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Thread: small cell bees

  1. #21

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    You are a wealth of information. Thank you so much.
    Jay Robinson

  2. #22
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    Oct 2004
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    Casper, WY
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    526

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    Hi Jay,

    >Has anyone ever bought a nuc and transferred it into a TBH? I am sure you would have to build your TBh with specific dimensions to accomodate the nuc frames. Anyone have any comments or plans for such a thing?

    My latest design has enough space beneath the top bar for deep frames. See: http://www.bwrangler.com/bee/tmyt.htm

    Barry Birkey has a tbh that will accomodate deep frames as well. When he transfered a split into his tbh, he just screwed the deep frame to the bottom of the top bar. See: http://www.beesource.com/eob/althive/birkey/index.htm

    Regards
    Dennis
    Last edited by D. Murrell; 11-07-2007 at 07:57 PM.

  3. #23

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    These are very well thought out and drawn out plans. I am going to be in my garage this weekend working away on a TBH based on your deeper design. I like the way regular frames fit due to the less sloped sides. And it looks so easy to build- I think I can do it! Thanks for the inspiration. This beesource is such a great way to exchange ideas.
    THANKS TO EVERYONE FOR HELPING ME GET MY BEE PROJECT GOING!

    JAY
    Jay Robinson

  4. #24
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    Nov 2004
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    Varroa has killed feral bees in New Zeland

    http://www.beekeeping.com/articles/u...evastation.htm

    In 4 years feral bees have vahished when varroa arrived to Auckland.

    Be carefull top bar - beekeepers. I have had varroa 20 years. No problem.

    *************
    Same has happened in USA, South Africa, in Finland ....

  5. #25
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    The feral bees here where I live, didn't get the memo. [img]smile.gif[/img]
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  6. #26
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    Nov 2004
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  7. #27

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    Finman
    Be carefull top bar - beekeepers. I have had varroa 20 years. No problem.

    How is that?Just throw some more chemicals on bees?For how long?Have you heared about mites developing resistance to chemical treatments?

    Or do you thing it is a good thing for bees to develop evolutionary in a chemical (poison)dependent creatures,so we can gain some more honey ,profit.

    Sasha
    "Do nothing. Time is too precious to waste." Buddha

  8. #28
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    Tucson, Arizona, USA
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    The feral bees here where I live, didn't get the memo. [Smile]
    Same here. Haven't really seen a lack of feral colonies. Started my colonies with captured feral bees. For at least the past 20 years there continue to be many feral colonies throughout my area.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  9. #29
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    May 2005
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    Georgia
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    I've only seen a few feral colonies where I live, but they are very viable and very strong.

    I wanted to thank bwrangler for his work, everyone should read his website, he has a plethora of information.
    I've discovered ferals, in a tree, building 5.1mm - 5.4mm cells. Cell building is based on bee genetics. When we put small cell foundation into a hive we are artificially forcing the bees to adopt a size.
    What are we, men or Beekeepers?

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    El Dorado County, CA
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    -When we put small cell foundation into a hive we are artificially forcing the bees to adopt a size.

    small cell-4.9mm-isnt an unnatural size for bees. what is unnatural is "forcing" the bees to
    draw one size of cell exclusive of others.
    all that is gold does not glitter

  11. #31
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    I agree that ANY foundation is forcing the bees to adopt a particular size. 4.9mm is more natural than 5.4mm but it's still not natural. Naturally they will draw a wide variety of sizes. Some of those will be 4.9mm. In my observation, not much if any will be 5.4mm.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  12. #32
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    But if we were to refer to the scientific reason, it WOULD be genetic. No one would say that the apis cerana(41mm-44mm) should be placed on 49mm, they build according to their genetic predisposition, or the apis florea, apis dorsata, apis laboriosa, apis mellifera, et cetera. The apis mellifera scutellata builds 47mm-49mm, apis mellifera(European) 52mm-56mm. And we could argue there are no pure races in North America. However, thanks to cell measurements taken in native habitats by researchers from Brother Adam until present day, we've got a good idea of the size cell built by each race.

    See the following article.
    http://www.beekeeping.com/articles/us/small_beekeeping/
    What are we, men or Beekeepers?

  13. #33
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    -apis mellifera(European) 52mm-56mm

    by nature (genetics) this is considered by some beeks "unnatural". instead this size would be by nurture (human manipulation). the idea is that the bees have to "regress" back to their natural size. this takes multiple cycles of brood building multiple cycles of smaller and smaller comb until a natural range is obtained.
    all that is gold does not glitter

  14. #34
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    >apis mellifera(European) 52mm-56mm

    There have been plenty of measurments taken over the centuries. If you look in the POV section for Dee Lusby's writings she has references to many articles and discussions on the size of bees and comb and the concept of enlarging it. We have plenty of easy to find evidence that bees used to be smaller.

    Find ABC & XYZ of Bee Culture books and look under “Cell Size”.

    Here’s some quotes from them:

    ABC & AXY of Bee Culture 38th Edition Copyright 1980 page 134

    “If the average beekeeper were asked how many cells, worker and drone comb, there were to the inch, he would undoubtedly answer five and four, respectively. Indeed some text books on bees carry that ratio. Approximately it is correct, enough for the bees, particularly the queen. The dimensions must be exact or there is a protest. In 1876 when A.I. Root, the original author of this book, built his first roll comb foundation mill, he had the die faces cut for five worker cells to the inch. While the bees built beautiful combs from this foundation, and the queen laid in the cells, yet, if given a chance they appeared to prefer their own natural comb not built from comb foundation. Suspecting the reason, Mr. Root then began measuring up many pieces of natural comb when he discovered that the initial cells, five to the inch, from his first machine were slightly too small. The result of his measurements of natural comb showed slightly over 19 worker cells to four inches linear measurement, or 4.83 cells to one inch.”

    Roughly this same information is in the 1974 version of ABC and XYZ of Bee Culture on page 136; the 1945 version on page 125; the 1877 version, on page 147 says: “The best specimens of true worker-comb, generally contain 5 cells within the space of an inch, and therefore this measure has been adopted for the comb foundation.

    This is followed in all but the 1877 version, by the way, with a section on “will larger cells develop a larger bee” and info on Baudoux.’s research.

    So let’s do the math:

    Five cells to an inch, the standard size for foundation in the 1800s and the commonly accepted measurement from that era, is five cells to 25.4mm which is ten cells to 50.8mm. This is 4mm smaller than standard foundation is now.

    A.I. Root's measurement of 4.83 cells to an inch is 5.25mm which is 1.5mm smaller than standard foundation. Of course if you measure comb much you’ll find a lot of variance in cell size, which makes it very difficult to say exactly what size natural comb is. But I have measured (and photographed) 4.7mm comb from commercial Carniolans and I have photographs of comb from bees Pennsylvania that are 4.4mm. Typically there is a lot of variance with the core of the brood nest the smallest and the edges the largest. You can find a lot of comb from 4.8mm to 5.2mm with most of the 4.8mm in the center and the 4.9mm, 5.0mm and 5.1mm moving out from there and the 5.2mm at the very edges of the brood nest. There is also variation by how you space the frames, or variation on how THEY space the combs. 1 ½” (38mm) will result in larger cells than 1 3/8” (35mm) which will be larger than 1 ¼” (32mm). In naturally spaced comb the bees will sometimes crowd the combs down to 30mm in places with 32mm more common in just brood comb and 35mm more common where there is drone on the comb. So what is natural comb spacing? It is the same problem as saying what natural cell size is. It depends.

    But in my observation, if you let them do what they want, for a couple of comb turnovers, you can find out what the range of these is and what the norm is. The norm was (and is) NOT the standard foundation size of 5.4mm cells and it is NOT the standard comb spacing of 35mm comb.

    BTW Baudoux was doing experiments with sizes of foundation from 4.7mm up to 5.555mm. Even he, and he was obsessed with trying to make the bees larger, hadn't got up to 5.6mm yet at the time of those charts. So European Honey Bees were apparently building 4.7mm foundation into 4.7mm cells for him in the late 1800's and early 1900's.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  15. #35
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    Apr 2005
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    Puget Sound
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    >>They all tolerated mites when on small cell comb. But not all of them had the other qualitites I desire in my bees.

    What qualities do you find desirable?

    Do you think a standard set of qualities are needed for beekeepers or if each area should try to develop a bee that works best in their area?

    Any hints on what to look for in selecting ideal bees for your local environment?

  16. #36
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    Oct 2004
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    Casper, WY
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    Hi Oldgreyone,

    Everyone wants productive, gentle, disease resistant bees that overwinter great. And some even want them to be a specific color :&gt

    But I'm going to toss out something a little different. First, when selecting bees, a beekeeper must get to know the colonies specifically. And that can take some time. A season at least, and maybe more is required. With lots of hives, think thousands, mark them and watch them. If you have just a few, you will know each one as well as a man with several dogs knows his pets.

    Through time, several colonies will begin to stand out. I find it easier and more realistic to keep some simple records and not get too involved with the 'numbers'. When focused on the numbers, it's just too easy to become myopic. Some other very unquantifiable but important characteristics can easily be lost when chasing the numbers. After all, it's going to be a relative and somewhat subjective comparison between your hives. After a time, you will know the best colonies that suit your needs. Breed from those. When you've repeated this process a few times, the knowing becomes very intuitive.

    So, how would your bees stack up against all those other productive, gentle, disease resistant bees that overwinter great as advertised in the b mags? There's only one way to know and that's the same way as before. You've got to get to know them for yourself.

    One fact that's easily forgotten is that all honeybees are more alike than different. It you ordered a hundred queens reared off the same breeder and mated in the same yard, and looked at a single characteristic, about 10% of them would be on one end of the spectrum. Another 10% would be at the opposite end of the spectrum. And the other 80% would be just about an average of the two. The bell shaped curve is very flat rather than narrowly peaked. And this is another good reason why it takes quite a few queens to properly assess a breeders stock.

    Testing done by Farrar and others indicated that colony performance was more dependant on 'how'
    replacement queens were raised, rather than on what kind of stock they were raised from. I suspect this is true of many other qualities as well.

    Regards
    Dennis

    [size="1"][ March 24, 2006, 09:06 PM: Message edited by: B Wrangler ][/size]

  17. #37
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    Jun 2005
    Location
    Rhea County, Tennessee
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    I just installed some Russians...one package in a Standard Lang, the other in a TBH...for comparison/fun.
    I had earlier installed two full sheets of wired, small cell (4.9) foundation trimed to the sides, and four 1/2 sheets, also trimed to the sides.
    (The TBH was actually easier, I think.
    However, it had not occured to me until I started to install them that one cannot install between the bars as in a LANG...duhhhh...it leaves the top open...
    I made an extra top bar, sawed out a square slot just large enough to drop the queen cage into...
    So, quick-fix, I dropped the queen cage in the slot after removing the plug, dumped the bees in the empty space one frame away from her, then shut it up. I reduced the entrance significantly at first, at least until a day or two after the queen is released.)
    Second day, checked both for the queen's release, neither were released yet...many bees clustered around her, hanging in chains from her...no problem with them finding her.
    Much comb already present, REGULAR, ON THE FOUNDATION, NORMAL PACKAGE BEES, APPARENTLY UNREGRESSED, APPEAR TO BE BUILDING PERFECT COMB ON THE SMALL CELL WITH NO PROBLEM...YET. If they keep this up, I will start having smaller bees in a month? Could it really be that easy? Did I miss something? Experienced TBH people: What do I need to watch out for?
    Incidently, they seemed very much at home, and surprisingly calm. I poked a hole in the candy with a stick, too big of a hole and the queen bailed out immediately, into the TBH, thankfully.
    Replaced the TB with the hole for the queen cage with a regular TB, no foundation. I think I will add foundation to all, it just works sooooo well.
    Last night, marked queen was not found...very disappointing. Looked at all frames once again and found her, but without the white marking...maybe just a flake...did the workers remove the marking?
    Do watch for attachments to the wall though, I suspect I got one too close to a side and I broke the edge before I realized it, being fresh new comb...I'm going to drop an old hacksaw blade in the empty side of the hive to have handy for a comb-release tool.
    Oh well, so far so good with my first TBH...
    'Sorry for the long post, but someone out there may find it helpful or interesting.

    Roy

  18. #38
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    Oct 2004
    Location
    Portsmouth, VA
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    Rbar,
    I don't have enough practical experience to answer your questions, but I do know that anything placed in the hive gets propolised quickly. How quickly depends on the strength of the hive. Your old hacksaw blade will not be "handy" in two weeks, in a full-sized hive.
    James Burns
    Science is...the acquisition of reliable knowledge about the world (Jared Diamond).

  19. #39
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    Jun 2005
    Location
    Rhea County, Tennessee
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    James,
    The empty blocked off rear section is where I'll keep the hacksaw blade...I HOPE that soon there is no place to keep it...means the hive is full!

    Roy

  20. #40
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    Oct 2001
    Location
    Bradenton, FL, and Davenport, IA, USA
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    James and RBar,
    You can place your tools above the topbars under the cover.

    James,
    Your hives should have plenty of room in the Attic to hide just about anything except maybe a smoker.
    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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