less available than commerical-sized bees.

    Of course. But once you have small cell drawn comb it's irelevant. And NOW you can buy fully drawn small cell plastic comb. Put any package on them and you'll have a small cell hive from the git go.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  13. #93
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    Dec 2005
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    "If you have SC drawn comb, then you merely put any size or any race of bees on it and in three weeks, you'll have small cell bees." -Michael Bush

    Really? I thought the larger workers would have trouble working with the small cells, so would be likely to tear them down and remake them into larger cells. If it's that easy, why do beekeepers claim it takes three years to fully "regress" bees?

    Aren't small cell bees smaller as adults than commercial-size bees? Don't smaller bees tend to build smaller cells and larger bees build larger cells?

    I know you CAN buy fully drawn small cell plastic comb now, as well as foundation, but that still doesn't make it as common (readily available) as commercial-size.

    And what about SC nucs? Are they available commonly?

    If all those factors work out, then the next disadvantage that I see is the perception among other people that your SC bees are somehow Africanized.

  14. #94
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Andover, Massachusetts
    Posts
    143

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    The key word in MB's comment was "SC DRAWN COMB" If it's already drawn they will just use it. If it's foundation, then yes, they will re work it if they have not been regressed.

    "I know you CAN buy fully drawn small cell plastic comb now, as well as foundation, but that still doesn't make it as common (readily available) as commercial-size."

    It's getting more and more common every year. Deep wired small cell wasn't available last year, now it is. Thank you Dadant.

    SC nucs are hard to come by. But as more people regress, the easier they will be to get. The trend is becoming more common. It probably won't be long before you can find all of these items "commonly" available.

  15. #95
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    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    &gt;Really? I thought the larger workers would have trouble working with the small cells, so would be likely to tear them down and remake them into larger cells. If it's that easy, why do beekeepers claim it takes three years to fully "regress" bees?

    Because no one has had a stock of drawn comb. I've put commercial Italians, Russians, Buckfasts and Carniolans on wax coated PermaComb and you have instant regression. The brood from day one is raised in small cells and they soon replace any wax builders that are not small.

    &gt;Aren't small cell bees smaller as adults than commercial-size bees?

    Sure, but that has nothing to do with the bees using small cell comb and nothing to do with the gestation period of the bees and nothing to do with varroa reproduction.

    &gt; Don't smaller bees tend to build smaller cells and larger bees build larger cells?

    Yes. But if they have drawn comb who's building comb? In a few weeks all the wax makers will be small bees.

    &gt;I know you CAN buy fully drawn small cell plastic comb now, as well as foundation, but that still doesn't make it as common (readily available) as commercial-size.

    If it's available and I can have it in a week, then it's available. What would it take to make it MORE available?

    &gt;And what about SC nucs? Are they available commonly?

    Commonly, no. But feed in some wax coated PermaComb or some drawn small cell wax or some Supercell and you'll have the core of the brood nest small in a very short time.

    &gt;If all those factors work out, then the next disadvantage that I see is the perception among other people that your SC bees are somehow Africanized.

    No one who has worked my bees has ever had that thought.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  16. #96
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    Dec 2005
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    "What would it take to make it MORE available?" -Michael Bush

    Well, I can simply pick up commercial-sized foundation locally. To my way of thinking, that makes it MORE available. I don't have to order it. (I go back to my exotic-car example -- if you can order any car part you need, why not drive strange, imported cars? By that standard, parts for all makes of cars are equally available.)

    "No one who has worked my bees has ever had that thought." -Michael Bush

    No, I know it. But, c'mon here, Michael! You know what I'm saying. Why do you get concerned about people insinuating that all SC bees are somehow AHB? I think it's because the perception (mistaken as it may be) is out there. I've read enough of your arguments to know that you're concerned about inspectors or others believing that your bees might be AHB, and, even though people who have worked your bees know differently, isn't it a disadvantage to face that perception among some of the public and some other beekeepers?

  17. #97
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    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    &gt;Well, I can simply pick up commercial-sized foundation locally.

    I guess I've never been used to having beekeeping supplies available locally. I've been ordering it most of my life.

    &gt;But, c'mon here, Michael! You know what I'm saying. Why do you get concerned about people insinuating that all SC bees are somehow AHB?

    I don't know why they do except there is this connection in their mind between small cells and AHB. I am afraid that if small cell doesn't get common there will be a problem with misidentifying bees. But so far I haven't heard of it happening.

    &gt;I think it's because the perception (mistaken as it may be) is out there. I've read enough of your arguments to know that you're concerned about inspectors or others believing that your bees might be AHB

    I have worried about it, yes. But the inspector inspects them every year and has not had that impression.

    &gt;isn't it a disadvantage to face that perception among some of the public and some other beekeepers?

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

  18. #98
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Inver Grove, MN
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    After reading the posts, I'm beginning to think the biggest disadvantage to small cell bees is fending off the attacks of other beekeepers who disagree with your methods!

    That and the process of regressing them. I bought some extra frames last fall and just started this spring to regress a hive on foundationless frames. It's not that it's all that difficult to do, but it's one more task that needed to be done this spring. I suppose once you have enough comb started, it's a non-issue.

    Time will tell how well this is working for me. This year I've had trouble with hives suddenly going queenless on me for no reason that I can determine. The hive I'm regressing is still going strong. I'm thinking I should have started regressing more than one just to be sure.

    I don't have any preconceived notions about small cell. My plan is to try it and see for myself.
    Linux - World domination through world cooperation

  19. #99
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    Sep 2004
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    Devils Lake, North Dakota
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    As put so well in earlier posts, small cell foundation is as available as any other foundation for me.

    There are no stores on the corner here that sell any style or kind of foundation, frames, or any beekeeping items for that matter. I order, it comes, it's available.

  20. #100
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Whiteville, NC
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    193

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    OK this thread is confusing me. I have understood from our past discussions of regressing that an intermediate cell size would be built by the bees and a second frame switch would be required to get to nc. This thread seems to imply if not state that regardless of size the bees will make natural cell immediately.

    Is this true only using sc foundation? If that's the case, is it a better management practice to regress using new foundation rather than starter strips or one of the other "foundationless" methods?

    Edited to correct spelling error.

    [size="1"][ June 15, 2006, 08:26 AM: Message edited by: GeeBeeNC ][/size]
    GeeB
    Life must be lived forward but understood backwards.

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