New to bees
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Thread: New to bees

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Location
    Petoskey, MI
    Posts
    6

    Default New to bees

    Iím just getting into bees and am trying to get as much knowledge as I can from books and this forum. I am planning on starting with 2 hives containing 2 deeps each because of my location in northern Michigan and eventually getting 1 super each depending on the flow. The dilemma I am in is that I want to use small cell foundations and cannot find a company that sells the kits with the small cells. I do not want to have to purchase another set of frames and foundations and trash the ones that comes with the kits. If anyone has any opinion on this subject I am willing to learn. Thank.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Milford, Michigan USA
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    302

    Default Re: New to bees

    Mann Lake has small cell foundation and small cell frames as well.

    Also as I mentioned in your other post, use the search feature, if you type in small cell you will get several pages of posts that discuss small cell.
    Last edited by MichiganMike; 01-13-2018 at 06:50 PM. Reason: Add comment

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Location
    Petoskey, MI
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: New to bees

    Thanks for the info. I did read somewhere that man lake makes the PF-120 and PF-100 plastic 4.9 frames I just forgot about it. In other posts what I have read was people have put packages in with the 4.9 plastic PF-100 with no problem. What is your theory on the 4.9 vs the standard cell? I have heard of several people using the small instead of the standard to keep the mites at bay. Thoughts? Thanks.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Milford, Michigan USA
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    302

    Default Re: New to bees

    Although there may be some small impact on mite pressure with small cell foundation it is my belief that on a long list of things for a new beekeeper to consider small cell would be at the bottom. I must admit however that if you search for my earlest post you will see I had the same thoughts as you before I began the journey and asked the same question. I am pleased to see you are aware of the issue of mites. I do not regret my decision to forgo small cell foundation.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Grand Rapids MI USA
    Posts
    1,521

    Default Re: New to bees

    Mich mike has some good advice. Learn how to keep bees alive on large cell, treat if necessary, get your hive counts up and then start playing with regressing cell size. I followed several beeks on their small cell journeys and it’s not all peaches and cream.
    Rod

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Location
    Petoskey, MI
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: New to bees

    Thanks for all of the advice. If I am starting out with empty hives that I am purchasing from Valley Bee Supply with no frames or foundation and I am going to get the type of frame and foundation that I want which would you suggest since this is a brand new hive not even started yet? is the regression still a problem if they have nothing to compare it to? I understand that if they are already building on large cell and then you regress to small cell it is challenging but I m unsure if it is a new hive. I have read numerous articles about there is no scientific evidence that small cell reduces the mite problem but in my opinion if that what they do in the wild then why mess with it plus you have more brood = more workers. Also whats the opinion on the plastic frames like mann lakes pf-100 4.9 if I were to go that route?

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Nevada, MO
    Posts
    557

    Default Re: New to bees

    The kits aren’t much cheaper. I’d decide what you want and buy by the piece. Tops and bottoms are very easy to make if you want to save money. I don’t like the telescoping tops with inner covers. I have one I don’t use. More things to wax up. More places for beetles to hide.

    Order bees soon. They run out early. Local bees if you can find some.

    Swarm traps are fun.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Location
    Des Moines, Iowa, USA
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: New to bees

    Quote Originally Posted by jspald1 View Post
    Thanks for all of the advice. If I am starting out with empty hives that I am purchasing from Valley Bee Supply with no frames or foundation and I am going to get the type of frame and foundation that I want which would you suggest since this is a brand new hive not even started yet? is the regression still a problem if they have nothing to compare it to? I understand that if they are already building on large cell and then you regress to small cell it is challenging but I m unsure if it is a new hive. I have read numerous articles about there is no scientific evidence that small cell reduces the mite problem but in my opinion if that what they do in the wild then why mess with it plus you have more brood = more workers. Also whats the opinion on the plastic frames like mann lakes pf-100 4.9 if I were to go that route?
    They have been in hives already, they were already building whatever was in the hive they were in. These are not brand new hatched bees that have never seen foundation, they are just new to you. They might be young bees, but they have still been in a hive before.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    Tappahannock Va
    Posts
    131

    Default

    Hello and good luck with your new bees.
    I started out with kits. In my opinion I messed up. I went from 10 frame deeps to eight frame mediums with screened bottom boards in the following year with 4.9mm foundation and foundationless. I also don't care for telescoping covers unless you also want to keep hive beatles and ants.
    Think about box weight when designing your hives too.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
    Location
    Northern Lower Michigan, USA
    Posts
    652

    Default Re: New to bees

    Quote Originally Posted by jspald1 View Post
    Thanks for all of the advice. If I am starting out with empty hives that I am purchasing from Valley Bee Supply with no frames or foundation and I am going to get the type of frame and foundation that I want which would you suggest since this is a brand new hive not even started yet? is the regression still a problem if they have nothing to compare it to? I understand that if they are already building on large cell and then you regress to small cell it is challenging but I m unsure if it is a new hive. I have read numerous articles about there is no scientific evidence that small cell reduces the mite problem but in my opinion if that what they do in the wild then why mess with it plus you have more brood = more workers. Also whats the opinion on the plastic frames like mann lakes pf-100 4.9 if I were to go that route?
    So jspald1, how did it work? what did you end up using and where are you at appx a year later?

    GG

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    53,913

    Default Re: New to bees

    There isn't much in any of the "kits" that I would even buy...

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesoptions.htm
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesnewbees.htm
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  13. #12
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Shreveport, Louisiana, USA
    Posts
    2,547

    Default Re: New to bees

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    There isn't much in any of the "kits" that I would even buy...
    +1
    David Matlock

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    Deep Brook, NS, Canada
    Posts
    603

    Default Re: New to bees

    Quote Originally Posted by jspald1 View Post
    Thanks for all of the advice. If I am starting out with empty hives that I am purchasing from Valley Bee Supply with no frames or foundation and I am going to get the type of frame and foundation that I want which would you suggest since this is a brand new hive not even started yet? is the regression still a problem if they have nothing to compare it to? I understand that if they are already building on large cell and then you regress to small cell it is challenging but I m unsure if it is a new hive. I have read numerous articles about there is no scientific evidence that small cell reduces the mite problem but in my opinion if that what they do in the wild then why mess with it plus you have more brood = more workers. Also whats the opinion on the plastic frames like mann lakes pf-100 4.9 if I were to go that route?
    If you are starting with no drawn comb like a lot of us do, make sure you can feed them with 1:1 sugar syrup. In your area, they have to be well built up before Winter.
    Don't worry about small cell. It doesn't work. make sure you test for Varroa and have an integrated pest management program. Drone trapping is a good way to start but you have to keep at it.
    I would start with wood frames and snap in plastic foundation. It's a lot easier to get the comb to go straight. If you want to go foundationless at some point, checkerboard foundationless frames with drawn comb next year. Most of my foundationless turned into drone comb, so I am going to convert them to drone traps. (BTW, if you go foundationless, they won't build small cells)
    If you are just starting out, buying nucs is a good way to go as you already have some brood and drawn comb.
    Not necessary but recommended that you start with 2 hives so you can compare.
    I want bees that make up for my mistakes.

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    53,913

    Default Re: New to bees

    >Don't worry about small cell. It doesn't work.

    Let's assume for the moment that it doesn't help with Varroa, which is not what i have experienced nor what these studies say:
    http://www.apidologie.org/index.php?.../01/Martin.pdf
    http://funpecrp.com.br/gmr/year2003/..._full_text.htm
    https://www.beesource.com/point-of-vi...per-in-norway/
    http://scientificbeekeeping.com/tria...ll-cell-combs/
    https://beesource.com/point-of-view/...-bee-colonies/
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science...04380001004409
    https://link.springer.com/article/10...5f_z5B1l8IrKLg

    But even if it doesn't help with varroa, you get longer lived bees:
    http://medycynawet.edu.pl/images/sto...1412777780.pdf

    You get more cells for the same size brood nest allowing them to build up more quickly in the spring and more brood in the brood nest.

    Deep frame of 5.4mm foundation 7000 cells
    Deep frame of 4.9mm foundation 8400 cells
    Medium frame of 5.4mm foundation 4620 cells
    Medium frame of 4.9mm foundation 5544 cells

    What is the downside?
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  16. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
    Location
    Northern Lower Michigan, USA
    Posts
    652

    Default Re: New to bees

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    >Don't worry about small cell. It doesn't work.

    Let's assume for the moment that it doesn't help with Varroa, which is not what i have experienced nor what these studies say:
    http://www.apidologie.org/index.php?.../01/Martin.pdf
    http://funpecrp.com.br/gmr/year2003/..._full_text.htm
    https://www.beesource.com/point-of-v...per-in-norway/
    http://scientificbeekeeping.com/tria...ll-cell-combs/
    https://beesource.com/point-of-view/...-bee-colonies/
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science...04380001004409
    https://link.springer.com/article/10...5f_z5B1l8IrKLg

    But even if it doesn't help with varroa, you get longer lived bees:
    http://medycynawet.edu.pl/images/sto...1412777780.pdf

    You get more cells for the same size brood nest allowing them to build up more quickly in the spring and more brood in the brood nest.

    Deep frame of 5.4mm foundation 7000 cells
    Deep frame of 4.9mm foundation 8400 cells
    Medium frame of 5.4mm foundation 4620 cells
    Medium frame of 4.9mm foundation 5544 cells

    What is the downside?
    Hi Michael, What source do you like/use for foundation? I am thinking of converting to 5.1 first then in a year or 2 to 4.9. First step use current comb for honey supers, second step use the 5.1 for honey supers to gain some use from the drawn comb.
    thanks
    GG

  17. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    53,913

    Default Re: New to bees

    The beekeeping supply world is in such a state of change I don't know what's out there anymore. Dadant used to make all of the small cell wax until Kelley started making it. Dadant had an intermediate size (I think it was 5.0 but maybe 5.1mm). i have better luck regressing them on the plastic PF100 (deeps) or PF120 (mediums) one piece foundation/frame from Mann Lake. The bees usually build it the size it's laid out on the first try. If you don't like plastic then you could use the wax or just do foundationless.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

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