# Thread: Do Small Cell Bees have less Venom?

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## Do Small Cell Bees have less Venom?

Do Small Cell Bees have less Venom in their sting?

Do they have a smaller honey sac, and carry less nectar?

More cells per brood cone, does this mean there will be more bees in a SC then LC hive?

Does the SC queen lag more eggs?

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## Re: Do Small Cell Bees have less Venom?

Just about any answer to any of these questions is going to be conjecture, and will be conjecture in either direction.

In answer to the first, doesn't seem like it.

The answer to the rest is no one knows for sure. Some say yes, some don't.

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## Re: Do Small Cell Bees have less Venom?

In fact, re how many eggs the queen has to lay, conjecture can be removed by thinking like an engineer and using maths.

If we take a section of comb 100 mm square. 100 / 4.9 = 20.4. 100 / 5.5 = 18.2.
20.4 x's 20.4 = 416 cells in the small cell section. 18.2 x's 18.2 = 331 cells in the large cell section.

So we see, a queen in a small cell hive has to lay something close to 30 percent more eggs to get the same biomass of bees. In fact, considering the sc bees are not just skinnier but also shorter, which is not factored into the above equation, she would actually have to lay around 40 percent more eggs to get the same biomass of bees. This could have been another advantage they found 100 years ago when going larger foundation, that the queens were not expended so fast, and therefore lived longer.

Re the other question about numbers of bees in a hive, my own observation is that small cell hives have a lot more bees in a box than a large cell hive.

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## Re: Do Small Cell Bees have less Venom?

Interesting, I like it when someone answers a question I read in not the same way I thought what the question was about, actually learn something then sometimes.

I had only thought of the original question "Does the SC queen lag more eggs?" as a positive in that the SC configuration allows the queen to lay more as the confining element is not the queen but the open comb & SC gives more cells per comb; not as Oldtimer rephrased: "re how many eggs the queen has to lay"; which puts it as SC is a negative forcing the queen to lay more for equal biomass.

I hadn't thought of advantage of less eggs per biomass for large cell, (ignoring everything that goes into making biomass other than eggs) leads me to an actual genuine question, "Can biomass per number of bees give you anything productive or is a higher biomass per number of bees a waste of resources?" If there is no advantage then its still just the number of eggs laid, if there is than I'd find that interesting and maybe that is why with natural cell the bees control the biomass per bee ratio throughout the year.

I want to know as I've read many accounts of SC proponents arguing all the advantages of SC bees, but I don't get to hear the LC advantages if there are any. Not a SC versus LC argument, but on its own (even if everyone considered for arguments sake that SC was superior, just pretend if you disagree) are there actual known advantages to LC? i.e. does superior mass of bee allow it to carry greater volume of nectar back and can that be correlated to the queen needing to lay less eggs, not a list of what LC doesn't do and SC does.

Not attacking the biomass point, I had not considered it and its getting me to think of something from a different angle and want to see if there is any knowns to a biomass argument.

5. ## Re: Do Small Cell Bees have less Venom?

>Do Small Cell Bees have less Venom in their sting?

In my experience, there is no difference.

>Do they have a smaller honey sac, and carry less nectar?

In my experience, small bees make as much or more honey as a colony. They are more efficient at flying and in my experience (and the observation of Brother Adam of Buckfast Abbey) they fly much farther because they are more efficient. A bumble bee probably has a much large honey sac and they make much less honey...

>More cells per brood cone, does this mean there will be more bees in a SC then LC hive?

In my experience, yes.

>Does the SC queen lag more eggs?

In order to keep up, she would have to.

6. ## Re: Do Small Cell Bees have less Venom?

Originally Posted by Michael Bush
> (and the observation of Brother Adam of Buckfast Abbey)
In which of his books does he discuss small cell bees?

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## Re: Do Small Cell Bees have less Venom?

Originally Posted by Michael Bush
>They are more efficient at flying and in my experience (and the observation of Brother Adam of Buckfast Abbey) they fly much farther because they are more efficient.
That would only make sence, if left to regress to the nateral size, they would evolve to the most effective state on there own.

8. ## Re: Do Small Cell Bees have less Venom?

>In which of his books does he discuss small cell bees?

He discusses small bees compared to large bees. He did not call them small cell bees. He called them the small native brown bees and the Italian bees. Brother Adam says his native Apis Mellifera mellifera, which were smaller, flew the five miles to get the Heather, but the Italians he replaced them with, which were larger bees, would not. I don't have his books handy at the moment as I am not home, so I can't look up the exact quote and the exact book, but I'm if I had them and I was looking for it, I would start with "In search of the best strain of bees". But it might be "Beekeeping in Buckfast Abbey"

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## Re: Do Small Cell Bees have less Venom?

Originally Posted by FlowerPlanter
Do Small Cell Bees have less Venom in their sting?
Some of my small cell bees are rather nasty and I doubt that anyone who visits them would say they had less venom,

Originally Posted by FlowerPlanter
Do they have a smaller honey sac, and carry less nectar?
I read somewhere one time that this was the theory in increasing the natural size of the bees, the theory being that a larger bee could carry a bigger payload. Whether anyone tested this theory I am not sure. However, it sure seems to me that often there are unintended consequences when man interferes with what God has created.

Originally Posted by FlowerPlanter
More cells per brood cone, does this mean there will be more bees in a SC then LC hive?
Just seems to me that the queen would have the ability to lay the same amount of eggs, and it wouldn't matter to her if they were laid in a small cell or larger cell. That being said, there are more egg cells per frame with small cell because of the size difference in the cells. Another consideration is that it would probably take more colony resources to raise a larger bee [more biomass], more bees to produce that resource, so it would make me wonder, even if the bees could carry a bigger payload, if the loss in resources wouldn't offset the theoritical increase payload size. However, if you have more mites on the grubs because of the additional day the cells are open [with a greater chance for a mite to lay on the bee grub], and an extra day or two before the bees emerge [giving the mites an extra day to mature], it seems to me that the number of bees in a small cell colony could be greater because of the greater loss to mite damage.

Originally Posted by FlowerPlanter
Does the SC queen lag more eggs?
I wouldn't think so, or that is what my common sense is telling me. I will comment on this, that all queens seem to be to be the same size, being raised in the same size queen cells, whether they be small cell colonies or large cell colonies.

Kindest Regards
Danny Unger

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## Re: Do Small Cell Bees have less Venom?

Does the SC queen lag more eggs? -FlowerPlanter
I doubt it. Basic physiological process impact this sort of thing. Maturation of each egg in the queen's ovaries will limit how many eggs per given time she can lay. Ability to mate with multiple drones and store sperm will also limit how many fertilized eggs she can lay.

If we presume that queens on larger cells have fewer cells to lay in (although I doubt they do, because from what I've observed, each colony establishes a brood area and largely sticks to that space, and larger-celled colonies could simply use a larger brood area), and if we then assume that queens on these larger celled combs spend more time not laying eggs each day, then I think we can extrapolate and theorize that small cell queens will exhaust their supplies of sperm more rapidly than large cell queens. Others have already suggested this in this thread.

They are more efficient at flying and in my experience (and the observation of Brother Adam of Buckfast Abbey) they fly much farther because they are more efficient. -Michael Bush
I don't have data on flight efficiencies. It seems that larger bees (if they can, in fact, carry more nectar in each load) would be more efficient at gathering nectar in locations where flowers were dense and close to the hives. However, it also seems to me that too many other variables enter the equation to be able to make hard, fast statements about flight efficiencies. Certainly other efficiencies influence evolution of sizes, too.

A bumble bee probably has a much large honey sac and they make much less honey... -Michael Bush
Apples and oranges. Bumblebees do not overwinter as colonies. Rather, individual queens overwinter and found new colonies each spring. What advantage would bumblebees gain by storing larger amounts of honey? Certainly they do not need honey to survive winter dearths. Also, bumblebee colonies are far less populous than honey bee colonies. A large bumblebee colony might contain 250 bees. Again, they simply don't need such vast stores of honey.

More cells per brood cone, ... -FlowerPlanter
Each comb may have more cells, but fewer comb faces may be used for rearing brood under these conditions.

I've got some hives that would approach "small cell" and some that are clearly "large cell." The populations of both groups are variable, and I doubt the means are significantly different statistically.

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## Re: Do Small Cell Bees have less Venom?

So we see, a queen in a small cell hive has to lay something close to 30 percent more eggs to get the same biomass of bees.
The question still remains. Does she? Assuming your math is correct does not mean that laying 30 or even 40 percent more eggs is either impossible or undesirable. See comment below your next statement for more clarity on my thinking.

This could have been another advantage they found 100 years ago when going larger foundation, that the queens were not expended so fast, and therefore lived longer.
I fail to see that a slower laying queen as an advantage or a faster laying queen a disadvantage. I see comments concerning the replacement of queens all the time that refer to new queens lay more eggs. I don't see a queen that requires 4 years to lay the same number of eggs as an advantage over one that can produce the same number of daughters in 3 or even 2 years. Once she has expended her ability to lay she is done. she has accomplished what she was intended to do. I see it more of an issue like gold panning. Where more in less time is the purpose. Those eggs are not producing honey riding around inside the queen.

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## Re: Do Small Cell Bees have less Venom?

Does anyone know the wieght of a SC worker vs a LC worker?

30% is way to much, might be 10% at most

13. ## Re: Do Small Cell Bees have less Venom?

A large cell worker is 157% of the size of a small cell worker. Detailed measurements can be found in the old ABC XYZ of Bee Culture. The ones from the early 1900s until at least 1945 had detailed measurements from Baudoux's research. Some of those charts are on beesource and some are here:

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesnatural...tm#baudoux1893
http://www.bushfarms.com/beesnaturalcell.htm#combwidth

When you increase the cell diameter from what Baudoux thought was natural (4.7mm) to what he thought was optimum (5.555mm) the bees also increase the depth from 20.20mm to 22.60mm thus the VOLUME of the cell increases by approximately 160% from 192 cubic mm to 301 cubic mm (157%). The anatomical measurements (tongue length, weight etc.) used to be under the POV for Dee Lusby but the links appear broken now. I don't have the books handy (they are at home and I'm not) or I'd post the weights, tongue lengths etc. for you from the 1945 edition of ABC XYZ of Bee Culture.

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## Re: Do Small Cell Bees have less Venom?

A large cell worker is 157% of the size of a small cell worker. -Michael Bush
Well, the cells used to produce large cell workers are 157% the size of the cells used to produce small cell workers. Workers that are more than half again larger would be so obviously different in size that beekeepers could easily discern small cell workers from large cell workers at a glance. I'm not sure that the sizes of the workers are that pronounced. I see some difference, but it doesn't appear that great to me.

I did go back to Berry, Owens and Delaplane's small cell study that sparked so much discussion a while back. They include data in the paper on cell sizes, but also on the number of cells used for brood production and the area used for brood production, and even weights of workers. Their data supports what I already suggested on brood area -- the number of cells used to produce workers is not all that different between small cell and large cell, meaning that colonies likely adjust the areas devoted to brood within their hives based on their needs and abilities to produce workers.

Also, the weights they measured of large cell workers were roughly 10 percent greater than the weights for small cell workers. The cell sizes are undoubtedly much larger in large cell, but the developing larvae may not use all of the available space.

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## Re: Do Small Cell Bees have less Venom?

Kieck, The visual difference may not be as much as it would seem even in a bee that is half again as large. The reason is the effect of Dimensions. If all of that extra size was just in length for example it would be obvious. But a bee is a three dimensional object so the size is made up in length, width and height. Each dimension only making up a portion of that half again increase in size. If shared equally this means a bee that is only 1/6th longer, 1/6th wider and 1/6th taller. This is not nearly as easy to see with the eye. Now that explanation may not be mathematically accurate but I think it makes the point more clearly than using actual numbers.
For example a 4 inch pipe has a cross section area of 12.5 square inches. but a pipe of 6 inches has a cross section area of 28.26 inches. So what appears to be a pipe that is half again as large is shown to be actually well over twice as large. To increase the size of a 4 inch by half again requires the addition of a little less than 1 inch in diameter or just short of 5 inches diameter. If it where a bee you would have to be able to eye the difference between a 4 mm or 4.25 mm diameter bee. The the length measurement woudl have a similar effect.

I point this out because dimension size comparisons have this less than obvious effect to them.

16. ## Re: Do Small Cell Bees have less Venom?

In three dimensions it is, of course exponentially more. 1 inch cubed is 1 inch. 2 inches cubed is 8 inches. So doubling the dimensions quadruples the volume. It is only an increase of 2.5mm in length and .8mm in diameter that causes that 157% increase in the volume of the cell. And I didn't make the measurements. Baudoux did and they were published 100 years ago.

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