Large cell small cell how are they made?
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  1. #1
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    Default Large cell small cell how are they made?

    I have heard say that the bees use their physical size to make a cell but is a cell made just by one bee or is it a joint effort?
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Large cell small cell how are they made?

    Kind of, yes. If you do a lot of observation (which some folks say commercial beekeepers don't do but they are wrong LOL) , you will see a bee run it's own little project, and a section of comb just a few cells in size. they obviously have to coordinate with other bees I'm just not sure how they do that.

    Something I'd be interested in but don't know, is how queen cells are looked after. Is there a small team of bees that just look after one cell, or do all bees look after all cells? Just, you can get a good bar of cells but there are a couple of poor ones on it. Is that because the bees on that cell were undermanned, or what?
    "Thinking Inside The Box"

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Large cell small cell how are they made?

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    Something I'd be interested in but don't know, is how queen cells are looked after. Is there a small team of bees that just look after one cell, or do all bees look after all cells? Just, you can get a good bar of cells but there are a couple of poor ones on it. Is that because the bees on that cell were undermanned, or what?
    Interesting question and something I ask myself a lot during cell season. I have always assumed that to be a sign of a shortage of overall bee power with smaller ones on the ends most likely having been chilled and candidates for culling. Bees just seem to know its a job that needs done. We often brush eyes off new grafts and transfer them to a queenright finisher with a queen excluded below and they finish them just fine. Go figure. It seems to me the hallmark of a really good builder is consistency, save that occassional blank that I assume to have been grafting error.
    Sorry for getting off topic Brian.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Large cell small cell how are they made?

    >is a cell made just by one bee or is it a joint effort?

    For details see Huber's New Observations On Bees.

    It is a joint effort. One bee goes up to the work area, pulls off a scale, masticates it with some saliva and adds it to the lump being worked and leaves. Some other bee starts shaping it and after a while wanders off. Some other bee adds another piece of wax and so on. Bees are working on both sides and communicating both by moving back and forth from one side to the other and by pushing on the thin bottoms of the cells from both sides at once (one bee on each side) while shaping and shaving it down to .05mm or less in thickness. If the other bee was not on the other side the wall would break where they are working (and on occasion this occurs). The whole process goes through several stages starting with the hard wax flake, which is turned into a soft putty like consistency with their saliva, then shaped, then painted with some other secreation from their mouth which makes it tough and yellow, then the foundations are torn down (where they attach to the top bar) and the wax is mixed with propolis and that is rebuilt with a mixture of popolis and wax. The verticies of the cells are all reinforced with strings of propolis laid in the corners. The mouths are all reinforced by making them thicker at the edges. It takes up several chapters in Volume II of Huber's book.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  6. #5

    Default Re: Large cell small cell how are they made?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    For details see Huber's New Observations On Bees.
    An amazing man that Huber!
    Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Large cell small cell how are they made?

    I've seen production periods where sheets of foundation is drawn out within days, those sheets are flawless and perfectly formed.
    Other times of the year the foundation is drawn out un even and Mis figured ( to a beekeeper anyway )
    I always figure it's to do with resources available but also groups of bees making the comb. Huge groups working all at once it seems during production periods and small independent groups doing their own thing making in uniform comb

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Large cell small cell how are they made?

    Makes me kind of wonder who the foreman and designer is. Is the size of the cell being influenced by the one next to it or is it a requirement of the colony? Mike, thanks for reading Huber for me.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Large cell small cell how are they made?

    >Makes me kind of wonder who the foreman and designer is.

    The colony.

    >Is the size of the cell being influenced by the one next to it

    To some degree bees tend to pick up where the last bee left off. But there are transitions from worker to drone often enough I think, to prove that they will build what they think they need regardless of what the cell next to it is, but they build in sections often enough to prove that they do somewhat, build what is next to it...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Large cell small cell how are they made?

    For those that would like to actually read Huber's New Observations On Bees for themselves, Volume I is available for free online at a variety of sources. Here is one of those made available by Michael Bush:
    http://www.bushfarms.com/huber.htm

    A printed version of a combination of Volume I and Volume II is $49 and is also available at that link.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Large cell small cell how are they made?

    if you want to regress to small cell, and your bees were not in small cell, how do you get them to regress to small cell?. I am going to start adding foundationless frames this year in the hopes of them regressing to small cell. any thoughts?

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Large cell small cell how are they made?

    >if you want to regress to small cell, and your bees were not in small cell, how do you get them to regress to small cell?. I am going to start adding foundationless frames this year in the hopes of them regressing to small cell. any thoughts?

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesnaturalcell.htm
    Typically I see 5.1mm on the first regression, but I’ve seen package bees build as small as 4.7mm on the first try. I’m not sure of all the factors involved, but one is the size of the comb the bee was raised on (Pierco is about 5.2mm while standard foundation is about 5.4mm) and some of it is probably genetic. Some bees will go quickly (2nd regression) down to 4.6mm or smaller. I’m only worried about the core of the broodnest being 4.9mm or smaller. The rest doesn’t seem to matter much. I think a lot of those measurements quoted are averaging everything. Some of the edges of the brood nest can be pretty large. The core is usually much smaller.

    >For those that would like to actually read Huber's New Observations On Bees for themselves, Volume I is available ...

    Unfortunately all the chapters on wax and comb are in Volume II. But Volume I is very enlightening on what happens when they swarm etc.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Large cell small cell how are they made?

    I am having trouble finding a source of small cell or natural cell bees in, or near, Ohio. When I restart my bee yard in the Spring (I recently moved here and did not bring the bees), If I can't find a source would my fastest path to the natural cell size be to buy packages and install them in foundationless frames vs. buying nucs that are most likely using 5.4 foundation?
    Thanks,
    Will

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Large cell small cell how are they made?

    Quote Originally Posted by beemandan View Post
    An amazing man that Huber!
    Not to mention the man w/ the eyes that saw what was described.

    Bee saliva? Of what does that consist?
    Mark Berninghausen

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Large cell small cell how are they made?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    >Makes me kind of wonder who the foreman and designer is.

    The colony.

    >Is the size of the cell being influenced by the one next to it

    To some degree bees tend to pick up where the last bee left off. But there are transitions from worker to drone often enough I think, to prove that they will build what they think they need regardless of what the cell next to it is, but they build in sections often enough to prove that they do somewhat, build what is next to it...
    What would we know were we able to tap into that hive mind?
    Mark Berninghausen

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Large cell small cell how are they made?

    Quote Originally Posted by Will O'Brien View Post
    I am having trouble finding a source of small cell or natural cell bees in, or near, Ohio. When I restart my bee yard in the Spring (I recently moved here and did not bring the bees), If I can't find a source would my fastest path to the natural cell size be to buy packages and install them in foundationless frames vs. buying nucs that are most likely using 5.4 foundation?
    Neither.

    Fastest route is get a package of bees and put them on small cell plastic comb. Dee Lusby recommends a queen excluder under the hive for 2 weeks so the queen cannot escape till they've accepted the new size.

    Alternatively someone may sell you some drawn small cell combs to put the bees on, I sell them, so presumably others do also.
    "Thinking Inside The Box"

  17. #16
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    Default Re: Large cell small cell how are they made?

    Quote Originally Posted by Acebird View Post
    Makes me kind of wonder who the foreman and designer is. Is the size of the cell being influenced by the one next to it or is it a requirement of the colony? Mike, thanks for reading Huber for me.
    IMOH
    Maybe we all can learn a little bit by watching this video especially at 42:00 to 45:00 or so

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nznzp...ature=youtu.be




    BEE HAPPY Jim 134
    Franklin County Beekeepers Association MA.
    http://www.franklinmabeekeepers.org/

  18. #17
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    Default Re: Large cell small cell how are they made?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim 134 View Post
    Maybe we all can learn a little bit by watching this video especially at 42:00 to 45:00 or so
    I think you are implying that the size of the cell is a requirement of the colony but I am not sure.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  19. #18
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    Default Re: Large cell small cell how are they made?

    Why not Just put in small cell foundation ???
    More like all worker cells and straight comb in the frames you must remember foundationless and small cell are not one of the same.


    BEE HAPPY Jim 134
    Franklin County Beekeepers Association MA.
    http://www.franklinmabeekeepers.org/

  20. #19
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    Default Re: Large cell small cell how are they made?

    If it is too drastic a change will they book?
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  21. #20
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    Default Re: Large cell small cell how are they made?

    The quickest and simplest way to get them to about 4.9mm is some PF100 (deeps) or PF120s (mediums) from Mann Lake. The bees draw them well at the size they are (4.94mm or so) and in one turnover of brood you'll have small bees. After that you can do the rest with foundationless.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

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