small cell question
I'm the first beekeeper in our area to use small cell for beekeeping without chemicals (I've done it for 7, going on 8 years now). My beekeeping teacher is really trying to research all alternatives to the chemical treadmill (he's pretty good about not recommending harsher ones, thankfully and refuses to use coumaphos or recommend it at all), and he's researching small cell since he knows I use it. He asked me a question the other day that I do not know the total answer to. I'm hoping someone here can answer the questions, so I can get back to him.
"What about drones? Don't the bees ignore some of the small cell foundation (as they do on the regular stuff) and make drone cells of their own choosing? Then are not most of the mites
raised in these drone cells? Even with 5.4 the mites can just barely reproduce themselves in worker cells and prefer not to use them. So what difference does it make what size the worker cells are?
It's an obvious question and I'm sure there is an answer, but I have not seen it yet on bush/lusby sites."
I told him that yes, the bees do build drone cells (I personally trim about an inch off a full sheet of foundation, so the bees can make drones there, but they also just do their own thing).
Anyone have an answer that I can give to him?
p.s. I've always been under the assumption that the REASON 4.9 works so well is because the mites can't reproduce as easily as they can on 5.4. I hadn't heard that they have trouble producing on worker cells in large cell...