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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    marshall indiana usa
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    34

    Default switching to small cell . How do i do it?

    Hi I have all large cell frames in 10 frame deep at this time . I lost 15 out of 32 hives to mite related problems and want to switch over to 4.9 Mann Lake PF120 frames. I have ordered 30 new packages for 2014 and want to get them on there way to regression when I install them. what would be the best way to go about this ? I want to use the 75 deeps with comb I have for honey suppers or something is this possible ? I have read Michael Bushes book and met him at a IBA meeting a few weeks back but I am a little unclear about how to start new packages to get to the goal of 4.9 comb size and to use the equipment I have . Can I just put them on the pf120 and feed them or do I have to do something else . I do not want to go foundationless at this time but want to get the bees down to small cell size and use my big cell for suppers if I can.

    Thanks Buzzzz

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Clinton County, IN, USA
    Posts
    68

    Default Re: switching to small cell . How do i do it?

    How old were the hives that died out? Did you treat your hives in any way?
    I just started this year and have low mite counts, but I did brood breaks and dribbled the bees with a homemade "honey bee healthy" to keeps mite levels low
    I would think that you need to keep your mites in control before you regress to small cell
    I have thought about small cell, but I think natural comb in the brood chamber would be better, and use up your foundation in the supers.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    marshall indiana usa
    Posts
    34

    Default Re: switching to small cell . How do i do it?

    Quote Originally Posted by LSHonda310 View Post
    How old were the hives that died out? Did you treat your hives in any way?
    I just started this year and have low mite counts, but I did brood breaks and dribbled the bees with a homemade "honey bee healthy" to keeps mite levels low
    I would think that you need to keep your mites in control before you regress to small cell
    I have thought about small cell, but I think natural comb in the brood chamber would be better, and use up your foundation in the supers.
    They was first year hives with 2 deeps brood and 1 supper honey. To me regressing to small cell is a way to help cut down on mites. I was trying to be treatment free. I had a 3 week period in July that I could not get into the hives because I was out of state working and things went south very quick. I plan on using QA treatments this year to treat for mites till I am small cell. I do not want to go natural comb with these deep frames at this time I have a lot of money tied up in equipment and I do not have the cash to switch to 8 frame equipment at this time.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    3,838

    Default Re: switching to small cell . How do i do it?

    I would put the bees directly on to the 4.9mm foundation. That is what I did. You have to scrape off some false starts, in my experience but most colonies fall right into line with the new size after a few brood cycles. I found it also helps to run them thru a table saw and trim them down to 1 1/4 and draw them 11 to a box. Mr. Bush has the eloquent reason for this in print so I see no need to be redundant. It is not hard really. Just be heavily feeding or on a flow when drawing any foundation.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Baker Oregon
    Posts
    2,367

    Default Re: switching to small cell . How do i do it?

    I agree with Vance, put them straight on the plastic and feed. One addition that I have done it to give them a frame of drawn comb to start laying in right away, but than pull it as soon as you can. However it may be more trouble than it is worth.
    Dan Hayden 4 Years. 9 hives. Tx Free. USDA Zone 5b.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    hinesville ga usa
    Posts
    311

    Default Re: switching to small cell . How do i do it?

    I don't know your local conditions, just guessing here from mine and other beekeepers experiences in my local. I know one new beek that lost most of his hive the first couple of years, he swore the fungicide sprayed on nearby crops killed them, ( he is a biologist ) The time of year he lost them and the fact that his bees were found dead in the cells headfirst with their butts sticking out tells me they most likely starved. I am just saying look very hard at the basic reasons your bees died, healthy bees are usually that way from several positive things happening at the same time and unhealthy bees are that way from several negative things happening at the same time. When I started I got some very good advice, start slow and learn as you go. Since it may be too late for that advice to help you, I would suggest you turn to one or two of the best beekeepers you can find, maybe one local and the other someone like Michael Bush. Trying to get advice from a bunch of people at one time may be alright for a small hobbyist, but you need good clear advice fast due to the amount of money you have invested. I hope I don't sound like a know it all, all of us or still learning and none of us knows all the answers. Good Luck.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Jefferson County, WA, USA
    Posts
    132

    Default Re: switching to small cell . How do i do it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Vance G View Post
    I found it also helps to run them thru a table saw and trim them down to 1 1/4 and draw them 11 to a box.
    I second that. I have had much better results getting nicely drawn comb with narrowed frames compared to the few I have left standard width. I'd use the deeps you have for honey supers. Just make sure that you use an excluder

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Gaithersburg, MD
    Posts
    363

    Default Re: switching to small cell . How do i do it?

    If you really want to go treatment free w/ the amount you have invested I'd suggest only doing that w/ half your stock. Even with the small cell you will still have large die offs for a few years if you are not treating in some way--can be thymol or MAQS.

    I know some folks swear by small cell but I haven't seen any published data that suggests it actually reduces mite loads compared to large cell when all other variables are equal. Have seen a few publications finding no difference, however.

    Ignoring them for three weeks in July will not cause mite loads to increase more unless you would have treated otherwise. However, if there was a dearth then they could have eaten through their stores causing them to be light in the fall. If they were all first year hives then most likely something else is going on--or they came from infested stock.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    3,838

    Default Re: switching to small cell . How do i do it?

    I don't see the small cell as an instant panacea however, worker brood does emerge a day earlier than 5.4 and that just has to knock down the number of mites mature enough to leave the cell with the new bee.

    Additionally, those extra 1600 cells on a deep frame have to mean that the colony can cover more brood and build up faster than the 5.4 bees---given comparative genetics!

    Additionally, the pf frames are at least as cheap as one can put together a wooden frame and foundation. If one decides that the experiment is not a success, the frames are instantly interchangeable with any other type after being drawn so nothing is lost. One cannot leave them out in the sun with impunity and some large commercial extractors don't like them, but most of us are not deeply affected by those limitations. I like em and have no difficulties with them.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,423

    Default Re: switching to small cell . How do i do it?

    I would just put them on the PF120s. I have no use for a queen excluder in a honey production hive and so I have no use for large cell comb a queen might lay in. I would dispose of all the large cell comb.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, MO
    Posts
    46

    Default Re: switching to small cell . How do i do it?

    I was told that if that is all you give them, then that is what they will use. I did just that and they took right to it. Be warned however, I discovered that since all they had was small cell they completely glued the frames together between upper and lower boxes with burr comb trying to make drones.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Baker Oregon
    Posts
    2,367

    Default Re: switching to small cell . How do i do it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Duranthas View Post
    I discovered that since all they had was small cell they completely glued the frames together between upper and lower boxes with burr comb trying to make drones.
    Ditto, So I have taken to adding foundationless frames back in once the SC is drawn out. I mostly have the outer 2-3 frames as foundationless frames.
    Dan Hayden 4 Years. 9 hives. Tx Free. USDA Zone 5b.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,423

    Default Re: switching to small cell . How do i do it?

    > Be warned however, I discovered that since all they had was small cell they completely glued the frames together between upper and lower boxes with burr comb trying to make drones.

    They do the same with Pierco. (see a recently revived thread on that subject if you search) and it is not because of the cell size, but the thickness of the top bar.

    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...-and-Burr-Comb
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, MO
    Posts
    46

    Default Re: switching to small cell . How do i do it?

    Funky,because once I had them regressed and started adding foundationless between pf 120 they really calmed down on the burr/brace comb. They didn't completely stop it but the difference was significant. The first few frames of foundationless freaked me out because the cell size was so much bigger that I thought they weren't really regressed but the vast majority of cappings are the puffed out drone variety.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    marshall indiana usa
    Posts
    34

    Default Re: switching to small cell . How do i do it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Vance G View Post
    I would put the bees directly on to the 4.9mm foundation. That is what I did. You have to scrape off some false starts, in my experience but most colonies fall right into line with the new size after a few brood cycles. I found it also helps to run them thru a table saw and trim them down to 1 1/4 and draw them 11 to a box. Mr. Bush has the eloquent reason for this in print so I see no need to be redundant. It is not hard really. Just be heavily feeding or on a flow when drawing any foundation.
    Thanks that's what I want to do but I was not for sure if it was a good way to go about it . This pf120 is plastic frames and foundation ,I am not sure if I can cut it down to 1 1/4.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    marshall indiana usa
    Posts
    34

    Default Re: switching to small cell . How do i do it?

    Quote Originally Posted by stan.vick View Post
    I don't know your local conditions, just guessing here from mine and other beekeepers experiences in my local. I know one new beek that lost most of his hive the first couple of years, he swore the fungicide sprayed on nearby crops killed them, ( he is a biologist ) The time of year he lost them and the fact that his bees were found dead in the cells headfirst with their butts sticking out tells me they most likely starved. I am just saying look very hard at the basic reasons your bees died, healthy bees are usually that way from several positive things happening at the same time and unhealthy bees are that way from several negative things happening at the same time. When I started I got some very good advice, start slow and learn as you go. Since it may be too late for that advice to help you, I would suggest you turn to one or two of the best beekeepers you can find, maybe one local and the other someone like Michael Bush. Trying to get advice from a bunch of people at one time may be alright for a small hobbyist, but you need good clear advice fast due to the amount of money you have invested. I hope I don't sound like a know it all, all of us or still learning and none of us knows all the answers. Good Luck.
    Thank you You know the truth hurts some times, your right I jumped in a little to fast spent a lot of money and now i'm thinking it more of a challenge to keep bees alive than how much honey they can produce. Thank God I pack honey on the side to help pay for my mess ups .

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    3,838

    Default Re: switching to small cell . How do i do it?

    CUTTING DOWN PFxxx FRAMES: I set my tablesaw with a generic carbide blade at 1-1/4" I hold frame in the middle with the top facing blade and push it thru then pivot wrist and do the SAME side of the other end. I put every cut frame in the box with the cut sides matching. I then take a sharpie and draw a vee on each topbar toward the cut and keep that relationship til the frames are fully drawn and basically as long as I am running them 11 to a box. On my supers, I thin them out to 9 or 8 frames per box after they are drawn. Just don't go to sleep and hurt yourself with the saw when trimming the frames. It is so easy an old fat man who has had a couple of strokes and heart failure can do it! Wear eye protection! You only have two!

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    marshall indiana usa
    Posts
    34

    Default Re: switching to small cell . How do i do it?

    thanks I have wondered if 12 of the hives did have some kind of virus they started out as 5 frame nucs I got this spring 6 was on a organic farm and 6 was on a farm that grew produce the 6 on the organic farm done great I was able to take some honey off the first of July, the other 6 never did really take off these was local bees with northern CA. queens. those 12 hives 20 miles apart died the same week. From what I read on cell size I think a 2 day shorter life span on a mite would have to make a big drop in mite counts.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    marshall indiana usa
    Posts
    34

    Default Re: switching to small cell . How do i do it?

    Thanks Thanks for the safety dips because almost a year ago, Dec. 28th I cut the ends of my fingers off on a table saw building bottom boards.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    marshall indiana usa
    Posts
    34

    Default Re: switching to small cell . How do i do it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    I would just put them on the PF120s. I have no use for a queen excluder in a honey production hive and so I have no use for large cell comb a queen might lay in. I would dispose of all the large cell comb.
    Thanks Michael that's what I need to know will it be taking a chance of ruining the regression .

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