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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    santa cruz, california
    Posts
    31

    Post

    Thanks to Scott and Michael for your wealth of info on this forum, the bee wiki, and to all the others, I've had a total crash course these past two days reading all the posts in TBH and small cell miracle organic beekeeping!

    So I have these 3 swarms now, 2 who came in May and one two days ago, who have cleaned up my dirty Lang hives and are keeping house.

    I know I want small bees, small cells, foundationless and TBH probably of trapezoid design, although the converted lang long cell is interesting too.

    Will the larger bees I have here become small just because I go foundationless and top bar? Or will the brood that is born and bred on this prefab foundation I have on my hives, keep building the larger cell and remain "big" bees?

    Should I just sell the three of these and most of my Lang stuff and go new TBH all next season and buy small queen and colony to inhabit them? These swarms will not make me honey this year, one is mean, and they've basically just cleaned up and will make enuf to overwinter, so I'm not worried - I wasn't even going to do bees this year, they just came!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,108

    Post

    >Will the larger bees I have here become small just because I go foundationless and top bar?

    SmalLER yes. If you let them. If you take the offspring from those and give them new comb to build they will get even smaller. If you do it again they will get smaller. After about three regressions they won't get any smaller. Two is usually sufficient to get to 4.9mm or smaller for most of the brood. Three will get some as small as 4.6mm or smaller and an average of about 4.8mm.

    But the first time you let them it will run more on the average of about 5.1 to 5.2mm with most around 5.1mm and some smaller and some larger.

    >Should I just sell the three of these and most of my Lang stuff and go new TBH all next season and buy small queen and colony to inhabit them?

    I wouldn't. I would just feed in empty frames into the brood nest between the drawn combs and maybe make a shaken swarm from these to occupy your TBH.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Bradenton, FL, and Davenport, IA, USA
    Posts
    930

    Post

    The bees will regress as michael has said. The only way to accomplish regressing from scratch with foundationless is to cull combs and to do it at appropriate times of year. Earliest in the spring is best time for small cell building since the bees are focused very much on brooding. Leave the brood nest alone until its warm enough to open the hive. Then take you worst and largest combs and move them to the back of the brood nest so bees can emerge and replace them with empty topbars placed between you best existing combs in the center of the brood nest. It takes some time, but you can do it.

    Its not a bad idea to keep both langs and tbhs around. Although I have no longer have langstroths it is not intentional. I simply decided to get back into beekeeper with tbhs this time. ALl my money goes to lumber for those. I wouldn't mind having some langstroth equipment I just happen to really like my TBHs and would prefer making more of those than langstroths. The off chance you need to have some lang equipment laying around really does make having them a good idea. If you need to share resources with other beekeepers and they aren't using similar equipment as you, then you pretty much can count it out.
    Scot Mc Pherson<br />McPherson Family Honey Farms<br />Davenport, IA<br />BeeWiki: <a href=\"http://beewiki.linuxfromscratch.org\" target=\"_blank\">http://beewiki.linuxfromscratch.org</a> <br /><br />Pics:<br /> <a href=\"http://linuxfromscratch.org/~scot/pics/bees/\" target=\"_blank\">http://linuxfromscratch.org/~scot/pics/bees/</a>

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