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Thread: Small Cell Hive

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    Default Small Cell Hive

    Well there’s so much conflicting info about small cell the only way is to try it myself. SC foundation is now available in my country so I’ve bought some. When it arrived & I looked at it I can truly say I have never seen such small cells even in wild hives, and couldn’t even envisage my bees working with it properly. So the issue is getting LC bees to draw the SC foundation.

    Not quite sure how to go about this so I’ve made a very weak nuc with a carniolan crossed to Italian queen. The theory is there are so few bees they will not have the “manpower” to re-work the foundation and will just pull it how it is, at 4.9 mm. I’m hoping that will work anyway. Set it up yesterday & took some pics today, they have pulled a few cells and thus far anyway, and are sticking with the foundation size. There is one frame of LC in the nuc with food stores, once they have a bit stowed in the new combs I’ll remove it. Next issue I guess will be to see if the queen will lay in the SC combs.






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

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    3,590

    Default Re: Small Cell Hive

    I'm guessing that having something shipped from the U.S. to Auckland costs +/- a gazillion dollars... but if you wanted to splurge and buy just 5 or 10 frames of Honey Super Cell you can buy individual frames at Lapps:

    http://lappsbeesupplycenter.com/inde...s/Page1353.htm

    Your theory of using a weak hive to draw out the 4.9 is interesting but I wouldn't have the patience for that...


    Have you considered setting up one or two more "weak" hives to get some wax drawn and then combine them?
    BeeCurious
    Trying to think inside the box...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    5,922

    Default Re: Small Cell Hive

    No I hadn't thought of that, MIGHT do it I'll see how these ones go. I may add a few bees to it every so often also but only till there are hatching SC bees.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,079

    Default Re: Small Cell Hive

    The trick is getting some comb drawn well and then getting brood produced in it to make more well drawn comb. Regressing takes time and rarely goes the way you want it to.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Hawke's Bay, New Zealand
    Posts
    189

    Default Re: Small Cell Hive

    I'll be watching this thread eagerly OldTimer.

    I'm committing a small apiary (4 hives) next year to regression as part of an integrated system. It'll be a long term trial and I'll be investing in some small cell foundation to kick them off, so it will be very interesting to see how yours go with it.

    I have about a dozen hives that have drawn at least a box of natural brood comb this year, but I haven't had the time to get out and measure the results. For now I'm happy that it is nice quality comb. It's wasn't easy on them with the atrocious spring we had, and I would have to say it set them back a bit, but the bulk of that setback was the rotten spring - they didn't manage to get enough stores built up before the dearth in November, and since we don't feed by default we had some hungry girls by the start of December flow.

    Incidentally, i haven't looked into the HSC costs in detail, but I have talked recently to Mann Lake. the PF series are around US $100-120ish (from memory) for a box of 30, but the shipping costs or rather air freight are diabolical. Looks like anywhere between $150 and $450 US to get it here. Not realistic for our business at this stage, though I have family going over next spring, so maybe I can get some back then.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    5,922

    Default Re: Small Cell Hive

    Yes freight's the killer. But in anycase for me, I've never been a fan of plastic there should always be a more natural way.

    Anyhow had another look at the hive today, things coming along nicely!





    The bees have pulled some more foundation. I was worried the queen would not be able to lay eggs in these small cells, but, EGGS!!!





    Here is the queen, when I saw her on the cells I did think it might be hard on her to lay in them.





    But then she laid an egg right in front of me, looked effortless. Her abdomen did not go in very far though I think she must stretch out the tip to elongate it a bit.

    The bees have pulled all the foundation they can cover, so I've thrown in about a heaped handful of young bees from another hive to keep things moving along.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

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