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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Kennebunk, Maine
    Posts
    203

    Post

    I started two packages on small cell starter strips. When the second brood chamber combs are drawn will they be 4.9 or somewhere between 5.1 and 4.9? I know I will have to switch out all of the combs from the first brood chamber but what about the second?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Volga, SD
    Posts
    2,790

    Post

    From what Michael Bush and others have said on other threads, you can fully regress a package of bees in about three weeks by simply giving them fully drawn, plastic, SC comb (not foundation). I would say that's a lot less time-consuming than having to switch out combs.

    I haven't tried any of this for myself, so I don't know how easily or well any of these methods work.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,104

    Post

    >I started two packages on small cell starter strips. When the second brood chamber combs are drawn will they be 4.9 or somewhere between 5.1 and 4.9?

    Every hive varies. Comb building is somewhat variable by genetics. Measure it and you'll know. Usually the first generation from the smaller (5.1mm) cells will build about 4.9mm for worker brood comb.

    > I know I will have to switch out all of the combs from the first brood chamber but what about the second?

    Actually you may NOT have to swtich out ALL the combs. I've had some as small as 4.7mm from unregressed bees, but it tends to run more around 5.1mm. I'd measure the center of all of it and keep any that is in the 4.9mm or smaller range regardless of what stage of regression you're in.

    The goal is to have 4.9mm or smaller in the core of the brood nest. Measure across ten cells with a metric ruler. If it's 4.9cm for ten cells, or smaller, then you're there.

    Here's some comb from a commercial package of large cell Carniolans:

    http://www.bushfarms.com/images/47mmCombMeasurement.jpg

    It's the exception to get this small from large cell bees, not the rule, but it's worth measuring the comb.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Knoxville, TN
    Posts
    1,933

    Post

    Does it makes a difference wether or not your starter strips are small cell or regular cells?
    Talking about strips about 3/4" or less.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Ottawa Ontario Canada
    Posts
    28

    Post

    can someone point me to background on regressing and why? not familiar with the idea. thanks

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,104

    Post

    >Does it makes a difference wether or not your starter strips are small cell or regular cells?

    I have not tried using the large cell. My guess is it won't matter much since a lot of foundationless has a row of larger cells at the top anyway. I've only used blank ones or small cell ones.

    >can someone point me to background on regressing and why? not familiar with the idea.

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

    Also try a search on these forums on small cell.

    The short version is that standard foundation is much larger than natural worker cell size. The results are a longer gestation period for the bees and more Varroa mites. The resons for doing it are mostly to deal with Varroa, but there is also the whole natural system of getting back to natural sized bees. Since the package bees you generally get are raised on this "standard" 5.4mm foundation it's difficult for those bees to build 4.9mm cells (small cell foundation). They will, if you give them 4.9mm foundation, usually build about 5.1mm instead. But the bees raised on that will typically draw 4.9mm. 4.9mm or below in the core of the brood nest is what small cell beekeepers have found adequate to deal with the mites.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Ottawa Ontario Canada
    Posts
    28

    Post

    Michael, in a top bar hive will the bees naturally regress or do you have to kick start them with smaller cell size starter strip on the top bar? I insert a 3/4in wide strip of foundation into saw cut glued with wax, to get my bees oriented and started.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,104

    Post

    >Michael, in a top bar hive will the bees naturally regress or do you have to kick start them with smaller cell size starter strip on the top bar?

    I mostly use a triangular comb guide in all my hives including the top bar hives. In my experience they will regress just as well and just as fast.

    > I insert a 3/4in wide strip of foundation into saw cut glued with wax, to get my bees oriented and started.

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

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    santa cruz, california
    Posts
    31

    Post

    Michael, are you pressing your own starter strip or just culling that from drawn comb you already have? So do you do a saw cut into the triangular shaped top bar for the starter strip?

    And if you don't already have drawn small cell comb for starters or frames of it - what is your preferred method for getting to the regression from a strong not treated large cell colony?

    I've been feeding in foundationless frames as you suggested between drawn out large plasticell frames and they are drawing comb that is smaller in the middle than the sides, but it seems to be a slow process and I didn't have the foundationless frames with the triangle comb guide on the top bar. I've used your popsicle stick trick and just put in a plain old frame with a regular top bar too and they've drawn on both, so far straight cause its in between 2 drawn combs though the whole hive is a large cell hive.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,104

    Post

    >Michael, are you pressing your own starter strip or just culling that from drawn comb you already have?

    When I started out I was cutting them from 4.9mm foundation. Then I made plain wax sheets. Now I mostly just cut triangular guides or cut the top bar into a bevel.

    > So do you do a saw cut into the triangular shaped top bar for the starter strip?

    No. If you have the triangluar top bar you need no starter strip and you need no wax. Just the triangular top bar works fine.

    >And if you don't already have drawn small cell comb for starters or frames of it - what is your preferred method for getting to the regression from a strong not treated large cell colony?

    Give them foundationless frames with the triangular top bar. Let them do what they do. Work anything bigger then 4.9mm to the outside and then out of the brood nest. Feed empty frames into the middle. The empty frames in the middle of two drawn combs don't need anything. Any empty frame will do.

    As far as guides, you can just cut the combs out of large cell drawn combs and leave half of the first row of cells and they will build fine on those.

    >I've been feeding in foundationless frames as you suggested between drawn out large plasticell frames and they are drawing comb that is smaller in the middle than the sides

    That's typical. The core is where you want the 4.9mm.

    > but it seems to be a slow process and I didn't have the foundationless frames with the triangle comb guide on the top bar.

    Between drawn brood comb you won't need it.

    > I've used your popsicle stick trick and just put in a plain old frame with a regular top bar too and they've drawn on both, so far straight cause its in between 2 drawn combs though the whole hive is a large cell hive.

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

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Dayton, OH USA
    Posts
    303

    Post

    I started 3 packages on 4.9 starter strips this year and it appears that 2 have built 4.9. The third built something much larger, I guess I will have to work that one through another round of frames. All 3 from same supplier.

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