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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Fayetteville, Arkansas
    Posts
    5,012

    Default Natural Cell Size Experiment

    I recently retrieved my first foundationless frame and measured the cell size.

    Here are the results.
    http://parkerfarms.blogspot.com/2011...cell-size.html

    I found worker brood cells from 4.9-5.2mm.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Baker Oregon
    Posts
    2,284

    Default Re: Natural Cell Size Experiment

    The range was very interesting, however did you do an analysis to determine the average size?
    Dan Hayden 4 Years. 9 hives. Tx Free. USDA Zone 5b.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Fayetteville, Arkansas
    Posts
    5,012

    Default Re: Natural Cell Size Experiment

    How many would I have to measure?

    I guess for me, the average doesn't really mean all that much. I now know for a fact that there is a range between 4.9 and 5.2. An average is in reality a number which may or may not even exist within the sample.

    I have 4.9mm foundation and 4.95mm plastic frames. Both those are shown conclusively to be within my range of values. That's all I need to know. If the bees need anything else, they have foundationless frames.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    5,444

    Default Re: Natural Cell Size Experiment

    Good experiment Sol. I'm actually going to do something like that once I've had bees on small cell for 2 years, let them build natural comb and see what they do.

    However, your experiment lacks one thing. To truly let your bees "regress" back to the cell size they would prefer, you would need to do the exact opposite of what people do when regressing down. You would need to remove all sc foundation, let the bees breed in the larger cells they have built, and then see what sized cells the next generation build. As when bees regress down, they need several cell size stages to do it, it is likely the same, if letting them regress up.

    The the next phase, once the bees have established a permanent cell size that may be larger than your sc foundation, would be to see how that affects varroa resistance, ie, are they as resistant as the others.

    I'm planning on doing all these experiments myself, so I'll be following yours with interest, if you take it all the way.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    5,444

    Default Re: Natural Cell Size Experiment

    Actually another interesting thing would be to see if there is any effect on the size of the honey harvest, once bees have the cell size THEY decided to build.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Fayetteville, Arkansas
    Posts
    5,012

    Default Re: Natural Cell Size Experiment

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    However, your experiment lacks one thing ... You would need to ... if you take it all the way.
    This stuff has been done to death, and I don't plan to continue beating a dead horse. The results are going to be the same as they have always been. The bees build a range of cell sizes that are typically smaller than the standard foundations available to us. There is no need for further testing. There is no need to find some 'average'. It is irrelevant. It's a range, and it's smaller. That really is all there is to it.

    I trust Dee Lusby, I trust Michael Bush, I trust my own results. I'd like to get on with my beekeeping experience without getting mired in nit-picking issues that really don't matter. The more foundationless frames I pull, the more I expect them to cover a range of cell sizes that is slightly smaller than the standard foundation available. That's all I've ever seen, that's all I've ever heard of. This is not new technology, not to me, and not to others. It is what it is and looking at it for more decades than it has already been looked at will not change the results. Furthermore, cell size is only part of the puzzle, and I postulate that it is part of the puzzle that has already been solved. Not all agree, but I can't change that. It's literally arguing over tenths of millimeters. It's not worth it.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    5,444

    Default Re: Natural Cell Size Experiment

    Surprised at the tone of your reply, and you completely misunderstand the intent, and genuine interest of what I said.

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

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    DuPage County, Illinois USA
    Posts
    9,183

    Default Re: Natural Cell Size Experiment

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    To truly let your bees "regress" back to the cell size they would prefer, you would need to do the exact opposite of what people do when regressing down. You would need to remove all sc foundation, let the bees breed in the larger cells they have built, and then see what sized cells the next generation build.
    Wouldn't you need to do this over several generations to see where they end up stabilizing? After each generation, take away the comb and require them to build new. Are we saying the same thing?
    Regards, Barry

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    5,444

    Default Re: Natural Cell Size Experiment

    Yes that's what I meant.
    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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