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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    4,824

    Default My 2/2012 Small Cell Apiary Status

    I have had small cell hives since 2003, and established a small cell apiary after the small cell advocates indicated that SC should not be mixed with LC because the mites would vector over. In winter 2010/11 that site had 100% loss, ten out of ten. The site was brought back up to 13 hives in the summer of 2011 by importing bait swarms caught onto the small cell combs from the dead hives. Two of those hives did not establish, and the remaining eleven produced 475lbs of honey and wax surplus. As of 2/3/2012, only four remain, three weak and one boomer. Three of these were the latest swarms brought in. Substantial visible mite drop was found on two of the dead out bottom boards, and only a scattering on the others. All had substantial stores leftover and are in an area that has some winter forage available. We have had almost no winter.
    Our area has been suffering from substantial Deformed Wing Virus death all winter. One SC hive at another site was booming until January and now has had substantial population loss from DWV.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    2,358

    Default Re: My 2/2012 Small Cell Apiary Status

    I'm no expert but I use Mann Lake 4.9 cell frames on some of my hives and others have foundationless or Dadant 5.2 cell size. I can't tell any difference in mite count. All the SC debates and articles I've read including Randy Olivers' say there is no statistical significance in mite build up.
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Hudson, WI USA
    Posts
    2,176

    Default Re: My 2/2012 Small Cell Apiary Status

    OD, I used your handles on the 20 nucs I made up. I love the way they feel. I have been pondering your "issues" for a while. From your posts I see that you catch lots of swarms, but no matter what you do many of them die within a year. You seem open to experimentation. Have you ever tried splitting the hives in a yard and enforcing a brood break by giving them all a cell? If your problems are mite related it might help. Respectful Regards, Adrian.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    4,824

    Default Re: My 2/2012 Small Cell Apiary Status

    I do not raise queens so have no cells easily available, and there are no queen breeders within a several hour round trip. I feel that my problems are virus related, not the direct cause from mites. Another local beekeeper treats and suffers the same losses.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    2,280

    Default Re: My 2/2012 Small Cell Apiary Status

    Odfrank, thanks for posting such painful information. This seems to coincide with other reports I've read, that small cell makes no statistical difference with the mites.

    From other things I've read, mites are a vector for several viruses. Thus while the mites are not a direct cause of your losses, could they be a serious indirect cause? By providing the viruses?

    You have this experiental edge to you, which I (and others I am sure) appreciate. Have you thought about procuring some packages, nucs, or queens from a producer of "survivor" or "resistant" stock, and trying that out in one of your smaller apiaries as a treatment-free test? When Purvis was producing queens a few years back, I had good luck with his. Also with B. Weaver's bees. Not so good luck with MnHyg. Jury is still out for me on the Russians. They've survived, but haven't produced the honey crop I would like.

    I'd just like your take on some of these things. Thanks!
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Orange, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    382

    Default Re: My 2/2012 Small Cell Apiary Status

    I switched over to small cell this 2011 season in my home apiary.

    So far 8/8 in this apiary are doing fine. Only problem I have had is lite hives due to this very mild winter. I have basically 0 mite count and from talking to the people who purchased nucs from me this past year, have had same results. I am running a variety of stock, AMM, Sunkist, Carnies, Caucasians and local stock. I have not noticed any substantial death toll on any hive and have not noticed any DWV.

    I also practice planting a lot of anti-mite plants, mints, lavanders, and various herbs. I also use lavander oil, speriment, pepermint and lemon grass oil mixed in with the feed for spring, late summer and fall feeding. This may have something to do with the virtually no mite count in fact out of all my hives I only saw a few mites (less than 10) and only 2 small hive beetle the entire season.

    So far I think the small cell is working for me.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    2,358

    Default Re: My 2/2012 Small Cell Apiary Status

    Quote Originally Posted by ChristopherA View Post
    I have basically 0 mite count..... I only saw a few mites (less than 10)
    Less than 10 mites in 8 hives, interesting. I'm curious, by what process are you counting?
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Orange, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    382

    Default Re: My 2/2012 Small Cell Apiary Status

    Visual inspections of hive and board count. Had no reason to do wash or powder.

    Also wanted to add, other than essential oils, HBH and HBH amino, I did not treat with anything. I do sprinkle a little powdered sugar on the top of the bars when I do inspections. So I can not say I am chemical free, but I am treatment free at this point and hope to keep it that way.

    Added this from one of my customers..

    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...t=christopherA

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    2,358

    Default Re: My 2/2012 Small Cell Apiary Status

    Quote Originally Posted by ChristopherA View Post
    Had no reason to do wash or powder.
    I think you'll see more than 10 mites if you did either one.
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    2,280

    Default Re: My 2/2012 Small Cell Apiary Status

    Christopher, there are those who affirm rather vehemently that essential oils and the application of powdered sugar are treatments. Personally, I don't care, as I don't use even those methods.
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Volga, SD
    Posts
    2,790

    Default Re: My 2/2012 Small Cell Apiary Status

    Seeing even a few mites means one of two things, I suppose: 1) occasional mites are "drifting in" on bees that drift, or, 2) mites are reproducing at a low rate at least, and you're only seeing a few of the mites that live in the hives.

    Like any population of any living thing, enough would have to be alive in the ecosystem (hive) to perpetuate the population. If too few were there, you would be unable to find any (unless some drifted in) as the population would become extinct.

    If whatever you're doing is working in your situation and you're satisfied with it, by all means, keep doing it.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    DuPage County, Illinois USA
    Posts
    9,384

    Default Re: My 2/2012 Small Cell Apiary Status

    Just checked on my SC hives for the first time this winter and all are alive. Will be splitting every one this spring.
    Regards, Barry

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