Results 1 to 8 of 8
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Tsawwassen, BC, Canada
    Posts
    239

    Question Questions on...going to small cell and going to 8 frame mediums

    Hello all, new beek asking typical new beek questions, and appreciative of advice.

    I am making notes and plans for my 2013 season, in which I want to expand from 1 hive to 10. I have set up beeyard agreements with some local landowners and now have some non-urban space to expand into. This includes a nice empty field in a largely organic area, behind a barn, surrounded by walls of blackberries, where I can put nucs and have a queen mating yard (there are spots nearby to put drone mother hives as well).

    But I am not sure how to go about:

    1. Going to small cell. I do not have drawn comb, by and large, to put the new bees on. How do I set up the new hives...can I just dump the new packages into hives with small cell foundation? Should I use plastic small cell foundation and then over the summer put in empty/foundationless frames between the drawn small cell plastic foundation frames? Advice needed. Package bees here are Arataki from New Zealand, which come in March and I plan to split and queen splits with local queens from mutt/reputed resistant lines when they are available in June. Depending on survival rates, it could take me 2-3 years to go 100% to my own locally bred queens.

    2. What to use for nucs. Most commercially available ones are for large frames, not medium. Would it be better &/or easier to use a medium hive body with follower boards to keep the new split in a manageably small space until it expands and the follower boards can be switched out for empty frames? Would you use one medium for a split or stack two? Or just make or buy medium sized nuc boxes?

    Thankyou all,
    Janet

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

    Default Re: Questions on...going to small cell and going to 8 frame mediums

    I've tried foundationless frames, Dadant small cell foundation, and Mann Lake PF100 series plastic frames in going to small cell.

    My bees had been continuously occupying a wall stud space for several years, and most of them were already small.

    I found foundationless frustrating as the wild comb I had transferred was wavy, and w/o foundation, the bees drew wavy comb next to it to maintain bee space. This resulted in a fair amount of rolling when pulling frames.
    Also if you hives are not level, the comb will slant toward the outside edge of the bottom bar of the frame...and sometimes miss the bottom bar entirely. which again resulted in some rolling.

    Plastic the bees were not eager to draw out. They waited until they absolutely had to draw more comb (whether I sprayed w/ sugar syrup or not). That set brood production back more than you can afford if you are going to get a tenfold increase.

    They drew out the Dadant wax small cell foundation quite readily, and there were no regression issues.
    (Again, most of my bees were already small.) The downside is the foundation is made from run of the mill wax (read: contains treatment residues). That may or my not be of concern to you depending on your philosophy.

    I alternated dadant fndn and frameless year one so that there was a nice guide for the foundationless, and rotated the foundation out year two to minimize contamination.
    If you do this I recommend waiting to put the foundationless frames in until the foundation is well on its way to being fully drawn. Otherwise some of the foundationless may be drawn too fat to allow full comb depth on the foundation.
    (They usually prefer to draw the foundationless first, and honey comb tends to be wider than brood comb when there is room to make it fat.)

    I think you are wise to use mostly full width boxes and a follower board if you are not going into queen/nuc production.
    I also think it wise to keep a number of nucs equal to 1/4 to 1/2 of the number of colonies you want to maintain.
    That way there is always a new queen available for a queenless hive, winter losses are easily restored, and if you need a frame of brood to solve a problem, one is always at hand.

    And if you find you don't need so many, sell the excess ones and buy a nice extractor with the profit.
    Last edited by Beregondo; 11-25-2012 at 02:26 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    965

    Default Re: Questions on...going to small cell and going to 8 frame mediums

    PS...am interested to follow your progress. I am a Washington native soon to return to the Wet Side of the mountains there.

    I never kept bees in the PNW, only in New York.
    I was amazed to discover that the amount of winter stores needed there is about the same as we need in our -25C winters here.
    Evidently with the bees warm enough to be active, and not getting a lot of flying days, they stay home and eat a lot.

    So I am interested in the time and nature of the necatar/pollen flows as well as annual rhythm of management activity in the region.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    5,825

    Default Re: Questions on...going to small cell and going to 8 frame mediums

    The Arataki bees are raised in large cells, 5.5mm. They will not take to drawing small cells easily, in fact it will be a mission. I'd recommend plastic foundation just purely because cells not built how you want can be scraped off & you get the bees to do it again. However what Beregondo says about plastic is true, bees don't like it initially. To get them to work it you need a flow, or feed them sugar.

    You talk about 2-3 years to get your own locally bred queens? What do you mean, brought in local stock, or bred from your Arataki stock? Arataki bees are awesome bees, but if you are wanting to be treatment free I'd recommend buying in some queens that are claimed to be varroa tolerant.

    Just because bees are local, may or may not mean much. better do some web surfing and find a source of varroa resistant queens, requeen some but not all of the hives, and then start breeding from there. A mix of Arataki with some other bees will likely result in some excellent bees.

    Monitor varroa though, don't use the "eyeball method", doesn't work use a proper method like an alchohol wash.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Pierce/Thurson County, Wa
    Posts
    186

    Default Re: Questions on...going to small cell and going to 8 frame mediums

    As for the local/mutt bees, I assume she is talking about http://www.wildernessbees.com/
    I think for the 2-3 years for local queens, I think she means queens that she has made.

    I was reading somewhere that the further north you are, the larger your bees. I would love to find the source of this information and research it further. I am only slightly south of WW, and I had some bees from foundationless frames that would not fit through the entrance reducer, so I had to flip it over and scoot it out so they could enter and exit. If you have large cell bees, they will not fit in the small cells, so they will not be able to feed the hatching brood. I would suggest getting them some foundation that is the same size as they are, and then moving to foundationless, so they can make the cells the proper size (genetically) for them and not what was forced upon them.
    If you think anything organic is good for you, go drink some organic solvents.
    geek, learning how to be a beek

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Myrtle Beach, SC, USA
    Posts
    874

    Default Re: Questions on...going to small cell and going to 8 frame mediums

    seyc you can find the info you are looking for right here, search Ed and Dee Lusby.
    https://www.facebook.com/stevesbees99
    Please visit my page, Thanks

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts
    54

    Default Re: Questions on...going to small cell and going to 8 frame mediums

    Hi Janet,
    Highly recommend these 2 sites:

    http://www.bushfarms.com/bees.htm

    http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/Organicbeekeepers/

    Donna
    Nova Scotia

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Tsawwassen, BC, Canada
    Posts
    239

    Default Re: Questions on...going to small cell and going to 8 frame mediums

    Let me see...I meant it will take me a few years to breed up any kind of queens for myself, all that is available early season is Arataki, but in Canada I can find locally bred, "trying to select for resistance" bees, also Buckfast queens from Ferguson Apiaries in Ontario (queens ship in June). My sense is that here in Canada people are trying in scattered and largely uncoordinated ways to select for resistant bees, in an effort to go to treatment free bees. There is one larger, more focused program set to run next season I think and I am interested in what they come up with.

    I guess I am thinking the bees if left to draw foundationless will gradually reduce their cell size? And yes, the interest in small cell/foundationless was to help combat Varroa. I obviously have a lot of reading and listening to do!

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Ads