It's been awhile, but a recent thread linked to one of my earlier posts. And, although not related to the thread's subject, I promised an update on that post a year and a half ago. Thought I had. Did a search and couldn't find one so here goes:
In 2009 my small cell hives weren't doing so well. In 2010 they continued to decline. There were no mite or apparent disease problems, so I decided to split the yard and requeen. My thinking then:
Then it became apparent many wild bees were having problems as well:
The bees continued to struggle. My assessment at the end of 2010:
Condensed test yard history:
So, after 12 years, no more special small cell bees or hives. During their history, my treatment free beekeeping expectations were more than met. After the initial season's problems with small cell, I never had to treat for mites or anything else. The hives were healthy, productive, long lived and vigorous. They escaped the mites and other common brood diseases. But they couldn't cope with the latest wave of CCD viruses.
I learned more about bees and real beekeeping from working with these hives, than I learned from 30 years of commercial beekeeping. It was the success of these hives, combined with the onerous side of getting small cell comb, that took my beekeeping in a more natural direction.
Even though I went natural and left the small cell posting war to others, I continued to look into several aspects of small cell.
But that's all done now. The decades old small cell combs are virus laden and will be rendered this coming spring.