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Thread: Staying SC?

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, MO
    Posts
    47

    Default Staying SC?

    So I started my packages off on Mann Lake PF-125 frames, the brood is emerging and I have tons of visibly smaller bees running around all over the place which makes me think my new generation bees are indeed small cell. That said, if I continue on the Mann Lake PF-125 frames for the next 2 or 3 brood cycles and then start throwing in foundationless am I correct in that by then all the old bees will have passed on and the new bees drawing out the foundationless will be drawing it small cell? If not, how many brood cycles should one go through till the hive is "officially" small cell?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,071

    Default Re: Staying SC?

    If you put foundationless in this time of year, what you will have officially is drone comb.

    The idea of small cell is to return the bees to a more natural size brood comb. Beyond that, the details are not as important. If you put your bees on anything other than small cell, you won't have precisely 4.9mm or 4.95mm in the case of Mann Lake frames. Natural size is dependent on location and lies somewhere between 4.6 to 5.2mm.

    The only reason to differentiate is if your're trying to sell something branded a certain way.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, MO
    Posts
    47

    Default Re: Staying SC?

    Gotcha. The reason I'm asking is that next year I plan on doing splits by taking frames of brood and placing them in the new hive and replacing the frames I robbed with foundationless. I was just curious if the bees would stay small cell on the foundationless or if I should replace the robbed frames with more PF-125.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,071

    Default Re: Staying SC?

    The best results I have had with foundationless is single frames between frames of drawn comb with brood in it. Your climate is nearly identical to mine and I can tell you with certainty that right now they are drawing drone. I saw it yesterday.

    Foundationless brood comb is drawn between 4.9-5.2mm here. You'll have to discover what your native size is. But 'small cell' is 4.9mm. Chances are about 0% that you will get whole frames of 4.9mm cells. That's just the nature of foundationless.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Greensboro, North Carolina
    Posts
    2,718

    Default Re: Staying SC?

    I havn't noticed a correlation between what type of comb bees draw out on foundationless (drone or worker) and time of year. Could just be me though.

    I have noticed a correlation between what type of comb bees draw out on foundationless (drone or worker) and what they already have in the hive. If they already have one or two frames out of ten that are drone comb, there is little desire to make a third or a fourth, regardless of the time of year.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Millbury, MA, USA
    Posts
    1,808

    Default Re: Staying SC?

    Been using ML PF-100's for a while with some foundationless sprinkled in. Bees never draw out totally small cell on foundationless. The center of the brood frames will be pretty close to small cell. Outside edges will be much larger. Foundationless frames in the supers will always be 5.2 - 5.5 in my experience.

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