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Thread: small cell

  1. #21
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    a valid question Mike
    if all hives had low mite counts then the study wouldn't seem to tell much
    the results look discouraging for SC, but you have to ask "why do they disagree with the experiences that people using SC have had?"
    perhaps the ultimate data we want is survivability, not mite counts
    just a thought
    I have no experience with "life sciences" type experiments but it seems to me that with so many variables in play it's really the end results that count

    Dave

  2. #22
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    Default My rambling thoughts

    As I said on another recent post, my personal theory/suspicion is that people who have been successful with small cell have been breeding better bees and/or mites, since they do not treat. Small cell could also have something to do with it. However, I do not think that specific incidents of people on small cell having few or no mites means that small cell is the cause of the low mite counts.

    I do want to stress that I am a first year beekeeper, and my theories are just theories.

    Also, I started out on small cell this year, and I ordered small cell bees. Last time I did 24 hour mite counts (in August) I had only one dead mite in each hive. In my own case, I'm not sure to what extent the small cell, genetics, luck or the fact that these are new hives are the cause. I have observed hygenic behavior in these bees earlier in the year. Also, when I had a disease issue, the queens stopped brood rearing altogether for a couple of weeks. So I do think that there is a genetic component. Whatever the cause, I like the fact that I did not have mites.

    On the other hand, I was not otherwise thrilled with the hives, which had slow growth and did not draw new comb very well. I'm not sure whether that is the downside of hygenic behavior or is a totally unrelated problem. We did have some very rainy weather during the time that bees should have been making lots of wax. There were lots of beekeepers who had hives with slow growth, which they blame on the weather. However, if I find over the long term that hygenic and/or small cell bees mean unproductive bees, then I figure that I would be better getting normal old Italians and treating with Thymol or Formic Acid.

    In short, I don't really know what to think at this point in my beekeeping. Based upon what I read on these forums, I think these are questions that befuddle a lot of us. Some people have definite opinions, so maybe not everyone's befuddled. Problem is, the firm believers in certain philosophies disagree. with each other.

    My bottom line for anybody who is starting out in beekeeping is this -- don't let this subject worry you to much or think that you have to know the answers to these issues. I'm not sure anybody has the answers, but there's plenty of people who have figured out ways to deal with varroa. Just get a plan and monitor for mites.

    I think it would be interesting if Michael Bush would take a group of hives to a location where they are segregated from his other hives, put them on standard foundation and see what happens. (I do not want to be responsible for the mite explosions that might happen, but even then he would have the satisfaction of saying "I told ya so.") Maybe I'll buy some of his queens and and put them on standard foundation. (If he's willing to sacrifice those genetics them by selling them to me.)

    ndvan
    Last edited by NeilV; 10-26-2007 at 06:02 AM.

  3. #23
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    "We had significantly more bees in small cell than we did in regular cell at the end of the experiment."

    Jennifer Berry

  4. #24
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    Barry,
    And as soon as she tells me what the starting numbers were, the pattern or growth rate perhaps plotted on a chart, and the final numbers, it may actually mean something to me. Right now its a casual observation with no data, no reasoning, and no other suggestions. I would not read into too deeply.

    Tests that want to make anything of numbers or observations like this is easy to do. I spent long hours counting frames of brood and percentages of utilized frames in hundreds of hives with testing such as this. The variables of why one hive has more bees than the next include many things to consider. But if the test was not specifically set up to take these variables into account and observe how one hive progresses over another, the data means little. I'm not saying her tests are not valid. Just putting more meaning into this one observation is invalid.

    Besides, I heard for years that smallcell was for mite control. Don't go changing mid-stream now. Mite control is very questionable. So will that be the battle cry now..."smallcell means more bees"?

    What does more bees mean anyways? Bees years ago were bred to be bigger for larger honey yields. So will it take a larger amount of smallcell bees to bring in the same amount of nectar than larger bees? Seems like a wash on that one.

    So mites control is questionable. Honey production is not tested. But yes, "We breed more bees with smallcell" can be claimed. Well Duh! I didn't need this test to show me something I already knew. And anyone giving any thought as to cluster warmth, cells per square inch, and other factors could very easily come to the same observation, even if it were in their heads.

    Now, let me go look at some of my smallcell hives.....

  5. #25
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    [QUOTE=drobbins;270407]perhaps the ultimate data we want is survivability, not mite counts

    survivability is where my interest lies.
    all that is gold does not glitter

  6. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by stangardener View Post
    survivability is where my interest lies.
    The arrival of Africanized bees should put a smile on your face.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  7. #27
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    Default

    Who said that????

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by BjornBee View Post
    Right now its a casual observation with no data, no reasoning, and no other suggestions. I would not read into too deeply.
    Bjorn, Now that I've seen your mug, I must readjust my mind, but now it's even more difficult because your twin brother is my neighbor. Yikes, you two are amazingly alike. BTW, I like my neighbor and get along well with him.

    Okay, regarding a deep look into the numbers. I'm not jumping off the bridge over this one. I do find it interesting that in spite of the results showing little difference between the large and small cell bees in the mite department, SC bees had a "significant" larger bee population in the end. I suspect it may be nothing more than SC having more cells in the hive, but what effect might this have on the overall health and survivability of the colony?

    Those of us who have been using SC for many years, know for ourselves the different dynamics that take place with our bees, unlike that of our LC bees. The data may mean little, but it is yet another observed confirmation of things all of us on SC see. There is no need to make more out of it. At least for me.

    Besides, I heard for years that smallcell was for mite control. Don't go changing mid-stream now. Mite control is very questionable. So will that be the battle cry now..."smallcell means more bees"?
    I detect a bit of sarcasm here. I stopped giving the battle cry years ago. Those who are interested will be self motivated to make the change. Once I converted over and didn't have to do any sort of treating, my focus changed. I'll let others hash out the debate as to the why questions while I enjoy my bees.

    What does more bees mean anyways?
    Good question.

    Bees years ago were bred to be bigger for larger honey yields.
    And that flopped.

    Well Duh! I didn't need this test to show me something I already knew.
    Yes, there is a "duh" factor, but I'm thinking beyond that and my experience with SC gives me a gut feeling there is more to this.

    - Barry

  9. #29
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    >SC bees had a "significant" larger bee population in the end. I suspect it may be nothing more than SC having more cells in the hive, but what effect might this have on the overall health and survivability of the colony?

    I don't think that having more cells in hive will speed the queen up any when she lays her eggs. The reason that there is more bees in a SC colony could be that the littler bees don't wear their bodies out as quickly as the bigger bees so they live longer. Remember Ralph Waldo Emerson and all the other famous "giants". They were bigger people, but by being bigger they had more of a strain on their bodies and died at an earlier age than normal people. SC makes bees more "normal' or closer to their natural size as they should be. Just throwing a hypothesis out there.

  10. #30
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    Barry,
    I guess what bothers me about this conversation is the lack of responses as rebuttals to J. Berry. I heard for years that smallcell showed reduced mite levels and that those with side by side studies (informal as they may be), mites were drastically reduced.

    But what were left with is from what I see is rationalization at its best. I've heard that the mite levels are similar due to "drift". Anyone breeding or doing thousands of sugar rolls as I have done, See's that this is not true in any stretch of the imagination. I have documentation of yards where even number hives are one type, and odd numbers hives are another. And the numbers go high, low, high, low, high, low, throughout the yard.

    Now were on too.."We will have to give it a few years". Seems like those making smallcell claims of past, did not wait that long before commenting and making claims. Seems some of that chatter all happened within a year.

    So now were left with, "As long as my bees survive, that's all the proof I need". Doesn't take long for jumping from one wagon to another it seems. So one has smallcell, has hives survive, and they attribute it to smallcell. What about all those hives that have survived without being on smallcell? I got plenty of them. But I don't suggest its my use of one thing or another. Why? Because I have seen smallcell bees do good, and smallcell do bad. The same can be seen from regular sized bees on standard comb.

    I know we could go round and round on this. I'm just amazed how fast the whole "small cell has less mites" has been brushed aside and I don't hear as much as a peep from the followers. One little study and its "lets change the subject" and not get to worried about this. After all it must be something else! The whole basis of smallcell was mite reduction. So much for that!

    I have played around with smallcell and have smallcell hives. I also had the luxury of knowing and inspecting several others who have smallcell hives. And from what I have seen, its a whole lot of hype. Or at least the reasoning and explanation is not as its been given thus far. Of course its something else. I think the same is true for those making the same claims about this line of bees or that line of bees. Its something else beyond this one point.

    At the end of the day, I'm still surprised how fast one little study has shoved the claims so many made, off onto the back burner. I would of expected someone to refutiate the comments, Say she "crazy" and does not know what she is doing, or at least find something to counter the suggestions she has made. But were left with "its something else", and although previously shouted from the highest peaks that mites were low or seen as being much lower then standard hives when using smallcell, we now hear "its not the mites that matter, its whether they survive".

    I personally have spoke to others about smallcell. And not everyone who has smallcell thinks as some do on this board about the claims that were previously made. I would never call them out. But I think as we move forward, you will begin to hear others who have less than positive results with smallcell.

    BTW Barry, That other guy is my twin! He's the good one.....
    Last edited by BjornBee; 10-27-2007 at 06:12 PM.

  11. #31
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    I'm not sure what kind of response anyone expects. I didn't treat my bees for years (decades actually) with no problems until the Varroa turned up and then they would ALL die, obviously from Varroa, when I didn't treat. I went to small cell and I never saw another loss that I could attribute to Varroa. Sure there were occasional hives that went queenless and failed and the typical losses of hives that were marginal going into a hard winter, but I never had any losses from that point on that I would say were Varroa and I have trouble finding any Varroa now. I started out just regressing commercial bees and saw the mite problems disappear. So whatever the study comes up with, I have no intentions of going back to losing all my bees every other year. I much prefer the enjoyment I get from just keeping bees.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  12. #32
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    MB,
    "regressed, and mite problems disappear".

    Sounds so good. But don't forget the many comments made by you over the years that included losing hives while regressing, perhaps taking several years. And then there is the breeding from survivors along the way. Throw in some ferals and other stock along the way. And in the end, I'm sure your bees were different from when you started.

    But I guess "regressed, and mite problems disappear" sounds better. Never mind that its a subtle change from "mites went away" to "mite problems went away (disappear)". I'm sure many will making that change in future comments.

    At least we have stopped openly commenting that smallcell takes care of everything under the sun to include afb, etc.

    The memories are many.....
    Last edited by BjornBee; 10-27-2007 at 06:25 PM.

  13. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by BjornBee View Post
    I heard for years that smallcell showed reduced mite levels and that those with side by side studies (informal as they may be), mites were drastically reduced.
    I don't think I have ever said this as I've never counted mites. Others may have, but what I have said is that the SC bees "handled" the mites fine by themselves, without treatments. I have never seen mites on the bees or in the comb since converting, but that doesn't mean they aren't there.

    Because I have seen smallcell bees do good, and smallcell do bad. The same can be seen from regular sized bees on standard comb.
    Hmmm, I've not seen this to be true for myself. LC bees without some form of treatment haven't survived.

    - Barry

  14. #34
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    Barry,
    Maybe you didn't mention it. But many others did. Why do you think so many eyebrows went up when J. Berry made her comments. Because that's what people didn't expect, and its certainly not what many had stated. She didn't come out and make a comment about "handling" mites, she came out and commented on mite "levels".

    This has evolved from the whole "shorter" capped cell time, and the whole notion that mites bred fewer mites in cells on smallcell comb. that's whats been stated over and over. It may not of been Barry, but come on....the basis of claims about smallcell and mites came down to capping time, fewer mites, and claims of superior mite levels as compared to standard cell bees. That's what the whole thing was about. You can step sideways and suggest other "may have", but we all know that this was the story all along. Fewer mites on smallcell. And for anyone questioning that, it was always suppressed due to no good studies.

  15. #35
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    >>>>Hmmm, I've not seen this to be true for myself. LC bees without some form of treatment haven't survived.<<<<

    I guess I have to jump in here. You are invited to come see the 5 year old hive I was given by a friend who lost 30 + hives in the early 90's to mites. In fact, he lost all his hives except one. Being an old country boy who had never studied bees, just owned and robbed them, he never treated for anything. His one hive swarmed, the swarm swarmed, etc. When I got into bees again in 2002, he gave me a swarm off one of his 5 hives. I have never treated it or any of the resulting hives I got from it. Neither him nor I have used sc. That 5 year old hive at this time has 2 deeps and 2 mediums and I cannot lift it to see how much it weighs. I can lift 150 lb.
    I have also received nothing but compliments from the folks I have sold nucs to from this hive and it's descendants. They have all been on lc.

    All bees on lc that are not treated do NOT die.

  16. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by iddee View Post
    I have never treated it or any of the resulting hives I got from it.
    Really?

    "I haven't experienced any negative actions with fogging" Your words.

  17. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by BjornBee View Post
    Barry,
    Maybe you didn't mention it. But many others did. Why do you think so many eyebrows went up when J. Berry made her comments. Because that's what people didn't expect, and its certainly not what many had stated.
    It hasn't phased me. I have ideas as to why the mite levels were as stated, but so what. It doesn't change the fact that those of us on SC are able to keep bees without any treatments. Goodness, even Bill, who's bees were used, hasn't treated ever. So there are mites in his hives. So? Try to use this as a beating stick, but it changes nothing in reality, only in the mind.

    - Barry

  18. #38
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    I remove 30 to 50 hives from structures, trees, etc. annually. These bees I treat.

    The bees from the one hive and their descendants are in another yard and receive no treatments of any kind.

  19. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barry View Post


    . LC bees without some form of treatment haven't survived.

    - Barry
    I started beekeeping in 04, bought 3 packages of Kona's and started doing removals (kona's have past), I have never treated a hive in my life, never even saw one be treated, I am not on small cell and never done a sugar shake or even a mite count and my bee's live fine, I bought 3 PBA queens 2 years ago and they live fine also, bee's are living more and more every day without being on small cell but small cell people will not see this because they think it is small cell is the reason, in their case it could be but I splurge and want bee's that survive without putting on small cell, I always thought the bee's would adapt and my removals have I guest, I have never been sold on small cell working like most say, but it, could but when my bee's make it on regular cell, makes me wonder if it isn't just the bee's themselves instead of their cells, I have said before that my father didn't know he was suppose to treat hives and his have made it over 13 years and one hive is going on 16, he just got them for his garden. he's never even change out the frames unless them needed to be changed..


    I have been thinking lately that people selling SC queens for high dollar, well if they need SC to live, wonder what I can get for my regular cell queens that live? my queens are more versatile, mine can live on SC but theirs cant live on regular cell, sounds like twice the bee and should be twice the price ,,,,, aw I am just kidding but the thought has crossed my mind,,, got that spoon out stirring the pot!!!!!
    Last edited by TwT; 10-28-2007 at 05:58 AM.
    Ted

  20. #40

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    I, too, know several beeks who maintain untreated hives using traditional cell. In my opinion, it isn't the size of the cell that matters. Most folks who go to small cell are conscientious beekeepers. They cull comb with excessive drone cells. They don't keep ancient brood comb. Many have introduced feral queens into their yards. Michael Bush often extolls the idea of foundationless beekeeping. We all know that many commercial beekeepers use loads of chemicals most of us wouldn't want in our hives. Where do you suppose that wax for foundation (or for coating plastic) comes from? The overall well being (long term survival) of our colonies is the result of many variables and varroa are only one piece.

    As an aside, in conjunction with the small cell study, Cindy Bee, a highly respected beekeeper and bee remover, brought out many dozens of feral brood combs from her removals. Out of the 40+ samples so far, I believe, Jennifer said that only a couple were less than 5mm. Most were 5.2+. Cindy, by the way, is one of the beekeepers I know who has never treated and does not use small cell.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

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