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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
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    3,758

    Default Does "Large Cell" Beekeeping work?

    Does "Large Cell" Beekeeping work?
    I have only used sc foundation but if there is proof that LC is better I might be willing to experiment.

    If there's no clear advantage I'll just stick with what I've been doing...
    BeeCurious
    5 hives and 8 nucs................... Trying to think inside the box...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
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    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
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    Default Re: Does "Large Cell" Beekeeping work?


    Just in case meaning of the imagery is unclear, I found it with a search of "Stir the Pot."

    Last edited by Barry; 12-14-2012 at 11:34 PM.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    Alachua County, FL, USA
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    7,108

    Default Re: Does "Large Cell" Beekeeping work?

    LC works for me personally and the research hives. SC experts always attack Tom Seely but he is just one of dozens in several states and countries that found SC ineffective. The better question is how many small cell beekeepers do not use survivor or hygeinic stock, avoid poisoning bees unnecessarily, and do not starve them nutritionally, or stick them on trucks for most of the year as migrant workers.
    americasbeekeeper.com
    beekeeper@americasbeekeeper.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Salem, Oregon
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    1,018

    Default Re: Does "Large Cell" Beekeeping work?

    I will have a 5.5% loss this winter about double of what I normally have.
    All large cell.
    And I did not have to join the beekeeping taliban in order to keep losses low.
    I just DO MY JOB as a beekeeper to the best of my ability every day.
    I have exactly ONE hive more than you.
    That makes my opinion beyond question.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    4,939

    Default Re: Does "Large Cell" Beekeeping work?

    bc, for what it is worth, and after three seasons using mann lake rite cell with a few foundationless mixed in, and zero treatments for mites:

    2010 4 hives, no losses
    2011 10 hives, no losses
    2012 20 hives, 3 losses

    the 2012 losses were one from afb, one from laying workers, and one from mites.

    i attribute the one from mites to a poor queen, made by a weak nuc, that probably didn't mate well.
    i would have tried to save it by requeening if i would have caught it in time.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Suffolk, VA
    Posts
    2,780

    Default Re: Does "Large Cell" Beekeeping work?

    I've been doing LC for over 11 years, basically treatment free. The "basically" qualifier means the first year when I overwintered a single colony I used Apistan because the beginner book I read was all about treating bees and I didn't have enough confidence to "break the rules". That was the first and only time I used "hard" treatments in any of my colonies. I used Sucrocide one season on a few colonies and MAQS (Fall 2011) on only two of my 40 colonies. I've come to the conclusion that these treatments are simply not worth the effort and expense. I saw no advantages from these treated hives relative to those neighboring untreated LC hives. In fact, one of the two hives treated with MAQS was the only one that showed significant number of mites in the drone brood the following spring. BTW, I use the evil 5.4 Mann lake Rite-Cell foundation too. Granted, my locality has pretty mild winters, so I don't want to make my record appear applicable to other regions. I run good hygienic stock (mostly from Glenn), and yes, even some of the V*H that so many seem to hate here on beesource. My colonies are extremely productive, far above most that I encounter in the 3 local clubs that I attend. My colonies all carry SHB, which I also don't manage with no negative impact. BTW, I've had SHB for 11 years. I monitor for varroa through drone brood uncapping and the occasional sticky board. I do split all my production colonies each spring using cut-downs to break the brood cycle just prior to peak honey flow. I make a good number of queens each year to propagate the best of my best.

    So, yes it is doable (at least in my location) without harsh chems and SC. Has the pot been stirred enough yet?
    Last edited by AstroBee; 12-14-2012 at 06:53 PM. Reason: Sorry, I meant Rite-Cell

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Belews Creek, NC, USA
    Posts
    338

    Default Re: Does "Large Cell" Beekeeping work?

    if honey bees naturally form a smaller cell, why is most foundation designed to encourage larger cells? What is the advantage of larger cells?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Kaysville, Utah, USA
    Posts
    392

    Default Re: Does "Large Cell" Beekeeping work?

    Quote Originally Posted by Belewsboy View Post
    if honey bees naturally form a smaller cell, why is most foundation designed to encourage larger cells? What is the advantage of larger cells?
    The way I heard it, larger cells make larger bees, which is supposed to mean more nectar per load, hence increased honey production.
    Don't provoke a hive full of angry bees.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: Does "Large Cell" Beekeeping work?

    Quote Originally Posted by Belewsboy View Post
    if honey bees naturally form a smaller cell, why is most foundation designed to encourage larger cells? What is the advantage of larger cells?
    yeah, there's some history behind it. apparantly the first ones to figure out how to make foundation thought it would be a good idea, and it stuck.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
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    2,812

    Default Re: Does "Large Cell" Beekeeping work?

    I am not so sure of that. I have one of the first foundation mills made, by Mr. Olm of Fond du Lac Wis., and it is not the size of modern foundation. Neither is my great grandfather's mill in the Museum in Cassville, Wis. I can try to find my records.

    Crazy Roland

  11. #11
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: Does "Large Cell" Beekeeping work?

    how cool is that roland. i don't really know the history, but it seems like that info has been posted somewhere on the forum. where's it at rader!?
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    28,286

    Default Re: Does "Large Cell" Beekeeping work?

    Michael Bush and Dean Stiglitz (aka deknow) know this History. Dean has written of it on beesource in the past.
    Mark Berninghausen
    The answers are the end. The questions are the journey. Journey on.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    980

    Default Re: Does "Large Cell" Beekeeping work?

    BeeCurious, I think it depends on what you mean by "Does it work?"

    While one hears isolated reports such as Harry's 5.5% loss last winter, and the exceptionally low loss rate squarepeg enjoys, with the national average loss rate at around 30%, and that almost all on large cell, I'd hardly call that "working".

    I know of no peer reviewed scientific study being published to show that there is any advantage whatever in colony production or survivability due to large cell use.

    Until such evidence exists, I'm playing it safe and sticking to small cell.
    Last edited by Beregondo; 12-15-2012 at 01:24 AM.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
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    Reno, NV
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    3,178

    Default Re: Does "Large Cell" Beekeeping work?

    Does large cell work? Why yes, the larger your cell the more hives you can keep in it.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
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    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
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    Default Re: Does "Large Cell" Beekeeping work?

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    i don't really know the history, but it seems like that info has been posted somewhere on the forum.
    The is an amazing amount of reference material on "brood cell size" available in Point of View section of Beesource. Most of it seems to be under the Ed & Dee Lusby heading, but not necessarliy authored by the Lusbys.

    Here is a quote from one written in 1931.
    About the beginning of the 20th century, several controversies arose which concerned the size of the honeybee and its dependability upon the size of the cell. The first of these concerned the effect of the age of the comb upon the size of its emerging bees. It is unquestionable that this had a great influence in bringing about the large cell controversy in France and Belgium. At about the same time, the problem of enlarging the bees became an important issue here in America and a long discussion concerning length of the honeybee probescis and its relation to pollination and honey production ensued. The following is a discussion of the above three controversies in the order given.
    http://www.beesource.com/point-of-vi...od-comb-cells/


    Once you open the link above, you should see on the left a wealth of other material on this subject. Enough to keep a person occupied for many days.

    Note that in some cases, you have to go back to the links on the left to read the following sections of the same paper. If it looks like some of the document is missing, check the left side for more links.
    Last edited by Rader Sidetrack; 12-15-2012 at 07:00 AM.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  16. #16
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    Jul 2010
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    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    Default Re: Does "Large Cell" Beekeeping work?

    They both work.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  17. #17
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    5,041

    Default Re: Does "Large Cell" Beekeeping work?

    [QUOTE=Beregondo;875489Until such evidence exists, I'm playing it safe and sticking to small cell.[/QUOTE]

    You are attributing higher levels of hive loss to only cell size differences. I used LC used successfully from 1970 -1995 until the mites came. Hives with LC re-used worked fine. In 2006 my bees started dieing from something else. I made SC hives. They die also. I rarely have a SC hive produce as much crop or live longer than a LC hive. If you read the ramblings of the founder of the small cell movement daily, she comes across as a wack job. I would no longer rely on her teachings than I would on that of Jim Jones, founder of the Peoples Temple. Several contributors on this thread are her disciples.

  18. #18
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    moravia,ny
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    1,263

    Default Re: Does "Large Cell" Beekeeping work?

    If conventional cell size did not work there would be no bees in the us. better to be concerned with good beekeeping practices.

  19. #19
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: Does "Large Cell" Beekeeping work?

    i like michael bush's tag line:

    "everything works it you let it"
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    DuPage County, Illinois USA
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    9,658

    Default Re: Does "Large Cell" Beekeeping work?

    As with Roland, I have an old Vandervort comb foundation mill, circa 1880's. The three different directions across ten cells measure: 54mm, 50mm, 50mm. Interesting that they didn't get all three equal.
    Regards, Barry

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