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Thread: Staying SC?

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

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, MO
    Posts
    47

    Default Re: Staying SC?

    I didn't expect the entire foundationless frame to be small cell considering that the bees don't lay (at least not that I know of but I'm noob...) the entire frame as worker brood. I thought there would be a band across the top of honey and pollen which if the bees could draw out themselves it would not be small cell. My concern is that when they draw the middle out for worker brood then would it be small cell or would it be larger thereby negating my PF-125 regress efforts.
    On a side note, when brood emerges is that about as big as they are going to get or do they continue to grow some? I ask this because the brood that has emerged off my PF-125 frames is much much smaller than what came with the package.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    JACKSON OHIO
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    485

    Default Re: Staying SC?

    They will draw what they need not what you want.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Landing, NJ, USA
    Posts
    198

    Default Re: Staying SC?

    Duranthas-
    I believe that once the exoskeleton of an insect hardens it cannot grow further, thus insects that do partial metamorphous like locusts and grasshoppers have to moult their exoskeletons in order to grow.
    Bill

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,071

    Default Re: Staying SC?

    The band of honey across the top of a frame is the fault of the frame restricting uninterrupted comb area. On foundationed frames, the comb is the same size as the foundation. On foundationless, they draw what they need at the time of construction so there's no telling what size will be where. In my experience, they often start with worker comb and then transition to drone later on down. But it happens the other way as well.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Sullivan, MO
    Posts
    885

    Default Re: Staying SC?

    I say for the most part don't worry about it. Place foundationless frames between the pf-100s and let them draw it out. If it's drone or honey comb move it to the outside edges of the hive and put another empty in the middle. Perfect frames probably only exist in plastic so, just let them do their thing and place the best drawn foundationless in the middle of the brood nest going forward. Worst case you can always pull those honey/drone frames when full of honey, crush and strain and put it back in and let them try again. You get honey and wax, how can you beat that?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Columbia, Missouri, usa
    Posts
    203

    Default Re: Staying SC?

    I agree with Rod. The bees in my observation hive mostly make worker comb on the Mann Lake pf-120 frames. Then they make several larger sized cells up to drone comb on the edges and in open spots between frames. However since April 1, they have not raised any drones (not even one drone in my hive)- they backfill all of the larger cells with nector and keep the queen out of them.

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