I am soon to be a new beekeeper and as I think is often the case, I have a number of newbee questions. I have been researching for some time. I started by reading the Beekeeping for Dummies book but was dismayed by the heavy reliance on chemicals and the cursory discussion of alternative hives. I then turned to The Complete Idiot's Guide which I found much more useful. I have also been digesting Michael Bush's excellent Practical Beekeeper (so far Volumes I and II but also on the website.) I have also been listening (repeatedly) to the excellent podcasts hosted by Craig on the Southern Maryland Beekeeper website.
I have now purchased two 8 frame medium hives from Mann Lake with PF120 plastic frames. I have also put in an order for two packages from Bee Weaver Bees. I chose Bee Weaver because they maintain that they have been chemical free since 2001 and because they are more local and thus hopefully more tolerant of Texas heat. (I'm in Austin, Tx). There has been some discussion about the "hotness" of their bees here on the forum but it looks like most of this is a few years old. This gives me a little bit of concern about their use in an urban environment but Bee Weaver states on their website that:
So, I have decided to give them a try.BeeWeaver tolerated more stinging to produce bees that did not perish when hives were left untreated for varroa and tracheal mites. Between 1996 and 2002 our bees were more defensive on average with the chance of extremes in both directions (super gentle to intolerable). Since 2001 we have been able to refocus on all the traits that we want our bees to have including good attitudes. Each year there has been significant improvement. Not only in our opinion but in that of our customers. If our queen produces a defensive hive and circumstances (beekeeping techniques, hive location, pest problem) are not encouraging it then we replace the queen.
My question is; I am not sure if Bee Weaver uses small cell size as part of their treatment free practice. I emailed them but never received a response. I had planned to go directly to the PF120 frames but am now wondering if anyone knows what cell size Bee Weaver uses and whether I should consider a different plan in terms of regressing them (not knowing what cell size they currently use), i.e. perhaps going foundationless (which definitely has the appeal of getting the plastic out of the hive.)
Does anyone know whether Bee Weaver uses small cell size as part of their Chemical Free Practice?
I am sure I will have more questions, especially regarding beekeeping in Texas and dealing with heat.
Thanks in advance for any input,