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Thread: Small Cell Hive

  1. #41
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    Default Re: Small Cell Hive

    BWrangler, your someone that makes alot of sense. But for an old commercial guy that is coming to the end of his career, I stick with my larger bees. Barry, I will read the links you have posted. The natural cell makes a lot more sense than a forced downsize of the bees on man made SC foundation.TK

  2. #42
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    Default Re: Small Cell Hive

    Hrm, not my experience at all.

    Once they fully regress, which only really takes about 5 frames or so (yes, those get rotated to the outside or culled), the frames are drawn out just like any other foundation.

  3. #43
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    Default Re: Small Cell Hive

    BWrangler - thanks for the great education. Barry I've also looked at some of the links that you posted. Very informative. Thanks a ton!!! I think I'm more convinced now than before not for small cell or large cell, but natural. When purchasing my equipment the research I had done lead to this conclusion. I'm thankful that this is the direction I have gone so far. It's also interesting that there are indeed many thoughts / preferences out there, and really not any that I have seen are wrong, just different. Different area / flows / temperatures / pests etc. Oldtimer I'm looking forward to your findings when you post them.

  4. #44
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    Default Re: Small Cell Hive

    I think natural is probably the way to go, if you can do it. The problem comes with outyards that you may only see once every couple of weeks. Or, in running a lot of hives. You need to keep close watch on foundationless hives or they can get into a lot of trouble very quickly.

    I run some foundationless in my home apiary, but all my outyards are small-cell foundation. It's a compromise, but one I can live with.

  5. #45
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    Default Re: Small Cell Hive

    Something else to ponder delber, small cell was contemplated as a varroa mite control. It has pretty well been debunked with four university studies on that subject. The mites just downsize to fit their environment. So I wonder alot what the real reason these guy want to downsize their bees???? Just to see if they can do it? Bwrangler's statement about natural cell makes more sense-as that is the natural order of things. The way bees have been doing things for millions of years. I am an old school practical beekeeper-I work with my bees, not against them. I have large bees, very large bees, as a bee breeder, I have bred them that way. I will not stress them out trying to regress them. If there is not an advantage to having more small bees in producing a larger honey crop. The others on this thread say they see no difference in production between their large bee or small bees. Then why bother regressing them? You would be better off spending your time and money doing practical management with your bees. Bwrangler, I hate to admit it, in the past we have placed a strip across the top of foundation and let the bees draw wax around the wire in the frame. You can get a decent comb doing so. You would be surprise what commercial beeks do sometimes in a pinch.TK

  6. #46
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    Default Re: Small Cell Hive

    "The way bees have been doing things for millions of years." Ah . . . yes, that would be without foundation. But you go on to say "I work with my bees, not against them. I have large bees, very large bees, as a bee breeder, I have bred them that way." You have breed them that way using a certain cell size foundation. You are doing nothing different than those that use a smaller cell size foundation. Neither is "natural." Natural is letting the bees draw their own comb without a cell guide. When this happens over the period of a year with a new hive, one will find comb with cells ranging from small to large. You're just as fanatic to the large side as those to the small side.
    Regards, Barry

  7. #47
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    Default Re: Small Cell Hive

    Quote Originally Posted by Barry View Post
    Natural is letting the bees draw their own comb without a cell guide. When this happens over the period of a year with a new hive, one will find comb with cells ranging from small to large.
    Great thoughts guys!!! I think the info that bwrangler gave stated this very well. It's true, "truly natural" would be to let them go to their own devices, but then we will be out of a job / hobby. To use the best of both worlds to me seems to be to use comb guides and let them make it themselves. Similar to a top bar hive, in a Lang you can start them in a nuc and allow them to draw the comb out. (Kelly has foundationless frames.) Then transfer them to a full hive pacing a empty frame between the drawn out ones. Then when they're ready for the 2nd box, simply space them all out so that there's drawn out frames outside of a empty. At least this is my plan at this point. If I do a cut-out I will probably just put it in a full hive and not mess with the nuc box. How does this sound?

  8. #48
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    Default Re: Small Cell Hive

    No, you won't find cell sizes ranging from small to large. You'll find cell sizes ranging from tiny to small.

    Left on their own, brood cells will range from 4.7-5.0mm. They will NEVER make 5.4mm cells for brood (except for drones). 5.4 mm cell-size is most certainly not working with the bees.

    By providing small-cell foundation I'm at least giving them a cell-size in the range they prefer to make. And I can swap frames between my foundationless and small-cell hives w/o having to regress. They're the same sized bees and cells.

    100 years ago foundation was all 5.0mm, again in their preferred range (although at the very top). Why we've gone to jumbo sized bees is beyond me.

    As for breeding larger bees . . . give them foundationless and within two generations of brood you'll have 4.7-5.0mm bees. You haven't bred anything.

  9. #49
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    Default Re: Small Cell Hive

    I'm including honey cells as well. After all, they do construct them as well when given no guidance. These cells can be in the 7 mm range.
    Regards, Barry

  10. #50
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    Default Re: Small Cell Hive

    Barry, true. In my ss and foundationless hives, I give them regular old 5.4mm foundation in the honey supers.

  11. #51
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    Default Re: Small Cell Hive

    The mite control is an interesting one. I know about the studies, and like all studies there are flaws but not flaws that completely debunk the results.

    I'll say that since moving to ss I have had no mite problems. I don't treat, and you'd be lucky to find more than 10 mites on a given stick-board.

    My only real explanation of this is that I think the smaller bees are just healthier in general. Drawing parallels in other animals, we find that large versions of almost any mammal have more health problems. Can't say if that's true for insects, but it sure seems like it might be the case. And, it has been shown that healthy colonies will combat mites, or any other disease better.

    There's got to be a reason that they prefer that range of cell-sizes for brood.

    If I have to use foundation, I'm sure going to give them something in that range. Right now, 4.9mm is it.

  12. #52
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    Default Re: Small Cell Hive

    Quote Originally Posted by iwombat View Post
    The problem comes with outyards that you may only see once every couple of weeks. Or, in running a lot of hives. You need to keep close watch on foundationless hives or they can get into a lot of trouble very quickly.
    Running foundationless outyards is not really that much trouble with a little f-less experience at home and an appropriatly enacted plan.
    I started 2 packages completely f-less last spring in an outyard 45 minutes away from home. Upon package installation, I inserted 2 drawn f-less frames in each box added. These drawn frames were separated by one undrawn frame to help them get at least the middle 5 frame drawn nice and straight without my meddling with them.
    It worked like a charm, though I didn't check on them every week for the first couple of weeks. The bottom deep was fully drawn in 1 week.

    Also, once your outyard hives are mostly drawn, running them is no less hastle than anything else as far as I can tell, though, as the cell sizes are not all the same size, you can't just slap frames willie-nillie anywhere you want.
    -Reid

  13. #53
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    Default Re: Small Cell Hive

    Quote Originally Posted by iwombat View Post
    My hives produced about 100lbs of honey/ year with large cell.

    They produce about 100lbs of honey/ year with small cell.

    I see no real difference.
    Indeed.
    And don't believe anything you hear about f-less bees producing less honey than bees raised on foundation of any kind.
    They also produce 100 lbs of honey/year with f-less.
    Last season I harvested 90 lbs. from first year packages drawing out 90% of their own comb.
    -Reid

  14. #54
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    Default Re: Small Cell Hive

    Yes although the crop alone might not be the full story as it's very location dependant. A 80 lb crop in one place might be pretty good, where a 200 lb one in a really good area may be a dissapointment.

    To truly compare, the hives would need to be run in the same yard, or at least close. And even then, when I was a commercial beekeeper some hives would do a box more honey than it's neighbor which had been run exactly the same. It could be getting more drift, or it could be a better bee.

    So my one hive experiment is not going to give solid worthwhile answers but I'll put it away from other hives once it's up and running properly, and will be going treatment free. That's what I want to find out about for myself.

    I might do another few SC ones, but to save the dramas that's happened doing this one, I'd take them as splits from this one once it's fully SC.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  15. #55
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    Aug 2002
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    Casper, Wy, USA
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    Default Re: Small Cell Hive

    Hi Guys

    Natural or foundation? Both have advantages and disadvantages. Natural is usually drawn out much faster than foundation based comb. But it's much more fragile. And if you need the flexibility that standardized frames offer and want to maximize your large cell frame investment, why not use a small cell sized core of 4 to 6 frames(Mann Lake standard plastic frames/foundation) with the larger sized stuff toward the outside edges. That's a better approximation, cell size wise, of what the bees would do when compared to either all large or small cell boxes. And it takes much less effort and time than all small cell hives.

    Then, use the all large cell stuff for honey suppers and work with the bees. Rotate it up and out to keep the comb clean. I've found that clean comb is almost more important than cell size. See:

    http://beenatural.wordpress.com/lega...egressed-bees/

    I've tried it on a small scale test with good results. And it's actually the direction I'm headed with my own hives. I had quite a bunch of extra equipment, cases of Mann Lake plastic frames, etc. left over from my commercial days. And I decided to use it up rather than build more stuff.

    But if you stay all large cell and must treat. Get clean comb. Rotate it. And treat with non-contaminating chems to keep it clean.

    Anyway, take care.

    Regards - Dennis
    I once wrangled bees. But now, I know better, so I do better.
    http://talkingstick.me/category/bees/

  16. #56
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    Default Re: Small Cell Hive

    >Mann Lake standard plastic frames/foundation

    The PF100 series is small cell. If that's what you're calling "standard" then this is true. I'd say their "standard" plastic is 5.4mm... their cheap PF100 series is small cell...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  17. #57
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    Default Re: Small Cell Hive

    Fellow Beeks, this is off subject---Old timer, my condolences for the disaster that has befallen your country. What can we do to help?? Back on subject--Yes, Barry, I reckon I am a fanatic on Large size bees (or the "dark side" according SC beekeepers.) TK

  18. #58
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    Default Re: Small Cell Hive

    Thanks Ted, Nice of you to ask!

    The earthquake was 1/2 way down the country from where I live there was no effect here. However it was a bad one, the one a few months ago was more poweful than the one that hit Haiti, and this, an "aftershock" did damage also.

    The US Government has offered help although this has been turned down we can handle it, but REAL good of you guys to offer to be there!

    It will have an effect on our economy, a lot of damage. less than 100 confirmed deaths at this stage but it will rise as buildings get dug up.

    Haven't heard for sure but likely a lot of hives were tipped over, I'd imagine beekeepers will drop everything & spend the next few days checking all hives. They will be heavy with honey now so could be nasty with robbing, along with damaged gear.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  19. #59
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    May 2009
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    Brandon, MS USA
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    Re: Small Cell Hive

    So sorry to hear about the earthquake... especially after you guys had just suffered two in such a short amount of time. You guys are in our prayers and thoughts. I hate to hear about so much tragedy falling on such wonderful people.

    I haven't been following the forums much lately as we have been in the midst of package production and queen rearing... I get a chance to check in every now and then on my cell phone, but haven't found the time to read the whole threads and reply.

  20. #60
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    Default Re: Small Cell Hive

    The first new bees from the SC comb are starting to hatch. They are not quite as small as I had thought they would be. Some of them are large because the bees have re-worked the cells but the majority are from small cells.

    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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