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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Madisonville,TN
    Posts
    487

    Default So...are we all done with small cell craze?

    Seems like all I heard for several years was that small cell was going to be one of the answers to varroa. Now in the last year or so, not much is being said. Has small cell gone the way of Apistan and screen bottom boards? I am still trying to get to small cell, or am I wasting my time?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Cullman, Alabama, USA
    Posts
    1,089

    Default Re: So...are we all done with small cell craze?

    I still have a few screen bottom boards, I let the bees make whatever size cell they want
    Started summer of 2013, just another new guy, tinkering with bees.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Keosauqua, IA, USA
    Posts
    236

    Default Re: So...are we all done with small cell craze?

    Some people still use it I'm sure. But, I just want to add screened bottom boards have helped me out a lot in a pinch. Adding a sticky board when I don't have time for an alcohol wash is very handy. Not to hijack this thread.
    "In all honesty, I don't think any of us know what were doing. Just what we've done."

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    Rib Lake WI
    Posts
    1,115

    Default Re: So...are we all done with small cell craze?

    It all depends on the bees you have. I've got some that make beautiful small cell comb.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Hamilton, Alabama
    Posts
    2,586

    Default Re: So...are we all done with small cell craze?

    I'm of the opinion it is still useful but not for preventing varroa. I wrote up something about it a week ago that is worth reading. It is in this thread about half way down the page. http://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?333873
    NW Alabama, 47 years, 22 colonies and growing, sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 14 frame square Dadant broodnest

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Madisonville,TN
    Posts
    487

    Default Re: So...are we all done with small cell craze?

    Maybe bad example with the screened bottom board, but my point is that when it came out, it was the answer to varroa. Now we know different. Is that the same with small cell? It was touted as the answer to varroa, now I am not sure.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    Penobscot County, ME, USA
    Posts
    1,111

    Default Re: So...are we all done with small cell craze?

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt903 View Post
    Maybe bad example with the screened bottom board, but my point is that when it came out, it was the answer to varroa. Now we know different. Is that the same with small cell? It was touted as the answer to varroa, now I am not sure.
    Some studies have conflicting information...

    C. Effect of Cell Size

    Partly because mites reproduce better in drone brood than worker brood, people tend to think that smaller cells would decrease mite reproduction. However two recent studies show that there was either no difference in mite population between colonies (Ellis et al., 2009) using “small cells” (4.8 to 4.9 mm diameter) and regular foundations (5.2-5.4 mm), or small cells actually had a significantly higher mite population (Berry et al., 2010). Unfortunately, neither of these recent studies determined the fecundity or fertility of mites in the two types of cells.

    Earlier studies were conflicting. Taylor et al. (2007) found that “foundation” cell size did not affect the reproductive success of V. destructor, but more mites invaded cells drawn from the 4.8mm foundation . However, Piccirillo and De Jong (2003) and Maggi et al. (2010) found that mite invasion rate increased positively, and linearly, with the width of worker and drone brood cells, probably because brood that develops in large cells receive more visits from nurses, increasing the invasion chance. Maggi et al. (2010) also found that the percentage of fertile mites was lower in smaller cells. An earlier study (Message and Goncalves, 1995) showed in Africanized bees, larger cells had a higher invasion rate, and also had higher effective fecundity in mites.

    Our own study suggests that cells that are too large also reduce mite reproduction (Zhou et al., 2001). In a study trying to determine the mechanisms of why varroa mites do not reproduce on worker brood of A. cerana, we accidentally discovered that in both A. cerana and A. mellifera queens laid worker eggs in drone cells in the fall. We took advantage of this, and compared the reproductive output of mites on two hosts: workers reared in worker-cells (WW) or workers reared in drone-cells (WD). In 2001, both the fertility and fecundity of the two groups were significantly different (Fig. 4). It is not clear why mites would reproduce less on identical hosts that were housed in larger cells. One possibility is that workers reared in drone cells are fed a different diet by nurses (One study showed workers reared in drone cells were heavier and had more ovaries, suggesting a different diet or more nutrition). A second possibility is that workers spin larger cocoons in drone cells, and mites detect the extra space, and this affects their reproduction.
    http://articles.extension.org/pages/...uctive-biology
    If you want to be successful, study successful people and do what they do.
    Zone 4a/b

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    KC, MO, USA
    Posts
    3,875

    Default Re: So...are we all done with small cell craze?

    I am migrating away from SBBs. There are the best defense against SHB, and for some in the south may be the only way to keep bees.

    But will always use small/natural cell, for many reasons;

    Foundationless frames; saves a dollar per frames.

    Wild bees/swarms are small/natural size cells. Easier to keep them natural sized cell than to continually change them every time I catch a new swarm.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fusion_power View Post
    I'm of the opinion it is still useful but not for preventing varroa. I wrote up something about it a week ago that is worth reading. It is in this thread about half way down the page. http://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?333873
    Good post!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    6,873

    Default Re: So...are we all done with small cell craze?

    I like having extra thousands of cell in the heart of the broodnest as I think it helps the bees more rapidly expand in my cold climate. Sbb's make me giggle they are so silly. They harm the bees efforts to control their broodnest temperature and are probably as useless in mite control as the 4.9 mm cells are. But the 4.9 serves a purpose while sbbs do not.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Cincinnati, OH
    Posts
    107

    Default Re: So...are we all done with small cell craze?

    I use Screened BB for SHB control. mine are screens on top of a Solid bottom, with a door/hatch on the back. Ventilation is the same as a solid board, with the added benefit of SHB control, and sticky board monitoring, and a convenient place to use the OAV wand.

    I use mostly foundationless and let the bees decide cell size. Small cell may help with Varoaa, but it doesn't cure it. Why did most of the wild small cell hives die?
    5 years in, still feel new.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    lafargeville ny usa
    Posts
    2,191

    Default Re: So...are we all done with small cell craze?

    there is no sound study that i have seen that shows any evidence of a small cell size advantage.... somehow the myth persists... the one that i get a kick out of is "small-cell natural". if that is what you really want go for it.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    Bedford County, PA USA
    Posts
    228

    Default Re: So...are we all done with small cell craze?

    I use foundationless for brood. Let's them do it their way.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    creek county oklahoma
    Posts
    141

    Default Re: So...are we all done with small cell craze?

    I still use small cell. Just ordered another couple of boxes from Dadant. Maybe I just got lucky with genetics. I have a Velbert Williams Russian/VSH line that has been requeening itself and thriving since 2009, and the rest are Russian descendants also.

    I use foundationless in colonies where I want to make plenty of drones for mating. They do draw a lot of drone comb when given the chance.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Massillon, Ohio
    Posts
    5,134

    Default Re: So...are we all done with small cell craze?

    Quote Originally Posted by pgayle View Post
    I still use small cell. ....Maybe I just got lucky with genetics.
    I'm in no position to tout or deny small cell effectiveness relative to mite control. My personal "opinion" is that it might be one necessary piece of the puzzle for some who are able to go TF.

    I think it's very possible that a combination of small cell, good genetics, proper nutrition, good beekeeping practices, and other factors, could all add up to successful TF beekeeping.

    In pgayle's example above, if just one piece was removed the whole structure might collapse. If the genetics were diluted, or if small cell were removed from the picture ... losing one factor could be enough to lead to failure.

    I think it was a "craze" because too many were erroneously led to believe it was the single magic bullet to solve the mite problem.

    I have a fair amount of small cell frames and I like it for the fact that more brood cells are produced per frame and it allows for a more compacted brood nest in general. I figured out a while back that small cell alone was not the answer to my mite problem. There are other factors outside of my control in this area that will not allow me to be TF successfully.
    To everything there is a season....

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Oshawa, Ontario
    Posts
    225

    Default Re: So...are we all done with small cell craze?

    I mix small cell and foundationless frames, I also use FGMO and grease patties, nothing else.
    I use a mix of screened and solid bottom boards all year round.
    My bees thrive.
    It bugs me when people get on here and proclaim that they have found THE solution.
    When I read further, I often find out that I am dead wrong and my bees don't stand a chance.
    I don't tell my bees though, so they blissfully thrive in ignorance.
    I'm not going to argue or debate what I do, or what anyone else does because it isn't that important to me.
    As Heinlein said "Never try to teach a pig to sing. You waste your time and annoy the pig."
    No disrespect intended.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Big Stone Gap, VA
    Posts
    1,261

    Default Re: So...are we all done with small cell craze?

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt903 View Post
    Seems like all I heard for several years was that small cell was going to be one of the answers to varroa. Now in the last year or so, not much is being said. Has small cell gone the way of Apistan and screen bottom boards? I am still trying to get to small cell, or am I wasting my time?
    Not sure about "small cell". But I let my bees make whatever size they want. I got started on foundationless combs by accident. While picking up a nuc, I put in an empty frame. Forgot about that frame. When I checked that hive sometime later, the bees had pulled out nice comb on their own. Why pay $40 a hive for foundation when the bees would rather pull their own?

    On a side note, I have no idea whether small cell bees are healthier or not.

    Shane

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    8,319

    Default Re: So...are we all done with small cell craze?

    Although small cell was a total failure at controlling mites when I used it, got to say that pretty much all the studies dubunking small cell are floored in some way. I'll concede that to the pro small cell guys.
    "Thinking Inside The Box"

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Kamloops, BC, Canada
    Posts
    989

    Default Re: So...are we all done with small cell craze?

    When I introduced small cell plastic to my natural comb bees, I found they didn't really like to draw it unless they were coated with lots of wax, but also the queen didn't like to lay in it. It was apt to get filled with nectar. They really seem to like using their own comb.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Ft Myers, Fl
    Posts
    11

    Default Re: So...are we all done with small cell craze?

    Hi. My hive that I set up in October used all their own comb, which they love. Now I need to add a super with waxed plastic foundation. From what I've seen, they are hanging on the top of the frames or the bottom of the inner cover. Any ideas on how to get them to take to the waxed foundation? I thought of spraying with sugar water. Any one have any ideas?

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Keosauqua, IA, USA
    Posts
    236

    Default Re: So...are we all done with small cell craze?

    Quote Originally Posted by tropicalbees View Post
    Hi. My hive that I set up in October used all their own comb, which they love. Now I need to add a super with waxed plastic foundation. From what I've seen, they are hanging on the top of the frames or the bottom of the inner cover. Any ideas on how to get them to take to the waxed foundation? I thought of spraying with sugar water. Any one have any ideas?
    Some people take a frame of brood from below and put it in the super. The brood will hatch, and the bees fill it with honey. Just make sure you don't put the queen above the excluder. Also, once the bees pass the excluder once they don't seem to think twice. Good luck!

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