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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    KC, MO, USA
    Posts
    1,168

    Default Regression in spring, is this the easier way?

    I'm planning on switching to small cell size in the spring. Replacing the old comb 5.4 with with mann lake PF120 small cell. I think it might be easier since there will be a time when no brood and very little honey is in the hive.

    1. Switching it all at once might cause them to leave. Checker board half then trade out the other half?
    Or wait till they have frames of brood and add a frame at a time in the middle of the brood.

    2. Once they build up the new PF120 will they be the right size or will I have to replace those too?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    3,946

    Default Re: Regression in spring, is this the easier way?

    I did what you are talking about this spring. My nucs were standard size and I just surrounded those 5.4 frames with the 4.9 and gradually rotated the old comb to the outside of the boxes and on out when there was no brood in them. Those first frames show a huge variation in cell sizes and you even get squares and seams where divergent architecture met. Some colonies were good little beavers and quickly adopted the new pattern and some kept building crap which I scraped back down and let them try again. Looking at the combs and the bees now, mine are tending smaller and I think I will have the process done next year. I bought unwaxed ML frames which were quite a bit cheaper and waxed them myself and had no real acceptance issues. I would wait til you have a flow going and just start dropping it alternately into the brood chamber like you said. Be handy with the hive tool and clean up messes and let them try again when they build drone comb over the top or some other mess. In a natural wild hive the smallest cells are at the center of the hive. Just shoot for that first and move the larger frames up into your supers. What some of the small cell people advocate is starting the process with foundationless frames alternated in for a couple brood cycles before giving them the 4.9 plastic. I was going to do that but it was a late cold buildup I didn't want to slow down the bees. Go to www.dave-cushman.com for his take on the process. He makes more of it than it is I think, but it is a good read and a good site.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,090

    Default Re: Regression in spring, is this the easier way?

    Spring is a good time to do it. Every other frame is probably spreading them too thin, unless the population is really booming. Add them about two at a time early in the spring. More as the population goes up.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    lee county, fl, usa
    Posts
    855

    Default Re: Regression in spring, is this the easier way?

    I am slowly switching to all foundationless by using foundationless frames as I increase my apiary. I have quite a few frames that are drawn on foundation I'd like to eventually change to all foundationless. Or is there a better use for those drawn frames?

    Can I use jig saw (I think that's what it's called) and cut out center of drawn comb foundation frame while it's broodless, leave a boarder to guide them, use those frames in that way?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    3,946

    Default Re: Regression in spring, is this the easier way?

    If they are sc, cutting them oujt is kid of a waste of time, but you could indeed cut them out. I would do it when combs are above fifty and use a serrated knife and a wire cutter.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,090

    Default Re: Regression in spring, is this the easier way?

    I often cut the center out of large cell comb and leave a row all the way around for a guide. It works very well. Of course plastic, wires etc. can complicate things.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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