Results 1 to 4 of 4
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    lee county, fl, usa
    Posts
    734

    Default small cell question

    Yesterday a swarm moved into hive boxes I had not meant to be a bait box. It was 2 deeps stacked, with 6 frames, 3 in each, spread out and set on flat bricks over sandy area for fire ants to clean out. It was frames from a failed queen spring split that had wax moth starting and some small hive beetle larvae. I had it outside my patio door since Tuesday afternoon (day I found them gone). No bottom board, lid on to keep rain out.

    A decent size swarm moved into it yesterday, and with the crazy set up of 3 frames in each box I knew they'd make a mess of the lid with building comb. I just came in from putting the 6 frames into one deep, and onto a bottom board, right next to where they moved in. I hate messing with new swarms but had to in this case. I put a pint of syrup in a top feeder, lid with jar of feed on top.

    I put all the drawn frames in the middle and 2 empty frames on the ends. I'm pretty sure all the drawn comb was foundationless, that I pulled foundation frames which I will cut out the middle and start over with new comb.

    I don't know what the cell measurement is on any of those frames in my new swarm box, but I took a piece that they'd already built off the lid, measured 10 cells on metric ruler and they are a bit over 4.5 cm. Will they build 4.5mm on the empty frames I put in? Or if there's some larger cells, does that mess up the whole box?

    I hope I have this in the right forum area. Thanks.
    "Rule Three of beekeeping...Never cease to feel wonder" Laurie R. King--
    March 2010; +/- 30 hives, TF

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    lee county, fl, usa
    Posts
    734

    Default Re: small cell question

    I take it no one knows, so what I will do is when they draw out those frames I will pull one out and measure it.

    Another thing that surprised me a bit about the couple pieces of comb I took out, they were pretty dark, like coffee with milk in it. And tough, not soft and light like new comb usually is.
    "Rule Three of beekeeping...Never cease to feel wonder" Laurie R. King--
    March 2010; +/- 30 hives, TF

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Morro Bay, California, USA
    Posts
    487

    Default Re: small cell question

    My experience with wild swarms is that they build a vast variety of cell sizes. The brood area is usually near 5mm, the outer edges of the brood frames (the crown sides) are up to 5.5, and the area of honey storage (typically in a super, as the swarms won't store honey until they are very well established) can have giant cells.up to 8mm. The imperative to make brood comb for the young swarm means the first drawn comb is in the typical range. The honey storage phase on an added super has an imperative for rapid storage of surplus and the bees economize on wax by making the cells large.

    I have requeened splits this year that I feed. (The California drought meant this was a new step for me, typical splits fatten on Toyon). The queen moved toward the frame feeder in a super (the center of gravity on the hive migrates toward the resource). The split bees made cells on the super for storage of the syrup, and I generated a couple of frames of perfect drone brood when the queen laid into the honey-purposed foundationless comb. A lesson for me-- If you are going to feed a nuc in the brood buildout phase, take steps to ensure the queen doesn't end up on comb that the bees have purposed for honey. I corrected the situation by moving comb around and the next cohort of brood was a worker frame.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,419

    Default Re: small cell question

    >I don't know what the cell measurement is on any of those frames in my new swarm box, but I took a piece that they'd already built off the lid, measured 10 cells on metric ruler and they are a bit over 4.5 cm. Will they build 4.5mm on the empty frames I put in? Or if there's some larger cells, does that mess up the whole box?

    They have shown a propensity for 4.5mm cells and that's promising, but they build cell sizes according to their planned use. For the core of the brood nest they tend to build the smallest, and the first combs they drawn tend to be for that purpose.

    I would let them build and see what they do.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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