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Thread: small cell

  1. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by iddee View Post
    Quoted by Barry>>>>without ANY treatments or unusual manipulations for many years<<<<

    I do not and will not believe there is a beek in the usa who uses sc or lc and does nothing else to help or support their hive. That quote looks to be a PMA to me. It defies a reply of any kind.
    Well it's not. You made my point, that as beekeepers, there's a lot more to it than just "I keep bees on LC and am successful."

    So why credit one item when there are multiple things going on in the hives.
    So tell us about all the things going on in your hives that you attribute to being able to successfully keep bees on LC without any kind of treatments. Come on, there should be a long list now as many of us who have gone the SC route have created websites full of details backing up our findings.

    I also notice Barry didn't come back on my untreated LC hives after I said all my treating was on my removals. I wonder why.
    Because I didn't see the need to. I addressed your come back in my most recent posts. I just forgot to include your quote.

    - Barry

  2. #62
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    Barry, I have already detailed this exchange....

    Someone asked how smallcell STOPS mites from reproducing.

    I said "Smallcell does not stop mites from reproducing.

    Fill in here.............................................. .............

    Now, How about filling in the one statement you seemingly conveniently forgot to mention as you selectively chose those comments from MB to make your point.

    Then read them together and perhaps you can see a little more than what you quoted.

    Is this so hard? To actually read the comments I am referencing?

    And whether I'm making a case out of something or not, how about next time qouting the entire comment. Or at least the sentence that you selected the TWO words from.
    Last edited by BjornBee; 10-29-2007 at 12:33 PM.

  3. #63
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    Barry, you mention all the websites that SC users have made. Backing up their claims.

    I guess that was one of my earlier points in this thread. For all the talk, all the hype, all the comments, websites and so-called details as you say, not a lot was offered after J. Berry came out with her findings thus far. I asked "where is the rebuttals? But nothing.

    What I saw was a lot of back peddling, rationalization, changing of the points concerning mites(smallcell reduces mites, then we went to "counts don't matter its how healthy or effective it is", to now someone suggesting that smallcell STOPS mites from reproducing altogether.

    Makes me wonder how professional or detailed some of that so-called information is on those websites.

    As a side note to your discussion with iddee, I already pointed out the question as to "why smallcell users only attribute their success to smallcell, and nothing else?" No reply by anyone. But now your asking another person to list all the contributing factors to success on LC. Hmmm.

    At this point, How about listing the reasons that SC is successful? I heard it was capping time and suppressed mite reproduction. Then I heard some waver and suggest that perhaps the counts don't matter that maybe something else was at work. Now we have suggestions that SC completely STOPS mite reproduction.

    Maybe someone should start answering why SC works. Is there anyone out there that can add to that beyond "it doesn't matter, they survive!" Yeah, like that answers it.

  4. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by BjornBee View Post
    Barry, I have already detailed this exchange....

    Someone asked how smallcell STOPS mites from reproducing.

    I said "Smallcell does not stop mites from reproducing.
    And Michael said:

    " Hmmmm. Not mine nor many others... but that seems to be the results of Jennifer Berry's one experiment."

    Now, we can interpret this exchange as Michael saying SC completely "stops" and eliminates all mites from the hives/bees, or we can say his meaning was that SC "stops" mites from reproducing, but not to a point of zero mites. Given all that he has said on this forum, which one do you think is the correct meaning? The second meaning is just as truthful because there was no qualifier to the original statement.

    - Barry

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    Thats what I figured. More rationalization.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BjornBee View Post
    For all the talk, all the hype, all the comments, websites and so-called details as you say, not a lot was offered after J. Berry came out with her findings thus far. I asked "where is the rebuttals? But nothing.
    Well, why the need for a rebuttal? It changes not a thing in my hives.

    What I saw was a lot of back peddling, rationalization, changing of the points concerning mites(smallcell reduces mites, then we went to "counts don't matter its how healthy or effective it is", to now someone suggesting that smallcell STOPS mites from reproducing altogether.
    Now you've added a word. "smallcell STOPS mites from reproducing altogether" isn't a quote you can find from anyone on this thread. Your word added at the end makes it mean something different, technically speaking, since that is what you're building a case on.

    At this point, How about listing the reasons that SC is successful?
    Nope, not by me. I've already given blood to inform people and frankly, if you're only going to sit there and debate it and never get your own hands dirty, well, that's as far as it will go.

    - Barry

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    Barry,
    You can read it all you want.

    Someone said "How does smallcell STOP mite reproduction. STOP being the KEY word.

    I said "Smallcell does not STOP mite reproduction.

    MB suggested that my comment was not true. He suggested that in HIS hives and others, that mite reproduction is STOPPED.

    If I say "smallcell does not stop mite reproduction". And the next person says "No, it does" regardless of the words used, the meaning is still the same.


    I said smallcell does not stop mite reproduction. The very next comment repudiated that. Very clear to me. There was no other meaning suggested or made.

    The saying could of been "No way", "uh, uh", or anything else. Its hard to convey the meaning in further dialog when I am referencing a rebuttal or repudiation of my clear comment. You have to convey the meaning. I in no way said MB said this or that. I said he suggested it.

    Again....

    Someone asked how smallcell STOPS mite reproduction.

    I said very clearly "Smallcell does not stop mite reproduction".

    MB conveyed that it must be true by commenting "Not in my hives......"

    Three consecutive comments. All based on a point of smallcell stopping mite production or not. Its one or the other. I said no, MB suggested OTHEWISE!

    I have acknowledge that I won't dispute MB's own findings. And that I fully acknowledge his new stance on his commenting or SUGGESTING that smallcell does in fact STOP mite reproduction.

    Not sure what the bid deal is at this time.
    Last edited by BjornBee; 10-29-2007 at 02:07 PM.

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    Barry, please explain your comment about me not getting my hands dirty. I certainly don't want to misread something here....

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    Quote Originally Posted by BjornBee View Post
    If I say "smallcell does not stop mite reproduction". And the next person says "No, it does" regardless of the words used, the meaning is still the same.
    Then only Michael can put this to rest by telling us what HIS understanding of your words were when he replied to you.

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    "Hands dirty" meaning putting bees on SC for more than a couple of years, giving the bees time to settle in, reporting back to everyone with pictures and details about what is happening, being open to critic. When you do this, I'll openly and at great length discuss with you all the details of SC. Already did it myself, see no reason to do it again. Dennis, Dee, Erik and others who are one other lists were part of the process.

    - Barry

  11. #71
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    Hi Guys,

    >At HAS Jennifer Berry reported that the UGA study is complete... which was a one year study that showed no significant difference in mite counts.

    After one year, the results of my small cell experience was much worse than J. Berry's. I'd seen some interesting bee behavior, but the mites killed over 90% of my hives. And the few survivors were just barely dinks. I visited with the Lusby's and they encouraged me to continue with my survivors. I did just that. And what a difference after the second season.

    >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.....

    That's what I thought back in 1996. And my first year's experience with small cell seemed to confirm it. That's one of the reason's I traveled to the Lusbys. I returned with a couple of nucs. But they proved unsuitable and were destroyed after a short time.

    I continued with the survivors but they proved susceptible to parafoul, the result of a genetic bottleneck from my limited number of survivors. I requeened with a sample of just about every commercial selection available in the US. These bees thrived without treatment when on small cell. And also in tbhs with an undisturbed broodnest.

    But when these same bees/queens, that had thrived without treatments on small cell, were put back into hives with clean, large cell comb, in the same beeyard, they all required treatment to survive. You can read about it here:

    www.bwrangler.com/bee/sunr.htm

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

    Two thoughts here. I have counted mites and know that natural mite fall is significantly less with small cell hives than with large cell. My small cell hives averaged about 1 to 2 mites/week natural mite drop. My best Russians dropped a magnitude more than that. And my best mongrels selected for mite tolerance were double that. But not at the end of the first year.

    My beekeeping has changed dramatically since then. The mite issue, and everything it entails has become completely irrelevant to my beekeeping. My focus is elsewhere. It's on the bees and not the mites. If you are still treating, your beekeeping is probably focus more on mites than on the bees. Just keep track of the time you spend on each. Then compare.

    So, I don't read or enter into discussions on anything related to mites unless invited. I don't count them. I don't think about them. I don't worry about them. I don't follow the 'latest' research. 'Does small cell work' is a question that's almost two decades old for some and a decade old for others, including myself. I suspect that other's who had the same experience with small cell and mites are in the same situation. Mites just aren't their concern.

    An interesting question: Think about your beekeeping a decade ago. What was your focus then? Still focused on it now? Still following those same things like you were back then? If you have grey hair like I do, it may take a few moments to even remember what was burning in the smoker a decade ago :>)))

    I've learned that my bees will quickly show me when they have any kind of problem, mites included. So, I watch me bees and not the mites. Besides, all the information and experience anyone needs is already available to keep bees rather than mites. Another rehash only consumes much time and accomplishes very little.

    >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.

    I've measured a fair amount of comb myself. And all of it contained a significant amount of small cell size comb. See:

    www.bwrangler.com/bee/scom.htm

    Regards
    Dennis
    Last edited by BWrangler; 11-07-2007 at 07:00 PM. Reason: I can't type as fast as I think or maybe as I think I can.
    I once wrangled bees. But now, knowing better, I just let them bee. It's only natural.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barry View Post
    "Hands dirty" meaning putting bees on SC for more than a couple of years, giving the bees time to settle in, reporting back to everyone with pictures and details about what is happening, being open to critic. When you do this, I'll openly and at great length discuss with you all the details of SC. Already did it myself, see no reason to do it again. Dennis, Dee, Erik and others who are one other lists were part of the process.

    - Barry
    I guess I did ask you to provide the same level of data that you were asking others to provide. Sorry I did. If your only willing to discuss details and have conversations with those who have met your personal requirements, you can take me out of the mix. I'll have no part of that.

    Besides, I'm just a lonely small beekeeper with only three years of smallcell experience. I may not meet your requirments, but I'll certainly never at this point make claims that I have heard over the years in regards to smallcell.

    Dang, so now it takes several years of smallcell, posting pictures, and giving reports....

  13. #73
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    Hi Guys,

    A few more thoughts.

    I've always welcomed additional research, experience, etc., concerning small cell. In fact, that is the purpose of my website. I hope it encourages others to give it a go and then share their experiences/research. Maybe others would find the process easier or more properly focused that I did a decade ago.

    I certainly don't want to disparage anyone. So, let everyone's observations stand on their own merit, with their own limitations.

    But I suspect that any researcher who would want to test small cell would thoroughly research what was done in the past(thinking NZ study as an example). And I think that they would thoroughly understand what is being done by those who are succeeding with it, so they could tell us why. Did I get that right? We tell them how. They tell is why :>)))

    I doubt that anyone who has read even a single thread of small cell experience would think any evaluation could be done in one year, especially the first one. If someone does, the results from such an evaluation most clearly demonstrate a lack of understanding how it's done. And without the how, you can't get the if. Let alone the why.

    Regards
    Dennis
    I once wrangled bees. But now, knowing better, I just let them bee. It's only natural.
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    >Now its onto this Grout's research. But you don't sound so confident. You mention "if" his research is correct, hmmmm.

    I have a pretty consistent attitude toward research. I consider it a pretty good start at figuring things out but it's only one researcher doing one set of experiments. I assume that Grout's research is correct based on what I've seen in general, but I don't know of any other research done on the subject, so I know of no repetition of the work. Hence the term "if".

    > And this whole theory is based on "if" the bees change over the comb, "Perhaps" AFB could be controlled by new comb, etc. Your really reaching on this one! To suggest that smallcell should be relied upon or even considered as a control for afb, factors in way too many variables to even suggest that ANY effectiveness is reliable. How often does smallcell change over? The timing would have to be in complete sync with afb outbreaks, etc. hardly something not worth mentioning and promoting.

    I have never promoted it. I am simply offering a possible explanation for why it may work. I have done no experiments with AFB and am not purporting that small cell does or does not control AFB. I am merely offering a possible mechanism.

    >I would think that promoting and educating people as to comb rotation would be a more up front and honest approach. Instead of somehow taking a very far reaching concept of AFB control (as if bees change comb over regularly with smallcell on a level to be effective) and using it as some justification and promotion of smallcell.

    We aren't talking about changing over, just chewing out the cocoons. You don't find it interesting that the first serious epidemics of AFB happened after enlarging the foundation? You don't think that hundreds of extra layers of cocoons left in the cells wouldn't contribute to the problem?

    >But I guess with the shrinking evidence and research now questioning all the past claims of smallcell, I guess one must cling to anything possible.

    I don't have to cling to anything. I have bees that I can simply keep and deal with the normal problems of beekeeping and NOT have to worry about Varroa. I have not treated AT ALL since 2003 on any of my hives and see no indication that I will need to again. Nothing that someone comes out with in a study is likely to change the reality of things.

    >BTW MB, I read in Oct 07 Bee Culture, "Blog" article, that you keep and promote natural cell beekeeping. But yet it seems that every smallcell conversation has you centered in the middle. As if your promoting smallcell much more than natural cell. They are two different things. I know, you'll now be labeling the different types of comb as "more this" or "more that". Smallcell is not natural comb.

    They are close enough to the same and the reasons for their success are close enough to the same that it is merely two ways to arrive at the same end. I have done a lot of both and will continue to do a lot of both.

    >So smallcell is an effective control for AFB. It totally STOPS the production of mites. What other magical claims are we going to hear today.....

    I have NEVER said that "small cell is an effective control for AFB". I have no idea where you got that. I am merely offering a possible mechanism to explain Dee Lusby's claim that it is.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  15. #75

    Default small cell

    I am here to say that I wont down play ms berry's study. I am on small cell since 1992 and sell bees so if it don't work I would be running out of bees. I never do mite counts I think its a waste of time.I have more pressing things to do.
    but ms berry's study might be flawed if she didn't use real clean wax to start from and have bees already regressed.
    my bees seem to build over large cell wax with 4.9 as some people can attest to.
    useing bees from cut outs don't give a true story of s/c bees.
    not trying to sell small cell to any one but I don't lose bees and they over winter good.
    like to hear from people have bought them from me on this subject.
    this is my thoughts======you can make up your own minds not going to debate if it works or not.

    Don

  16. #76
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    >As for your second comment, someone asked how smallcell STOPS mite production. I commented that IT DOES NOT. MB himself came back and commented, suggesting this is not true as to what I have said, and seems to suggest that it true in his hives. ("nor many others")

    It was not my intention to imply that it totally stops mite reproduction. To me it is quite obvious that it interferes with it.

    >I have never heard this comment, never seen a report to suggest this, and goes against everything ever previously said. MB's own website mentions his elimination of mite "problems". Now its been expanded to include the TOTAL elimination of ANY mite reproduction as a result of using smallcell. Hogwash in my opinion.

    I have not expanded anything.

    >Making broad comments about elimination of mite reproduction on an open forum disguised as "personal" observations, and thus warranted as worthy, may be OK with you. I just hope you don't feel an honest rebuttal is not worthy just the same.

    My "personal" observations of having not enough mites to count has been verified by the Nebraska state inspector for the last four years.
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beescerts.htm

    Is that a satisfactory rebuttal?

    >I guess that was one of my earlier points in this thread. For all the talk, all the hype, all the comments, websites and so-called details as you say, not a lot was offered after J. Berry came out with her findings thus far. I asked "where is the rebuttals? But nothing.

    What do you want for a rebuttal? She measured what she saw. I wasn't there. I measured what I saw. The state inspector has inspected my hives the last four years and seen the same thing I see. All of which I have already posted many times and at least twice in just this one thread.

    >What I saw was a lot of back peddling, rationalization, changing of the points concerning mites(smallcell reduces mites, then we went to "counts don't matter its how healthy or effective it is", to now someone suggesting that smallcell STOPS mites from reproducing altogether.

    What back peddling? I have not changed my mind a bit. I am curious as to why she would get the results she would, and of course am looking for some mechanism that would explain the differences.

    >At this point, How about listing the reasons that SC is successful? I heard it was capping time and suppressed mite reproduction. Then I heard some waver and suggest that perhaps the counts don't matter that maybe something else was at work. Now we have suggestions that SC completely STOPS mite reproduction.

    In the end the mite counts DON'T matter if the bees continue to thrive and survive. However mine have dropped significantly.

    >Maybe someone should start answering why SC works. Is there anyone out there that can add to that beyond "it doesn't matter, they survive!" Yeah, like that answers it.

    Not knowing why something works is no reason not to use it. We STILL don't know why Aspirin works yet people have been using it for thousands of years that we have records of, back to Hippocrates at least and virtually every native population was using it, so it was probably much longer that that.

    That it works is a good enough answer for me. I was tired of losing hives to Varroa and having all my beekeeping energy consumed by Varroa and am much happier that they survive and Varroa levels stay so low that they are hard to find, without requiring my intervention.

    Do you want to raise Varroa or bees? I'd rather raise bees.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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    Good night guys....
    Last edited by BjornBee; 10-29-2007 at 06:54 PM.

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    I was the one that asked how sc stops mite production.

    Bjorn answered with it (doesn't stop the production) but I believe went on further to not say that he totally dismissed that it could reduce the production.

    Way back in the thread I asked Michael B if he had used the same tactics in keeping bees with the exception that any of those bees were kept on lc wax. He said that in fact he had not and that if he got new bees he immediately put them on sc foundation.

    And with the exception of bwrangler, no one has addressed what my original inference or question of small cell was. I'm not sure now without going back to his post when he stated that he took sc bees and put them back on lc if he still kept those bees on lc the same as the sc bees? He did say that he had to treat them. Did he take them back to lc in the same manner that the bees were in going to sc and given the opportunity to survive? He didn't say. How many bees were taken back to lc? He didn't say.

    FB made the statement that he made about sc and the non existence of mites. Yet he advocates the use of fogging with fgmo/thymol and soft treatments with essential oils. Not in that post but others. And yes Jennifer did use bees that were already on sc. I can't honestly say how long they had been but I believe it to be at least 2 years they had been regressed? beemandan may be able to answer that? So given that these bees had been regressed sufficiently? I don't see that this was a first year study on bees on sc. Although that seems to be getting eluded to often in this thread.

    I think it may have been mentioned somewhere back up the line, the need for a study of both lc and sc together. Yet that has been the study at UGA. And apparently is over now? I thought it had a fair distance to go? But the results of the test seem have been released and without reading yet, sound discouraging for sc.

    But still, no one has answered the question that I asked. How does small cell, let me be careful here, stop, prevent or impede the production of mites?

    Michael B gave an honest answer I believe when he said " Not knowing why something works is no reason not to use it." That being his answer that he doesn't know I'm going to assume. But I can appreciate that response. Thank you MB!

    But still my question stands. What specifically does sc do that lc doesn't to impede mite production? If small cell doesn't in itself alone physically prevent the mites development, then what does it force the bees to do differently that will?

    No one that I am aware of other than UGA and attempted to test side by side bees on lc and sc. Both being handled in the same manner. No preference given to either. And everyone or all but maybe one has simultaneously regressed bees to sc while at the same time taking the bees away from hard treatments at a minimum and most likely soft treatment as well. I mean, whats the point of going to the trouble of regressing if you intend to continue on with treatments? So in coming to a point where there are no mites, or close to it in the drops, sc in being advocated as part of the reason. When no effort to was taken to do the same with bees on lc as well.

    So here I sit, waiting for the answer? I can take it either way. Michael, Barry I hope your right!!! Because if UGA is right, I'm going to have to cry!!! Cuz I have spend a load of time and aggravation getting my bees on sc!! Problem is, I do see some indication from bees not on sc that are doing equally as well as those on sc and I to have never treated with anything other than essential oils and that was only for one season. And I hardly see any mites just as you guys have said.

    Just because I put 59 cents in copper pennies on the bottom of each hive when I started these practices I use, doesn't mean that the pennies are part of the cure.

    So bottom line here is. I'm riding high on top of this fence! I could go either way, given the proper incentive. So I'm sure I'll be doing plenty more proving for myself.................

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    >I think it may have been mentioned somewhere back up the line, the need for a study of both lc and sc together. Yet that has been the study at UGA. And apparently is over now?

    When I talked to Jennifer at HAS she said they intended to continue the study, but I hear she's about to publish something.

    >I thought it had a fair distance to go? But the results of the test seem have been released and without reading yet, sound discouraging for sc.

    It's really not discouraging to me. My small cell still works fine.

    >But still, no one has answered the question that I asked. How does small cell, let me be careful here, stop, prevent or impede the production of mites?

    I have measured on multiple occasions the capping and post capping times on small cell. Everyone else that I know of who has tried it has had the same results and, interestingly, AHB on small cell will have the same results and AHB on large cell will not. Capping time is in eight days and emergence is in nineteen days. Which is consistent with Huber's findings on natural cell back in the late 1700's.

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesnaturalcell.htm
    http://www.bushfarms.com/huber.htm#eggtoadult

    Accepted days for capping and Post Capping.(based on observing bees on 5.4 mm comb)
    Capped 9 days after egg layed
    Emerges 21 days after egg layed
    _________________________________________

    Huber's observations on capping and emergence on Natural Comb.

    Keep in mind that on the 1st day no time has elapsed and on the 20th 19 days have elapsed. If you have doubts about this add up the elapsed time he refers to. It adds up to 18 ½ days.

    "The worm of workers passes three days in the egg, five in the vermicular state, and then the bees close up its cell with a wax covering. The worm now begins spinning its cocoon, in which operation thirty-six hours are consumed. In three days, it changes to a nymph, and passes six days in this form. It is only on the twentieth day of its existence, counting from the moment the egg is laid, that it attains the fly state."

    François Huber 4 September 1791.

    _________________________________________

    I've observed on commercial Carniolan bees and commercial Italian bees a 24 hour shorter pre capping and 24 hour shorter post capping time on 4.95 mm cells in an observation hive.

    My observations on 4.95 mm cell size
    Capped 8 days after layed
    Emerged 19 days after layed

    _________________________________________


    >Michael B gave an honest answer I believe when he said " Not knowing why something works is no reason not to use it." That being his answer that he doesn't know I'm going to assume. But I can appreciate that response. Thank you MB!

    I have a lot of suspicions and some are easily measurable with an observation hive and some small cell comb. I have no doubt that shorter capping and post capping times will reduce Varroa as all of our scientists keep insisting that it will. They simply haven't found the genetics to duplicate those times.

    >But still my question stands. What specifically does sc do that lc doesn't to impede mite production? If small cell doesn't in itself alone physically prevent the mites development, then what does it force the bees to do differently that will?

    Then there is the issue of male survivorship:
    http://www.apidologie.org/index.php?.../01/Martin.pdf
    http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=13485245

    And that most of what we have observed about AHB and Varroa is likely to just be cell size:
    http://www.apidologie.org/index.php?.../01/Martin.pdf

    >No one that I am aware of other than UGA and attempted to test side by side bees on lc and sc. Both being handled in the same manner. No preference given to either.

    Actually:
    http://freepages.misc.rootsweb.com/~...rs/Varroa.html
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  20. #80
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Casper, Wy, USA
    Posts
    803

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    Hi Guys,

    How does it work? I've got some ideas. And I'll share my observations. I'm sure multiple factors are involved. Michael and others have looked at post capping times and found differences.

    The first season I regressed bees, I saw the broodnest cleansing the Lusbys write about begin in earnest during August. Before that, mite tray debris from both large and small cell hives looked the same. The amount and age of natural mite fall was the same, almost exclusively mature female mites.

    In August, all the different races cleansed the broodnest by detecting and actively removing mite infested brood. The bees would uncap brood at the purple eye stage. It was a behavior I'd never seen before. Mite fall increased by magnitudes and it included a larger portion of both males and immatures. Essentially all of the mites had been killed or severely damaged by the bees. So, I did a little more investigating. Natural mite fall under such circumstances isn't a very good indication of colony mite loads as the mite load might be inversely proportional to natural mite fall. But that's another story.

    I took several frames containing mostly uncapped brood and removed the exposed pupa. Every single exposed pupa was infected with varroa. I also uncapped and removed sealed brood from the same frames and with just a couple of exceptions, that brood was free of varroa. I inspected about 200 per each side of the frames. Search out my post at Bee-L

    Here's the interesting part. Only a few percent of the varroa infected brood cells contained mites that were reproductive. The rest only had mature females without any males or immatures. Those bees stalled mite reproduction by uncapping that brood.

    Another interesting observation. The mites remained stalled in those uncapped brood cells until removed and destroyed by the bees. At the time I personally wondered if the uncapped brood acted as a mite trap by attracting questing mites, as the difference in infestation between uncapped and capped brood was so great. Further observations proved the mite trap idea false.

    One more observation. I brought those frames home and watched them. Not a single mite left any of the uncapped brood until frames became cold to the touch. Then they abandoned the brood and began questing for better a better location. The following morning only a few mites could be found still associated with the uncapped brood.

    The following season, I attempted to document this cleansing. But I was too late. No more massive broodnest cleansing after that first season. The bees would maintain a low level broodnest cleansing which kept the mite populations low and prevented their normal seasonal increase. You could always find a small amount of pupa remains and a few damaged male and immatures throughout the season.

    Occasionally a couple of uncapped pupa would be seen on a single frame. But the occurrence was rare.

    That was enough to keep the natural mite fall averages at a couple of mites per week. And it prevented me from taking some great broodnest cleansing photos, 'officially' counting brood/mites/immatures and building another webpage. I have a few broodnest cleansing photos at:

    www.bwrangler.com/bee/smus.htm

    They made quite a stir at the time and they were published, along with some of my observations , in a handful of beekeeping magazines in Scandinavia, Europe and in Eastern Europe.

    At the same time, mite tray debris from my large cell hives remained essentially the same as that seen during the mid summer months. Except the number of fallen mature females increased dramatically. None of those mites had any obvious bee damage.

    Later, when I put those same small cell broodnest cleansing bees on large cell comb, their mite tray debris was identically to other large cell hives. The broodnest cleansing seen on small cell was neither initiated nor maintained. Mite reproduction proceeded unabated. And those unregressed hives required treatment to survive.

    There's something about the cell size that either enhances or triggers the bees ability to detect and remove those mites. I suspect it's a common defense mechanism that bees use for a variety of broodnest pests. Barry's taken some photos of bald headed brood associated with wax moth infestation.

    Ok researchers, do the bees hear those mites or smell them. Ha, a trick question ;>) I think they hear them, then smell them. But I really don't have a clue and certainly no means of testing either.

    Regards
    Dennis
    Last edited by BWrangler; 11-07-2007 at 07:00 PM.
    I once wrangled bees. But now, knowing better, I just let them bee. It's only natural.
    http://talkingstick.me/bees/

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