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  1. #1

    Default On the natural cell size of European honey bees

    In conclusion, the claim that cells were smaller in the past is not only not supported by the historical records, but rests on a distortion of the historical records resulting from an incorrect transformation of the original data.
    http://www.ibra.org.uk/articles/natu...ze-fatal-error
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  2. #2
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    Default Re: On the natural cell size of European honey bees

    The author, who has obviously done their homework, goes on to say:

    The following conclusions can be drawn from this quest. Firstly, it confirms the reports of Honegger (1937), Stever (2003), Zeissloff (2007) and Heaf (2011) which show beyond any doubt that the honey bee cell sizes reported from natural combs by Swammerdam in the 17th century and most authors during the 18th and 19th centuries were not smaller than those of wax foundation marketed during most of the 20th century.

    The aim of this paper is not to enter into the controversy about the effectiveness of small cells for controlling varroa mites. Nevertheless, its significance within the framework of the small cell approach is worth highlighting. The present study addresses the premise of this theory. It reveals a major misunderstanding which in part led scientists to undertake costly field and experimental studies, as well as encouraging the beekeeping industry to produce and market artificial comb and wax foundation of unusually and in fact "unnatural" small sizes. Added to the fact that most field and experimental studies bring little support to the small cell theory, that cell sizes were not smaller in the past, and that varroa tolerant bees also appeared on several instances on regular cell size combs, the findings of the present study leaves the small cell approach with little supportive evidence.
    Last edited by peterloringborst; 07-09-2014 at 05:30 AM.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: On the natural cell size of European honey bees

    Regardless of the subject matter I have a problem with the author's methodology. The whole premise of the paper is to analyze the work and findings of certain authors. Instead of doing just that the author of the article complains that there are a lot of difficulties in doing that (such as different languages, measurement systems etc.) and relies on the work of yet another group of authors who did conversions before him stating that those people look like good virtuous boys and should be trusted. Not to doubt the good virtuous boys but if you go out of your way to write a paper on the subject that is not really that important to begin with, the least you can do is to base it on the original work of the people you are trying to use to prove your point.
    Last edited by Bee-52; 07-09-2014 at 07:54 AM.

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    Default Re: On the natural cell size of European honey bees

    So all of us thousands of foundationless beekeepers who are measuring 4.4mm to 4.9mm cells in the core of the brood nest are just hallucinating... good to know... and all of those hundreds of references in the old books to five frames per inch were also just hallucinations... as is the "actual size" engraving of cell size in the original Huber book that is 4.7mm... Gald we cleared this up.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  5. #5
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    Default Re: On the natural cell size of European honey bees

    I guess my bees didn't get the memo to build larger cells.
    Peace

  6. #6

    Default Re: On the natural cell size of European honey bees

    Then there are those countless thousands of beekeepers who don't get anything close to 4.9 in their foundationless. And those 150 samples taken from Atlanta area removals, with measurements of their brood comb finding less than 1% smaller than 5.0. What about all of those? Hallucinations?
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

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    Default Re: On the natural cell size of European honey bees

    I don't understand the spleen and excess emotion tied up in this whole cell size question. I fear that researchers on both sides find what they want to when they go looking. My bees have been regressed to Mann Lake PF size frames for several years. When I put in foundationless frames, they produce worker cells from 4.7MM to 5.2MM in the brood nest and I am north of the 48th parallel . Or sometimes frame after frame of drone comb. I do know that so far I have no appreciable mite load two years from the last treatment. I do brood breaks fairly often, I sacrifice some drone brood. I Don't know what is working but this looks like a monster year and I may have to break out my supply of duragilt for extracting supers.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: On the natural cell size of European honey bees

    To be fair, the paper is not about whether bees can build smaller cell, or if they do nowadays or even if there are benefits of smaller cells. The paper about the fact that (or if) historically people reported regular size cells. I personally wouldn't mind Michael or somebody else with the knowledge of the subject comment on the sources mentioned in the paper. It would be also interesting to see actual references to aforementioned Huber and "hundreds of references in the old books". From what I can tell you guys have been breaking spears on the subject for a while now. You would think somebody would've compile a list by now.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: On the natural cell size of European honey bees

    There are many sources with many different results. The majority of the old references I can find run at 5.08mm as normal worker brood. Some are smaller and some are larger, but that is the majority by far. There are probably thousands of old beekeeping books and references written before the 20th century. Typical examples here and recent research that acknowledges that turn of the 19th Century to the 20th they were smaller:

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesnatural...storiccellsize

    The first problem is that cell sizes within a given hive are not consistent. The second problem is that cell sizes between different hives can vary by genetics. The third problem is that cell size varies by latitude and altitude. The fourth problem is how to measure those varying sized cells within the same colony. Divide them all into drone and worker and average all of what isn't drone? Measure the core of the brood nest? Measure across cells? Try to do the old fashioned per sq decimeter method? There are plenty of the old foundation mills from when foundation was first made. But the other problem is that they vary from 4.4mm up to 5.2mm. By far the majority run between 5.0mm and 5.08mm.

    This study: McMullan, J. B., Brown, M. J. F. (2006). The influence of small-cell brood combs on the morphometry of honeybees (Apis mellifera). Apidologie 37: 665-672.
    http://www.apidologie.org/articles/a...049/m6049.html

    Mentions in the abstract: "Until the late 1800s honeybees in Britain and Ireland were raised in brood cells of circa 5.0 mm
    width. By the 1920s this had increased to circa 5.5 mm. We undertook this study to find out if present-day
    honeybees could revert to the cell-size of the 1800s and to evaluate resulting changes in honeybee mor-
    phometry"

    Anyone with access to any of those presses will discover the truth of this statement. Some of those mills, particularly in Italy, were as small as 4.4mm and these are refered to by Baudoux in his research. Baudoux, whose only interest in size was increasing it, was measuring bees from comb as small as 4.7mm, so it appears he thought that was the starting point from which to enlarge them. These mills are physical things from that era that can be measured.

    http://www.beesource.com/files/lusby...ell-size-3.jpg

    Cell width is in the 9th column.

    There are also plenty of historic references here:
    http://www.beesource.com/point-of-vi...-of-cell-size/

    Read them for yourself. They are direct from the bee magazines of the day.

    This has been hashed over many times. It's just a resurrection of it because someone published a document on the topic. Feel free to search beesource and read previous discussions.

    The historic documents are also available on cornell's site:
    bees.library.cornell.edu/

    If you REALLY want the truth about historic documents, I suggest you read them yourself and search them for descriptions of cell size and ignore what everyone today says about them.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  10. #10
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    Default Re: On the natural cell size of European honey bees

    Here is the Huber quote:
    "The diameter of worker cells is 2 2/5 lines (.200 inch or 5.08mm), that of drone cells is 3-1/3 lines (.277 inch 7.06mm); those dimensions are so fairly constant that some authors believed that they might be used as invariable patterns of measurment."--Francis Huber, New Observations upon Bees Volume II Chapter V, page 455 (in the 2012 edition) top of the page
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  11. #11
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    Default Re: On the natural cell size of European honey bees

    I switched to several foundationless hives this year. I was amazed by the difference. Some cells seemed bigger than the foundation while others were considerably smaller. Much less uniform sized comb was the only conclusion I could draw. My subclinical case of OCD doesn't like it, but I figure the bees make better comb than I would, so I will deal with it.

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    Default Re: On the natural cell size of European honey bees

    I really like, "subclinical case of OCD."

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    Default Re: On the natural cell size of European honey bees

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    Here is the Huber quote:

    those dimensions are so fairly constant that some authors believed that they might be used as invariable patterns of measurment.
    Invariable pattern of measurement? This defies what any beekeeper who allows their bees to choose their own cell size can see, and I'm not sure why Huber would have said such a thing.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

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    Default Re: On the natural cell size of European honey bees

    Read it closely....Huber is not suggesting such a thing, he is saying other authors have been saying such things.
    The irony is free. It's the sarcasm you are paying for....ironically.
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    Default Re: On the natural cell size of European honey bees

    Yes well that's kinda what I was pointing at, we were not given full context.

    Context matters when stuff is attributed to people, and stuff can be posted in such a way that a casual reader gets the wrong impression. I've seen this misused many times.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

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    Default Re: On the natural cell size of European honey bees

    >Read it closely....Huber is not suggesting such a thing, he is saying other authors have been saying such things.

    Correct. In fact the entire rest of the chapter is about the differences and anomalies and how the bees resolve them.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  17. #17

    Default Re: On the natural cell size of European honey bees

    Still would love to see all this in real life, means the Michael Bush small cell small bees apiaries videotaped.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: On the natural cell size of European honey bees

    Quote Originally Posted by BernhardHeuvel View Post
    Still would love to see all this in real life, means the Michael Bush small cell small bees apiaries videotaped.
    Michael was recently offering a camp/class at his operation. You could have seen it in person. Maybe sign up for next year. Maybe someone who attended could post videos for us?

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



  19. #19
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    Default Re: On the natural cell size of European honey bees

    >Michael was recently offering a camp/class at his operation.

    I'm actually doing a short one this weekend, Saturday and Sunday, if you can get here by Saturday Morning.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  20. #20

    Default Re: On the natural cell size of European honey bees

    A good opportunity to get your GoPro started. Just give it to someone and there we go.

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