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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Richmond, VA UNITED STATES
    Posts
    163

    Default Can I run small cell in brood area, and regular in honey supers?

    I have a lot (well, for me) of honey supers with drawn comb, but would like to run small cell bees if possible. All of my bees are cutouts or swarms or splits, and I don't treat at all. My thought is just to use the triangle top bar as the top of my langstroth deeps. So, basically I'll checkerboard my current Langstroths with some where I've stapled a triangle piece of wood just at the top inside of the langstroth frame. From there, I expect the bees to draw down their own comb.

    I don't spin my deeps, so I don't feel like I have to reinforce them with wire or a plastic foundation. Plus, the wax used for brood is stronger should the bees eventually put honey in it.


    I think this would be the best of all situations: I have plastic foundation for my drawn supers. That's the best scenario for extraction. In the brood area, I would have 100% natural comb, but still within the frame. That allows me to cut out the wax easily for recycling. As it stands today, it is very hard to recycle a plastic based comb. I have found that wax moths do the best at cleaning those frames down to the plastic, but I don't really want to breed a bunch of them, and they do tunnel through the wood bound frame.

    I have 2 top bars and plan on adding some more, and have both 10 frame deep langstroth and 8 frame shallow langstroth, and an observation hive. I like to experiment.

    One other question. When might be the best time to try this? I think if I try it now, I'm going to get a lot of drone comb. Do the bees tend to taper off drone production after the spring?

    Rob
    www.mongrelbees.com

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    965

    Default Re: Can I run small cell in brood area, and regular in honey supers?

    When left to their own devices the bees often make larger cell for honey storage than in the brood nest.
    You won't hurt anything by following suit.

    HAve fun.
    Enjoy your bees.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    San Jose, Ca
    Posts
    372

    Default Re: Can I run small cell in brood area, and regular in honey supers?

    I asked this a few months ago and most people said, try it and let us know. I never got any SC frames so... Go for it and let us know. I think it should work. More space for honey and less wax. I wouldn't really worry about drones. The should have those down in the brood nest. If you have some honey already, you can make sure they don't use it for brood by putting the new frames over the honey and the queen usually doesn't cross the honey band.
    Disclaimer: I know enough to know I don't know anything yet.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Richmond, VA UNITED STATES
    Posts
    163

    Default Re: Can I run small cell in brood area, and regular in honey supers?

    Quote Originally Posted by MrHappy View Post
    I asked this a few months ago and most people said, try it and let us know. I never got any SC frames so... Go for it and let us know. I think it should work. More space for honey and less wax. I wouldn't really worry about drones. The should have those down in the brood nest. If you have some honey already, you can make sure they don't use it for brood by putting the new frames over the honey and the queen usually doesn't cross the honey band.

    Funny. Thanks for passing the torch there MrHappy. I may try to set it up this weekend. I haven't checked my brood area for a lot of hives lately, and I have some frames I haven't had a chance to put together yet. Just need to run some boards through my tablesaw at a 45 to make the triangles. May wax the tip just to get the bees started. It'll be a good experiment, and I can't see how it would hurt. I have too many hives as it is, so if it does hurt, I'm not that concerned at the moment.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,079

    Default Re: Can I run small cell in brood area, and regular in honey supers?

    You can do this if you like.

    A number of us use unlimited broodnest management and therefore have no guarantee of where the queen will end up laying, and so try to keep all the comb uniform. But I do move poorly drawn comb or frames containing excessive drone comb to the upper boxes to be filled with honey. My preference would be to use plastic drone frames and then there's no mix up because they're green and they'll only end up drone. However, I'm in the process of switching to medium frames and I have not yet found medium drone frames. Perhaps somebody could point me in the right direction.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Richmond, VA UNITED STATES
    Posts
    163

    Default Re: Can I run small cell in brood area, and regular in honey supers?

    I just got 4 hives of medium 8 frame for the unlimited broodnest mgmt idea. I don't like having to use a queen excluder, so wanted the flexibility of experimentation of all the same size frames.

    However, in this idea above, I plan on using excluders. What I usually do is have 1 super above the queen excluder. I leave it on just long enough for them to put honey in that super, then I remove the excluder. The bees are resistant to move the honey, the queen is resistant to lay in the outside frames. The bees usually put honey in the center first, so I really have the excluder on for a shorter time, and rarely have the queen up top.

    I do like drone frames for honey (the idea - never got around to it). I would suggest you could always make your home. Stack them, wrap in duct tape, then run through your tablesaw with a 60T blade. The cut end goes into the track.

    Surprised they don't make a medium drone frame. I looked once for just what you state Solomon, but didn't find them, and then just got too busy to follow up.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,079

    Default Re: Can I run small cell in brood area, and regular in honey supers?

    The other thing I tried was to space 9 frames in the supers to hopefully encourage honey storage and not brood, but the queen laid it up anyway. Also, if it worked, my extractor is nine frame, so that would have been convenient.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Concord, CA
    Posts
    4,136

    Default Re: Can I run small cell in brood area, and regular in honey supers?

    We use queen excluders & run larger cell in the honey supers.
    Our honey is very thick usually 15-16% moisture, & I can never get the small cell honey frames to extract dry, like the large cell foundationless frames do.
    Dan

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