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  1. #101
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    5,719

    Default Re: Natural Cell Hive

    Yes, you read correctly!

    Some comments on that, a wild hive does not have someone come along and switch out it's combs every 5 years. And it's my belief that before varroa and other man exascerbated nasties, wild hives would last for many years.

    When I started out in bees, in my country we used no chemical treatments in hives, the only disease we worried about was AFB and if that happened the hive was burnt. We didn't feed pollen there's plenty here everywhere. The worst that could happen was feeding sugar syrup, but even that would have only been perhaps 10% of hives annually.

    Under these conditions chemical contamination was something we didn't really think about. Old brood combs were replaced when they got REALLY bad & the bees would stop using patches of them. But out of 4,000 hives we would only replace a few hundred combs annually. We knew we had 40+ year old combs because there had been a design change around 40 years previous and those combs were still around. A lot of the combs replaced were due to failing woodwork, not the comb.

    Not saying people should do this, it's a different world now. But on the other hand there is little concrete evidence to say that honey production is improved by switching out brood combs every 5 years. So for a commercial guy who lives on honey production, he may not be switching out his combs, even nowadays.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  2. #102
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    5,719

    Default Re: Natural Cell Hive

    The bees have now almost rebuilt all the combs, the 3 combs that were drone comb have been rebuilt into mostly drone, they must have followed on from the top row or two of cells I left along the top bar. The other seven combs are almost pure worker cells. However there is no reduction in cell size, thereís a few slightly smaller but most are the same or bigger than our standard 5.5 mm foundation.

    Following on from what Robert Russell said about distance from the equator, plus what Iíve seen in wild hives, Iím starting to doubt that our bees here will ever naturally go down to 4.9 mm, although Iíll continue cutting out comb and seeing what the bees will do at different seasons. Iíll run this for a year and update if anything interesting happens. But for now, the next generation of bees will be, if anything, a tad bigger.

    Thanks to Deejaycee, Iíve got my hands on some small cell foundation, and although I donít really agree with forcing bees in this way, Iím going to run one small cell hive as an experiment, the link is here.
    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...576#post615576


    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  3. #103
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Brandon, MS USA
    Posts
    1,585

    Re: Natural Cell Hive

    Want to run a neat test to see the true natural size that Italian/Carniolan in your area will become? You can test regression/increase in both directions to see what size nature would truly prefer.

    1. Keep on going with your test hive that started with 5.5mm bees creating their own comb... if they are to regress or increase, it will take a few gens and new comb a few more time to get there...

    2. Use the SC foundation and try to force the regression on a separate colony... once fully regressed, take the comb away and let them draw their own comb just like with the 5.5mm colony...

    I know what would happen in my area... but I would sure love to see which colony would change their size faster and what sizes they would both end up...

    Not sure how much of a season you have left there though... Think you have time to pull it off?

  4. #104
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    5,719

    Default Re: Natural Cell Hive

    Yes I was thinking that, I'm now doing a small cell hive also, and once enough time has past that all bees in it are small cell I will let them "regress" back to whatever they want, it will be interesting. It will take a while though there is still a couple of months of good brood raising & comb building season here, then winter and once winter is done then all bees should be small cell and I'll split it & let one of them build natural cell.

    It's going to be a few months but I'll update how that all goes in the other thread.

    But the other thing I want to do is keep one small cell hive going and see how they really do fare against varroa, and I'll be updating on that also.
    Last edited by Oldtimer; 02-05-2011 at 03:58 AM.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  5. #105
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    DuPage County, Illinois USA
    Posts
    9,317

    Default Re: Natural Cell Hive

    Believe me, unless you have plastic sc comb, you will not get a sc hive in one season. You'll be the first if you do, especially since you're starting halfway into the brood season.
    Regards, Barry

  6. #106
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    5,719

    Default Re: Natural Cell Hive

    OK well I'm using a weak nuc that don't have much choice. If I can just get some hatching sc bees I should be on the way?

    Have a look at the other thread and see if you think it will work.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  7. #107
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    DuPage County, Illinois USA
    Posts
    9,317

    Default Re: Natural Cell Hive

    I just don't think at this stage of your season you will be getting your bees to draw much sc comb. If you put sc wax foundation in an existing hive or even do a shake down, expect to see some pretty funky looking combs. There may well be some cells that are small within it. I've got pictures of comb when I went through this. I'll see if I can find them.
    Regards, Barry

  8. #108
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Brandon, MS USA
    Posts
    1,585

    Re: Natural Cell Hive

    HSC may be the best way to start off to control the regression and then you would have the 4.9 bees to build sc foundation whenever you need.

  9. #109
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Brandon, MS USA
    Posts
    1,585

    Re: Natural Cell Hive

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    The cheapest (here anyway) solution to perfectly drawn comb is the PF100s or PF120s from Mann Lake. They draw them perfectly the first try at 4.95mm.
    haven't had a chance to check these out... is it wax or plastic, and are they pre-drawn or foundation?

    Thanks.

  10. #110
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    3,589

    Default Re: Natural Cell Hive

    Quote Originally Posted by rrussell6870 View Post
    haven't had a chance to check these out... is it wax or plastic, and are they pre-drawn or foundation?

    Thanks.
    Plastic with a coating of wax.

    Not "drawn" out.

    I like them and my bees seem to take to them pretty well.
    BeeCurious
    Trying to think inside the box...

  11. #111
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Essex County, Massachusetts
    Posts
    18

    Default Re: Natural Cell Hive

    Oldtimer,

    Thanks for this and all your interesting posts. I really enjoyed the one on raising queens without grafting. I am a teacher and you happen to have all the signs of being a great one--clear directions, good questions and great visuals. Most of us learn through seeing.

    I wonder if your removing the brood early on in this experiment might cause a confounding reaction. Could it be setting off a reaction in the hive that the queen is weak and needs to be replaced, hence the need to raise so many drones? If that were the case though, I guess you'd see queen cells.

  12. #112
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    5,719

    Default Re: Natural Cell Hive

    Yes I can see what you mean, although in this case it was a very vigorous queen, the bees have recovered strongly from all the injustices I did to them, and are now a 3 deep hive with a solid box of honey on top.

    An interesting thing, this hive was chosen for NC because it had low level varroa. But I've tested it since, and cannot find a varroa. Probably because of several cycles of brood being removed. Although another factor could be it had a new queen from a VSH strain I've got and those bees have been coming through now.

    I'll continue to update this thread if or when there's anything of interest.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  13. #113
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Auburn, Washington, USA
    Posts
    304

    Default Re: Natural Cell Hive

    I am surprised that Dennis's observations on bees are not taken into account. Bwrangler in his website goes into all of his research through number of years describing how bee will not draw all small cell in a hive. They want various sized cells, for various functions. In the fall and spring, they'll gravitate towards raising brood in smaller cells in the center and bottom of each hive. As time goes on, they will expand their nests where, you guessed it, larger sized cells are located. Dennis's point was that larger cell bees are better to haul honey into the hive. I think that partially expalins why OldTimer's bees insisted on larger cells in the summer; they needed larger bees to work they nectar flow. http://beenatural.wordpress.com/

    In addtion, in countryboys video library on youtube he shows how he ensures workercell in a nuc. The key is to have a weak nuc, looking to raise more worker bees. They will try to build as much as they can. the segment I am refering to described how to fix a comb from mice damage.

  14. #114
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Auburn, Washington, USA
    Posts
    304

    Default Re: Natural Cell Hive

    Never mind, looks like a small cell thread was started by Oldtimer where Dennis chimed in.

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