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  1. #41
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    Default Re: Natural Cell vs. Small Cell

    I just read this entire thread post by post. Keep chewing this bone Specialkayme. I like the focus you have on this issue.

    I do suspect anything bee related may be tainted with the issue of money. I have experience in other things that unquestionably the real money is selling the equipment and supplies to the doers.
    Want to make money in hand made pens? Sell the wood that penmakers make pens out of. And that is about the only good way to do it. Likewise you can make money keeping bees. or make money selling beekeeping stuff to beekeepers. At the very least it is an issue deserving careful consideration.

    I saw two cases of reported success and neither where even attempting to control mites. One had given up and basically did not manage the hive at all. That raises many questions. The other just wanted cool looking bees and was not concerned with the results of treatment. Basically noticed as an afterthought that they where not having problems other keepers had. Both of these cases border on a common theme. maybe it is an overall combination of current management. From the purchasing of packed bees rather than swarming bees to feeding sugar water and everything in between.

    At a casual glance the very idea of trying to control the bees cell size smacks of micro management. If so it will also bring with it every negative that micro management entails.

    I suspect that many of the common issues in bee management evolved from the desire to harvest the most profit from every frame and even every cell of a hive. Eventually you will reach the point that you have asked the bees to do more than they will ever be capable of doing.

    My focus is on letting the bees be bees in every way. Not just cell size, but hive size, honey production. wax production. entrance size, comb orientation. queen replacement and yes even swarming. Let the bees be bees and I will gain from it what I am able to gain. But from where I stand the idea of maximizing has gone completely off the chart. it was done in little tiny steps so nobody really thinks there is that much of a change. But it went over the line somewhere and then everyone wants to say. this is the way my Grandfather did it.

    The truth is your Grandfather did not keep bees this way. He didn't loose massive numbers of hives to disease and parasites. Nobody has ever kept bees the way they are kept today. So Solomon, if it is not you, then it needs to be somebody. but someone needs to set down and write a whole new book. Cause bees aren't what they used to be and it doesn't matter what Grandpa did. He couldn't keep bees in an alphabet today.

    Just my impression and the only real valid thing in my post is the second sentence.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  2. #42
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
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    5,078

    Default Re: Natural Cell vs. Small Cell

    Michael Bush wrote a book, Dean Stiglitz wrote a book. The trouble with me is (my usual detractors take note) I don't have any experience doing it any other way. I can't say things like Michael does that he lost his bees before he used small cell. I have less than one decade experience while he has more than three. Like I say on my website, I'm only trying to show how it can be done, not how it must be done.

    I do think there are management differences, but I can't be certain of what they are. I keep bees in a bubble. I didn't have a mentor. In my experience, moving is very stressful on bees, and there are probably a bunch of other things we do which are very stressful as well. That stress doesn't have nearly the effect on treated bees who receive assistance. On untreated bees however, the stress is probably pretty devastating. But there again, I can't for sure say I do anything different. Maybe all the softer methods of treating help with mites and such but hurt in the case of messing around in the hive all the time.

    Time will tell. Give me 20 years and I will have some stronger data.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  3. #43
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    26,764

    Default Re: Natural Cell vs. Small Cell

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Y View Post

    I suspect that many of the common issues in bee management evolved from the desire to harvest the most profit from every frame and even every cell of a hive. Eventually you will reach the point that you have asked the bees to do more than they will ever be capable of doing.

    My focus is on letting the bees be bees in every way. Not just cell size, but hive size, honey production. wax production. entrance size, comb orientation. queen replacement and yes even swarming. Let the bees be bees and I will gain from it what I am able to gain. But from where I stand the idea of maximizing has gone completely off the chart. it was done in little tiny steps so nobody really thinks there is that much of a change. But it went over the line somewhere and then everyone wants to say. this is the way my Grandfather did it.

    He didn't loose massive numbers of hives to disease and parasites. Nobody has ever kept bees the way they are kept today. So Solomon, if it is not you, then it needs to be somebody. but someone needs to set down and write a whole new book. Cause bees aren't what they used to be and it doesn't matter what Grandpa did.
    DanielY,
    The keeping of bees has always been for "the desire to harvest ... profit" from the bees. So, of course I disagree w/ you on that.

    Our Grandfathers did loose massive numbers of bees to diseases and pests. AFB and the Isle of Wight disease, later determined to be tracheal mite. But, no to the degree we loose bees now adays, from Varroa and nosema. But, there has been for ages something beekeepers must work against.

    Every 20 years or so it seems like something "new" comes along to challenge beekeepers. Sometimes the cycle is much shorter.

    I guess there is always room for another Bee Book, but there are a handful of new bee books available now. New ones come out almost each year. Check out books by Michael Bush and Dean "deknow" Stiglitz and Laurie Herboldsheimer, "The Practical Beekeeper" and "The Complete Idiots Guide To Beekeeping" respectively.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  4. #44
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Stillwell, KS
    Posts
    645

    Default Re: Natural Cell vs. Small Cell

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Y View Post

    but someone needs to set down and write a whole new book. Cause bees aren't what they used to be and it doesn't matter what Grandpa did. He couldn't keep bees in an alphabet today.

    Michael Bush - The Practical Beekeeper
    Dean & Ramona - The Complete Idiot's Guide to Beekeeping
    Ross Conrad - Natural Beekeeping
    Phil Chandler - The Barefoot Beeker
    David Heaf - The Bee-friendly Beekeeper

    Just to name a few

    Not to mention the tons of good works being done by others with web sites, pod-cast, conferences, bee club meetings, etc., not to mention Beesource, Beemasters, Organic Beekeepers list, Feral Bee Project.

    And, as far as Grandpa is concerned he would have adapted just fine.

  5. #45
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: Natural Cell vs. Small Cell

    Oh yeah, I forgot to include this. We are the Grandpas future beekeepers will look back on and say things about concerning abilities to keep bees in modern times. And yet...
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  6. #46
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
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    DuPage County, Illinois USA
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    9,396

    Default Re: Natural Cell vs. Small Cell

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    Perhaps this was a factor in larger cell foundation becoming standard in the first place, they went with something the bees will readily accept.
    This seems not to be the issue, knowing these mills made foundation in the 4.8mm range.

    Comb Foundation

    To go back to the origin of comb foundation and trace its history would be a waste of time in repeating what is familiar to all practical beekeepers. The best and most practical use of foundation is what we need to know. By the use of wired frames for the brood-chamber, I have obtained better results from foundation 6 square feet per pound than I formerly did with 3 square feet to the pound.

    There has been a great deal said and written on the different kinds of foundation, and many tests have been made that, in my opinion, proved nothing. I have made mills of every style in the market (except the Pelham); I have made foundation on them; and I have tested all the different styles of foundation in the hives, and even my bees would not give my pet theories any preference, so far as acceptance was concerned.

    John Vandervort, 1885, The Canadian Bee Journal
    Regards, Barry

  7. #47
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    Default Re: Natural Cell vs. Small Cell

    Yes perhaps I should have said, "Perhaps this was a factor in larger cell foundation becoming standard in the first place, they went with something the bees will readily accept". After trying various cell sizes.

    Which is what I meant, didn't say so as I thought it was obvious.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  8. #48
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    Jul 2010
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    Default Re: Natural Cell vs. Small Cell

    Remaining book titles along the same lines might be -

    The Naked Beekeeper
    The Utter Morons Guide to Beekeeping
    Modern Beekeeping, What Your Grandpa Didn't Know
    Not For Profit Beekeeping

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

  9. #49
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Volga, SD
    Posts
    2,790

    Default Re: Natural Cell vs. Small Cell

    I don't really know what the answer might be, Specialkayme, but one item does stand out to me: your descriptions sounds to me like you introduced bees many times and from many places as you went through this process. At least some of the folks who advocated "regression" in the past mentioned their large losses and subsequent rebuilding from the survivors. I've often wondered if the strong selective pressure in these sorts of scenarios isn't more to credit for the change than the size of the cells.

  10. #50
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
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    DuPage County, Illinois USA
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    Default Re: Natural Cell vs. Small Cell

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    Yes perhaps I should have said, "Perhaps this was a factor in larger cell foundation becoming standard in the first place, they went with something the bees will readily accept". After trying various cell sizes.
    What about the quote I gave gives you the indication that the bees didn't readily accept it?
    Regards, Barry

  11. #51
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    Default Re: Natural Cell vs. Small Cell

    Nothing. Which of your quotes? I don't recall one saying that from you.

    I have a feeling we are somehow talking at cross purposes.

    My original statement, which was before you said anything, was a follow up to Odfrank saying his bees often didn't draw sc foundation properly. A sentiment which is likely shared by many.

    As bees will always be happy to draw standard foundation properly, other than for building drone comb, I said that might be a factor in why the larger cell size became the standard. Not quite sure where the issue is, perhaps I wasn't clear about something? Don't know.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  12. #52
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    Dec 1999
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    Default Re: Natural Cell vs. Small Cell

    John Vandervort's quote gives no indication that the smaller cell size was an issue with beekeepers 140 years ago. What changed first? The bees or the foundation cell size? Today the average cell size in foundation is 5.3-5.4mm.
    Regards, Barry

  13. #53
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    Default Re: Natural Cell vs. Small Cell

    Well I wasn't talking about John Vandervort's quote.

    Since these events took place 140 years ogo, or whatever, doubt the bees had changed much. Don't even know if they've changed much today, other than a loss of some genetic diversity, and mongrelization, which is country specific.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  14. #54
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    Dec 1999
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    Default Re: Natural Cell vs. Small Cell

    Then how do we explain the great differences? If the bees are the same, how is it that 100 years ago beekeepers didn't have issues with getting their 4.8 sc foundation drawn out, but today they do?
    Regards, Barry

  15. #55
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    Default Re: Natural Cell vs. Small Cell

    Do we know they didn't? If it was no problem, why did they abandon it?
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  16. #56
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    Dec 1999
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    Default Re: Natural Cell vs. Small Cell

    There you go, that's the question!

    If they did, where is the evidence of that in liturature?

    According to what the Lusby's saw in the timeline of foundation, the increase in cell size coincided with Baudoux’s work
    Last edited by Barry; 01-24-2012 at 02:11 PM.
    Regards, Barry

  17. #57
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    Default Re: Natural Cell vs. Small Cell

    OK. I'll retract whatever it was. If it will get us back to beesource Zen.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  18. #58
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    Default Re: Natural Cell vs. Small Cell

    I see, now it turns south because you think, what? I raise legitimate questions and we can't have an informed discussion?
    Regards, Barry

  19. #59
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    Default Re: Natural Cell vs. Small Cell

    Sorry Barry. I was trying to end it in a friendly way with a bit of humor.

    So since we are not back in Zen.

    An informed discussion? To be honest, I wasn't there, and am not particularly well informed on this issue. I'm also not quite sure what the issue is meant to be.

    If it is wether bees have changed or not, I can't say for sure, I wouldn't know. What I can say is Michael Bush claims his bees naturally regress to a cell size as small as 4.7. If so, how are they "different", how have they changed?

    Others have noticed bees allowed to build natural comb go even bigger than 5.5. My suspicion is there is a natural variance same as there's always been. it depends on what the bees want according to their particular environment, circumstances, season, location. I see no evidence bees have changed.

    I do know that our fore fathers abandoned the smaller foundation size. For whatever reason, they percieved that the larger size worked better for them, at that time, or the smaller sizes would not have been wholesale discarded.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  20. #60
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    Default Re: Natural Cell vs. Small Cell

    Yes, the smaller cell foundation was abandoned. Would it not give us some possible insight into what some are experiencing now with bees refusing to draw out sc comb easily, if we knew why the change in history? What prompted the foundation makers to go larger? Either there was some other factor outside the natural ability of bees, or the bees ability changed over time and beekeepers had a harder time getting their bees to work the old foundation well. I'm not aware of any literature that indicates the latter, are you?
    Regards, Barry

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