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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My apologies if this has already been posted.
Check study number 15.
http://www.extension.org/pages/Proceedings_of_the_American_Bee_Research_Conference,_2009
Varroa were significantly lower with foundationless but in both cases (foudation and foundationless) above economic thresholds. This occurred in spite of the fact that the foundationless hives had significantly more drone cells. Interesting.
Equally interesting that the average worker cell in the foundationless hives was 5.4mm (natural cells) and the average worker cell size did not get smaller over the three year period.
 

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interesting that the average worker cell in the foundationless hives was 5.4mm (natural cells) and the average worker cell size did not get smaller over the three year period.
Explain why you find this interesting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Explain why you find this interesting.
Barry, there are a number of folks who insist that bees left to draw their own comb, without foundation, will ‘progress to regress’ (my words) and with each succeeding generation draw smaller cells until they reach their natural size. This is claimed, by some, to be smaller than 5mm. In this study the bees failed to show any indication of that progress.
 

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This study suggests that an increased mite reproduction rate in drone cells (Martin 1994 Exp Appl Acarol 18: 87-100) may not increase total Varroa reproduction in drone producing colonies.
This suggests that drone culling is not such a good idea! If we look at the Russian and AHB they also produce a higher % of drone brood. If more mites are in drone brood and the total is the same, less are in worker brood. I would also think that the worker bees would be healthier because of this. Really looks as though the drones are the tonsils of the hive.(Infection gatherers, protecting the rest of the hive)
I've not seen my bees building natural worker brood comb at 5.4mm. They range from 4.9mm to 5.2mm
 

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When you say "each succeeding generation draw smaller cells until they reach their natural size.", do you(they) mean ALL the cells get smaller, or just SOME of the cells? I know from what I've seen with "natural" comb, some of the cells get very small (4.5 mm) while other cells get really big, like in the 7.2 mm range. Obviously some (smaller) cells are used for brood while other cells (large) are used for honey storage.
 

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Varroa were significantly lower with foundationless but in both cases (foudation and foundationless) above economic thresholds.
So this study measures mites. OK, let's agree that in the realm of mite loads, there is no significant difference between the two sizes. Wonder why it is then that I've not seen mite problems with my SC hives?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Obviously some (smaller) cells are used for brood while other cells (large) are used for honey storage.
I don’t think its an unreasonable expectation to believe that the fellows conducting this study knew the difference between worker, drone and honey storage cells. They said worker cells, so I have to believe that’s what they measured. The average in this study…..5.4mm

Wonder why it is then that I've not seen mite problems with my SC hives?
That’s a million dollar question. But, I don’t see what it has to do with this study. In this study they were comparing foundation with natural cell.

The real question, in my opinion, is why, when your bees produce 'natural cell' is it significantly smaller than what the bees in this study produced. This, by the way, is why I originally said it was 'interesting'.

This suggests that drone culling is not such a good idea!
If these results can be duplicated it would surely debunk the premise that the more drone cells, the higher the varroa populations. On the other hand, it would be interesting to see how many drones these colonies produced i.e. are the number of drones produced proportional to the number of cells.
 

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If bees need to be "regressed" to properly produce "small cell", what tells us that foundationless bees are properly producing " natural cell" sizes?

And since the small cell proponents suggest that small cell is different at different latitudes, how do we know what natural cell size is for our area and what percent of cells are what size?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
If bees need to be "regressed" to properly produce "small cell", what tells us that foundationless bees are properly producing " natural cell" sizes?
Actually, it seems like it's the other way around to me. If bee's need to be 'regressed' to produce 'small cell' what tells us that small cell is natural? You see, in my opinion, foundationless is natural and small cell may or may not be, depending on variables that no one seems to understand.
 

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I am wondering what the point is for the need to "average out" cell size on a comb?

Cell size and use of those cells for different purposes on the comb is specific.

Averaging the cell size across the entire comb really accomplishes little to nothing.

in one natural comb, you will find honey stores cells that are a different size from worker brood cells which are a different size from drone brood cells.

Each cell with it's own purpose and size to meet that purpose.

Averaging across comb accomplishes nothing in that light.

Ican see trying to average the worker brood cells in a comb or the stores cells in a comb, but not all cells combined.

just me maybe.

Big Bear
 

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The extract that I read did not make it clear if they continuously (over 2 or 3 years) added foundationless frames into the broodnest, or if they allowed bees to keep all drawn combs. In making splits, how did they add the extra foundationless frames?

Part of regressing bees involves adding frames into the broodnest, rather than adding empty frames outside the broodnest, where bees may draw larger cells used for different purposes, and then later used for brood when the broodnest expands. If you want a comb the bees made specifically for brood rearing, the empty frame needs to be placed into the broodnest.

I am wondering what the point is for the need to "average out" cell size on a comb?

Go measure one cell accurately. You'll understand then. Most cells may be similar sized, but there are size discrepancies. When you measure across 10 cells, those minor size differences are less noticeable. Also, you must be better at measuring one cell than I am - for me, it is much easier to measure 10 cells, and then divide by 10.

Averaging the cell size across the entire comb really accomplishes little to nothing.

Who said anything about doing that?

Averaging across comb accomplishes nothing in that light.

Again, who said anything about averaging across comb?

in one natural comb, you will find honey stores cells that are a different size from worker brood cells which are a different size from drone brood cells.

And if you look at a patch of worker cells, and measure across 10 of them, and find the average worker cell size...

Ican see trying to average the worker brood cells in a comb or the stores cells in a comb, but not all cells combined.

Now you're catching on. :thumbsup:
 

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"Really looks as though the drones are the tonsils of the hive.(Infection gatherers, protecting the rest of the hive)"

I totally believe this!!! In my observation, hives with no drone brood are the ones typically to have problems with foulbrood. Drone brood = no foulbrood.
 

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The real question, in my opinion, is why, when your bees produce 'natural cell' is it significantly smaller than what the bees in this study produced.
I don't let my bees build "natural" cells but have always used SC foundation so I can't address this firsthand.
 

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Countryboy, that was my point.

The discussion seemed to me to be talking about averaging cell sizes across the whole comb. Hence my comment.

it was not clear that you were only talking averaging worker cell size, at the time, you simply said 'cell size"

again, clear communication helps.

We are on the same page now it seems though.

Big Bear
 

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The real question, in my opinion, is why, when your bees produce 'natural cell' is it significantly smaller than what the bees in this study produced. This, by the way, is why I originally said it was 'interesting'.
I noticed in the study the natural comb bees had about 33% drone brood compared to the 1% of the foundation bees. This seems like a very high amount of drone brood. 33% drone comb is outside of what I would consider normal for my natural comb bees. About 15% is what I see in my hives.


Plentiful drone production was evident in the second year of group 2007 natural cell colonies, as opposed to controls. In first year natural cell colonies, drone production was not as evident.
I wonder what time of the year these splits where made? I wonder if they where in storage mode building?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
33% drone comb is outside of what I would consider normal for my natural comb bees. About 15% is what I see in my hives.
33% seems close to what I see in my foundationless hives. That has been one of my concerns. Based on these results, I may need to rethink my 'concerns'.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
The extract that I read did not make it clear if they continuously (over 2 or 3 years) added foundationless frames into the broodnest, or if they allowed bees to keep all drawn combs. In making splits, how did they add the extra foundationless frames?
However it was done, there were new foundationless frames introduced into the ‘system’ during the study….and note that they started with ‘natural cell’ bees.

If you want a comb the bees made specifically for brood rearing, the empty frame needs to be placed into the broodnest.
The guys conducting this study are bright enough to understand this.
 

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countryboy hit the nail on the head here. the key is in the management details.

there were new foundationless frames introduced into the ‘system’ during the study….
yes, but where? when? under what circumstances?

one would think that since such management details are important, that they would have specified how it was done.

deknow
 

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one would think that since such management details are important, that they would have specified how it was done.
It's a shame too. This 'study' could have been important.
Does anyone have a copy of the full article?
 
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