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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Long Beach, Ca
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    66

    Default Different size bees in one hive?

    I started a hive in June this year with foundation. However, after some reading I cut out most of the foundation on the combs that hadn't been built up yet. I'd estimate that I have about 50% foundation, and 50% natural.

    Yesterday I noticed a huge disparity in the size of my worker bees. some were about 30% bigger then the others. Is this really just the difference caused by the cell sizes? I assume so, but it just seems hard to believe.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Garland County, AR
    Posts
    1,076

    Default Re: Different size bees in one hive?

    Lessee...4.9 (small cell) times 10% = 5.39 (large? cell). That makes me think 30% difference is unlikely. I know when I cut out my foundation to go foundationless, most of what they initially built was drone cell. (Apparently it takes them a few tries to get the hang of foundationless). Maybe you are just seeing drones?
    Zone 7b ~ Central Arkansas
    8fr medium equipment

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Long Beach, Ca
    Posts
    66

    Default Re: Different size bees in one hive?

    Most certainly not drones, as those are even bigger. Maybe 30% is an exaggeration, but they are definitely 2 different sizes.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Wake County, NC
    Posts
    103

    Default Re: Different size bees in one hive?

    I do to some old comb I will have to replace soon. Little by little there is less room in the cells

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Palermo, Maine, USA
    Posts
    731

    Default Re: Different size bees in one hive?

    I have noticed different size bees before also. Not sure of the cause, but always attributed it to either drifting or the queen being mated to different drones.
    Like us on facebook This is the place to bee!
    Ralph

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    North Berwick, Maine, USA
    Posts
    45

    Default Re: Different size bees in one hive?

    I added a couple frames of brood from a different hive to my colony of regressed bees. The new comb was natural but the bees had not been regressed. They were probably building smaller cells but not as small as my regressed bees. The nurse bees that came with and the bees that hatched were noticeably bigger than the originals. It's probably not 30%, but there is a difference.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    S Hadley, Massachusetts USA
    Posts
    690

    Default Re: Different size bees in one hive?

    Oldest field bees vs young nurse bees?

    Not 30% but noticable.

    Drones?
    Pearl City Apiary Michael and Loucil Bach

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    27,785

    Default Re: Different size bees in one hive?

    Michael, bees don't get bigger as they get older after emerging from the comb.

    Different size bees in a hive are nothing to worry about.
    Mark Berninghausen To combat Ebola, please consider supporting http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    North Berwick, Maine, USA
    Posts
    45

    Default Re: Different size bees in one hive?

    My field bees were much smaller (they were regressed and drawing only natural comb). The "new bees" were drawing natural comb but had not been regressed first so probably drawing bigger. Perhaps the same size as the OP. I haven't measured. There was a difference in size between new and old workers and new and old drones. I wouldn't say 30% but it's hard to estimate. When you looked at a big drone and a little worker, there was a huge difference.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,505

    Default Re: Different size bees in one hive?

    I have one hive with almost all the same size bees, and another where there have always been a significant number of bees noticeably smaller than the rest. Can't be anything but genetics since they have had about the same proportion of the different sizes all year.

    Nothing wrong with them, this is the large swarm that drew out and filled four full deeps in three days....

    Peter

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,384

    Default Re: Different size bees in one hive?

    The difference in VOLUME as opposed to diameter is that a 5.4mm cell has 150% of the volume of a 4.8mm cell.

    Also, with natural sized bees, more so than artificially enlarged bees, a receiver or forager is larger than a nurse bee which is larger than a newly emerged bee. This observation was first made by Huber when he observed two kinds of bees making comb. The wax makers, which were noticeably larger, and the wax workers which were noticeably smaller.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Long Beach, Ca
    Posts
    66

    Default Re: Different size bees in one hive?

    Hadn't considered the cell volume. Thanks for the information sir!
    Last edited by honeyman46408; 11-15-2012 at 01:57 AM. Reason: UNQuote

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