Since joining Beesource I've followed the natural cell / small cell debate.
Because of all the conflicting opinions, I've decided to do it myself & see if it can keep a hive treatment free, as some claim.
A disclaimer, i am NOT endorsing small cell / natural comb as a mite control mechanism. I'm just going to run a hive & see what happens, plus update the thread with developments so others can follow.
As I've never done this before I'm hoping for input from "small cellers", to guide me along the way.
Where I am up to now, is I've selected a weakish single decker, with a small varroa infestation, and a young carniolan crossed queen, to be the hive. The dot on the queen is not a date code, just the pen color I had at the time. I've also removed most of the brood. I'm hoping this configuration will get them building worker cells straight off as well as drone cells.
This is the hive, there are 3 empty frames put in, marked with nc (natural cell). I've done it this way to keep the combs straight. The plan so far, is that as these combs get built I'll swap out other frames, till the whole hive is natural cell. Then, I'm aware that these cells will only be first regression, so when a new generation of bees is available I'll be cutting the comb out of these frames to allow 2nd regression.
Trust my thinking on that is sound, but any input welcome.
This pic is a frame I put in 2 days ago. Going wireless was just a bit "too much" for me, so the frames are wired. I also hung a strip of foundation 1/3rd inch wide from the groove in the top bar, to get them started in the right place. The queen is also visible walking on the top bar. There is some worker cells and some drone cells. There is also some variation in size between both worker and drone cells.
As new developments happen, I'll update with pics.