I have a mixture of natural comb and small cell. About half and half. I see the same with both.
Its been a long time since we spoke. private message me for clarification. I noticed the seasonal changes in my TBH hives in Bavaria. No foundation whatsoever I DID measure it using the standards outlined by Mike here. I had cell sizes in the worker brood anywhere from 4.2 up to 5.1 and in the drone brood 6.0 to 6.3. The ONLY facts I did prove to myself was my hives with NO foundation did better and overwintered better than any beek around me using foundation ( every other household in Bavaria has hives so there are tons to compare to) and they were using OA. The other fact was that I could not read the collective minds of the bees in my hives so I let them build their own environment and adjusted my methods rather than try to force them to adjust to mine Remember this (foundation) was the biggest mistake Langstroth made and it is still continues in the name of profit today. Cell size MATTERS to the bees for reasons that today still escape us, but then what we know about Mother Nature is only enough to scratch the surface.
Not to proud to learn from the bees!!!!!
I think you mean "anecdotal", this post is anecdotal meaning it is what I observed but have not proven.Mark would say it's antidotal evidence but I would argue 99.9% of all knowledge is.
My bees are smaller today than they were 8 years ago. I attribute this to using small cell which seems to favor bees that develop in fewer days and are adapted to growing in the smaller cells. I would estimate the size difference is about 10%.
When I did the bee tree cutout a couple of weeks ago, I measured the comb at 4.95 to 5.1. These bees were from a swarm out of my colonies a few years ago. The queen was noticeably smaller with more tapered abdomen than queens I purchased 30 years ago.
NW Alabama, 47 years, 22 colonies and growing, sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 14 frame square Dadant broodnest
I saw regression in progress, if you want to see it too shake a hive (foundationless) each spring let your queens breed with local mongrels the ones surviving year after year in the wild or raise your own. measure the cell sizes throughout the colony and watch its amazing and fun!!!! Remember changes in Nature don't come overnight ....if your lucky!!!!!!
Listen to the bees, read them, they have a ton to teach and just have fun!!!!!!
The size difference, according to Baudoux is that the large cell bee is 157% the size of a small cell bee. This is in volume, not length. That is consistent with my observations though I have not attempted to measure it.
When you increase the cell diameter from what Baudoux thought was natural (4.7mm) to what he thought was optimum (5.555mm) the bees also increase the depth from 20.20mm to 22.60mm thus the VOLUME of the cell increases by approximately 160% from 192 cubic mm to 301 cubic mm (157%).
Regardless of the technical measurements which can still be summed up as Large and Small. The theory still remains the same. Bigger cells more room/time for mites to breed more offspring. Explains the preference for drone brood. Cell size directly affects the mite load. High mite loads kill a colony. Colonies can withstand mites below the threshold. At least that was the basis for the Lusby's rush to produce small cell foundation and it was working GREAT in AZ.( give some credit to hygienic/aggressive Africanized bees). This we all know to be true.
Carry the small cell theory to the end and you will find foundationless colonies.
What does it hurt to try something that requires no expense and is a manipulation that's rather easy. That answer is easy....hobby beeks cannot look at a hive and not do one of several things.
1. open it, mess with it.
2. stare at it....some may even get a lawn chair and a beer or two.
3. see something that needs to be modified and run to the wood shop.
I was more mesmerized by a hive than I was by the TV, says my wife!!!
Work smarter not harder.