Re: Small cell ???
If you put a foundationless box on top of a hive with no drawn combs in it, it is quite a mission for the bees to go all the way up and start building combs from the top bars, unless it's a strong hive they will just let the box sit. When you added the plastic frames Aram, what you did was provide a "bridge" that the bees could start working on, right next to their cluster, and this took them eventually to the top of the box, and from there they started working on the foundationless frames.
However, most brands of plastic foundation the bees do not like and will only draw if there is a good flow. This is quite aesy to test, put a box of some plastic foundation and some wax foundation, and the bees will preferentially build on the wax foundation, only building on the plastic when they have to.
This is also why you can get a lot of burr comb built between new plastic foundation, the bees are trying to avoid the plastic.
Having said all that, there are some people that swear by plastic foundation. Like many things bees, there can be a lot of variables that will influence an outcome. In the case of plastic foundation these variables will include the brand, how much wax coating is on it, strength of the hive, honey flow, breed of bee, and no doubt others.
And to the 3 combs of drone comb comment, yes that is correct. A natural hive will often have around 20% drone comb. So if a hive is given 3 drone combs in their brood nest, that can largely satisfy their desire for drone comb, and encourage them to built pure worker comb on the new frames.
44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).