Here is a link to one of the small cell studies, and abstracts for the other two: http://beebehavior.com/small_cell_comb_varroa_mites.php
I wanted to discuss these because they are often mentioned in discussions about the use of small cell comb. This IS NOT a thread about the use of small cell comb in hives and pros and cons thereof. This thread is to discuss [small cell] studies only. The forum rules still apply.
For my own part, I don't want to be seen as someone who ignores scientific evidence and instead runs with disproved crackpot theories. So there are these three studies which seem to say that small cell comb is ineffective at controlling varroa mites and may in fact exacerbate the problem. But there is so much anecdotal evidence that says it works or at least has an effect.
To me, these studies are flawed. They take a complex issue, varroa parasitism, and distill it to simple variables, cell size and mite counts. But the issue of the varroa mite does not come down simply to mite counts and cell size. Ultimately there are many more issues involved. I don't know of anyone who's been doing this for any length of time who thinks that cell size is the only or even just the main issue. Dee Lusby said it was a third cell size, a third genetics and a third management. One thing I really want to know is were the combs they used treated before hand. Even more important than that is how well they survived even with the mite load they had. I do no mite drop testing whatsoever, my only metric is survival. If they survive, they get to move on to more nuanced levels of investigation.
Whether or not it can be proven that small cell comb helps with varroa, I have been keeping bees for years with no treatments whatsoever and with only small cell comb and whatever powers the bees have to keep the varroa to manageable levels. I'm interested in other's views of these studies in light of what they have seen and experienced.