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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Jackson, MO
    Posts
    1,858

    Default Splitting Small Cell Bees

    Here's a question that is puzzling me.

    If you had a small cell hive, regressed to 4.9mm and you wanted to split it, do you need a small cell queen?

    Or could you buy any queen from a reputable supplier and introduce her?

    Would I have to raise a small cell queen from that stock...or allow them to produce a queen using an emergency cell?

    Grant
    Jackson, MO
    Beekeeping With Twenty-five Hives: https://www.createspace.com/4152725

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,033

    Default Re: Splitting Small Cell Bees

    As a treatment-free beekeeper, I generally prefer to raise my own queens to maximize the benefit of locally adapted stock. However, I do like to buy new queens from elsewhere every year to keep the gene pool fresh.

    You do not need a small cell queen to lay eggs in 4.9mm cells. Any normal queen should be able to do it, however, I have heard of one case where an exceptionally large queen was unable to get the job done. The size of the queen is for the most part unrestricted. There is usually plenty of space in a well formed queen cell. Don't forget, the abdomen is quite flexible as well containing and upper and lower set of plates which intermesh at the sides. Anyway, it isn't a problem.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    5,708

    Default Re: Splitting Small Cell Bees

    I was worried about that myself Grant, when I started my first small cell hive the cells where smaller than anything I'd seen, and looking at the queen on them that I'd transfered from a large cell hive, it didn't look like she'd be able to lay eggs without difficulty.

    Anyhow, as I watched, she carried on laying, and here's a pic. Notice she doesn't stick much of her abdomen in, just the end, I think that's cos she has to elongate her abdomen to slim it down to get into the cell. Now the hive is established the brood nest is fine, good brood pattern, no worries.


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

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    3,823

    Default Re: Splitting Small Cell Bees

    That is really purty broodcomb! You are quite a bee tamer to get them to do that high of quality work! Merry Christmas!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    5,708

    Default Re: Splitting Small Cell Bees

    Ha Ha! Thanks Vance .

    Although you can see a few cells enlarged. That pic was taken when the hive was just starting out so the comb is new. Now though I'm really pleased with the sc hives, they've been given foundationless frames to build drone comb, so the sc combs are virtually perfect.

    And Merry Christmas to you, and everybody else!
    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
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,335

    Default Re: Splitting Small Cell Bees

    I've only seen one commercial queen who had trouble laying in small cell, and she was VERY fat. But I think a hundred or more years of selecting big queens has probably shifted the size somewhat and picking a queen from a hive that builds smaller comb might be wise.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    4,227

    Default Re: Splitting Small Cell Bees

    Great pic Oldtimer. A little background on your genetics would be appreciated, I rarely see such a dramatic variation in colors within a hive.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    5,708

    Default Re: Splitting Small Cell Bees

    Oh yes, a multicutural hive LOL!

    Actually, the queen herself is a carniolan that would have mated with mostly italian drones, however at the time the pic was taken she hadn't been laying very long, she is the mother of the dark bees, but the italians were what the nuc was before I put the cell in that was this queen. As the italians died off the hive went black.

    Just for interest, I've got an italian line, and a carniolan line, my production hives are often a mix, I've noticed the two races will work really well together in a hive, those hives are often the best.
    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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