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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Milwaukee WI
    Posts
    264

    Question how to start small cell

    I thinking about doing a hive in small cell next spring which are the best to buy and when do I put the small cell in if I buy a pack of bees, Some say it hard to do and you should know what you are doing
    any help would be nice I have read a few threads on this site but hard to tell what you all are talking about at times My 2nd year
    Thanks
    Wishing you all the best of tomorrows and good honey

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Keene, NH, USA
    Posts
    227

    Default

    I started beekeeping in May with 2 hives, 1 using Mann Lake PF-100s. I "painted" the frames with wax, sprayed them with HBH and installed the package. I did not do any regression, just put them in. The hive has been behind for a good part of the summer , tho' seems to have caught up to my other standard hive, and I believe just superceded its queen. I'll know tomorrow.

    I'm sure there are better ways to try this. One thing I would do differently is I'd buy the PF-105s. They are black and much easier to see eggs and larvae compared to the white PF-100s.

    Michael Bush has an excellent discussion of how he does it at http://www.bushfarms.com/beesnaturalcell.htm

    Good luck!

    John
    7 yrs, 6 hives, TF for 6 years, small cell, moved to OAV this fall.
    www.honeymeadowfarm.com, www.nhbees.wordpress.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    North Alabama, SW Kentucky
    Posts
    1,914

    Default

    Paul,
    Ideally, I'll recommend bying Small Cell (SC) bees from the start. I think people are afraid you'll buy their product (SC foundation) and things not go the way you're thinking, and then you'll blame them. For example, IF SC helps to control varroa, you should also be experienced enough to know if it doesn't work so you can save the bees. Also, not everyone is familiar with the term "abscombing" which is something that SC beekeepers work to avoid when "Regressing" (that is, to transition LC bees to become SC bees).

    If you have the time and resources to spare/ chance, I'd do it. Already you're an experienced beekeeper! Don't fear the failure.

    As for how to Regress existing hives, there are a number of methods. Here’s what I have done many times. I only do it to one hive to begin with, calling that hive my “focus hive”. Once it is regressed, I then use it to start on a couple of others, pyramid-fashion. Just remember that Large-cell bees won’t draw small-cell foundation right off the bat. They’ll need an intermediate step of “regressing”.

    1) Mark some frames so you’ll know that they are for “regressing” a hive and insert Small-cell (4.9mm) or 5.1mm foundation into them.

    2) “Work in” these frames into the broodnest area as they start drawing them out.
    3) Force the queen to lay in them while preventing abscombing at the same time by putting an queen excluder (queen Includer) above the bottom board and either taking away all other frames or putting an excluder above her.
    4) It will take about a month or so before the bees that have emerged from the regressing frames are ready to draw foundation. After that, add more Small-cell foundation and let them get going.
    5) As a hive succeeds in becoming regressed, I pull the regressing frames and any other that I can spare to start another hive going. You could do them all at once, but that puts them all under stress at the same time. Focusing on 1, then 2, then 4 hives leaves the other hives right on producing. Using a freshly caught swarm or shaking a hive down completely and feeding it heavily might speed things along.

    6) One thing I am very conscious to avoid is mixing in some LC comb back into a hive that was already regressed .
    WayaCoyote

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Carver County, MN, USA
    Posts
    12

    Default

    I started four packages on PF-120 frames this last spring and they drew them all out perfectly. It's not a silver bullet, but it sure seems to help.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Damascus, Maryland
    Posts
    376

    Default

    what kind do they make if they have never had any kind, but what the good lord gave them the sence to make?? I worked this year to do away with any kind of store bought foundation. everyother frame is how I started and so far it is working.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    OKC, OK USA
    Posts
    2,869

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by J-Bees View Post
    what kind do they make if they have never had any kind, but what the good lord gave them the sence to make?? I worked this year to do away with any kind of store bought foundation. everyother frame is how I started and so far it is working.

    4.7mm
    Mike Forbes
    Red Dirt Apiaries

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Vermont, USA
    Posts
    75

    Default regression

    Interesting.

    I shook a package onto 4.9 this year and they absconded.

    Depressing.

    I have since, gotten two hives to draw 5.1 nicely and some 4.9. Hopefully next year, I will cycle out my 5.4 and replace with 4.9. I intentionally made my over-wintering nucs out of the drawn 4.9 frames.



    I visited Denny White's apiaries, he uses the Mann Lake plastic with great success.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    South San Ysidro, NM
    Posts
    503

    Default

    There are a few people such as Don "Fatbeeman" that sell small cell nucs. No regressing needed. If you are going to buy bees anyway, that is one way to do it.

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