Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

1 - 9 of 9 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I have several questions.

If you introduce package bees to hive bodies with small cell foundation will they draw it out at the reduced size or will there still be two steps in reverting them to the 4.9mm size?

What if honey supers contain drawn lcf? If the queen is contained by the use of an excluder does it matter? What if no excluder is in place and multiple size comb is present within the hive?

How does one accurately measure cell size?

I know that beeswax readily absorbs chemicals. Is there any evidence that those chemicals are then leached out into brood/pollen/honey stored in those combs or is this just assumed? Is it possible that they are contained within the wax in a stable manner?

Thanks,
Buzz
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,025 Posts
Bees draw comb to their own needs. In nature there will be several sizes.
Measure ten cells from vertical wall to vertical wall and divide by ten.
The chemicals in wax are stable and do transfer to the bees. The only non-destructive removal is heavy ozone under pressure and elevated temperature. Bees seal brood cells with propolis but no barrier is perfect for the current toxins. Dr. Jamie Ellis's crew did extensive studies available at EDIS. They also studied small cell so you might consider what they found.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,253 Posts
If you introduce package bees to hive bodies with small cell foundation will they draw it out at the reduced size or will there still be two steps in reverting them to the 4.9mm size?
I had purchased 20 honeysupercell [fully drawn plastic small cell] and also MannLake plastic small cell frames. The colonies I purchased were on large cells. I split and began working out the large cells gradually. They would draw out the small cell plastic frames, but slowly. Then I captured a feral colony which I placed on the small cell plastic frames and they drew them out very rapidly. From that point on I would switch out a few of the drawn small cell plastic from the feral colony with the purchased. My purchased bees preferred the drawn plastic frames over the honeysupercell, but eventually both were used with good success. So, No, I didn't take 2 steps in regressing them to small cell.

What if honey supers contain drawn lcf?
The large cell purchased bees would lay in the large cell first. That is why you have to work the large cell frames out. I just moved them to the outside, placing the small cell inside the brood nest. Then when I caught them without brood/eggs/larva, I would remove them. My guess from your statement is that you are considering the larger cells for you honey storage. After the colony is on small cell it probably won't matter much for the honey supers to be large cell; but then you can't switch and use the frames as easily as you could if they were all small cells.

If the queen is contained by the use of an excluder does it matter? What if no excluder is in place and multiple size comb is present within the hive?
I didn't use an excluder and it probably took me longer to remove all the large cell frames from my colony. If you use an excluder just move the large cell frames that contain sealed brood above the excluder. Once the brood emerges then remove the large cell frames.

How does one accurately measure cell size?
You might try Michael Bush's site if you haven't discovered it yet. Read hear about 'small cell' a.k.a. 'natural cell' :

http://bushfarms.com/beesnaturalcell.htm



Danny
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,487 Posts
We installed 2 packages on the mann lake black plastic frames last year. they are small cell.
The bees drew out uniform small cells through out.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for all the thoughtful responses. I am wading through the extensive material on bushfarms.com and beginning to understand the process much better.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22 Posts
Bushfarms is good info, I also have gathered info from local breeders using small cell bees, john seaborn (google this, there is some natural beekeeping podcasts interviews with him,) and some other locals using 4.9's. They really reccomended either intergrading small cell foundation (rotating in 4.9, removing 5.4) or if using 5.4 shaking them down on 5.1 ( if using a package you can shake them strait on 5.1) in the spring. Then shaking them down on 4.9. You can go strait to 4.9 but from what I have come to understand its alot harder on them, they dont build brood as fast in the beginning, and will possibly create some wild comb trying to build on the 4.9. I havent tried it, but have also heard you can put capped 4.9 foundation in you 5.4 hive while rotating foundation as I said above, and using the capped brood to aid in the regression. (supposing you have 4.9 and 5.4 hives) Next spring i'm going to try this and see what happens.

I disagree with people saying bees will draw out what they want. Root enlarged them to 5.4, so thats what they have been taught to do. wild bees will draw smaller comb, (these havent been artificially enlarged.) Yes, bee's will draw out what they want, in terms of queen cells, drone or worker. But the base of there drawing is what matters in the size of these. Its the size of the bees that you are changing, not just the comb.

I have 4.9 and 5.4's (now on 5.1) Having them like this seems to help the transition, I.E. them intermingling etc..


This is off topic for this thread, but I also see alot of mention of plastic foundation. I dont like to use anything plastic in my hives. but I have seen quite a few with plastic and when given the option of wax they will cover the wax fast and then go to the plastic. Have also talked to some who used all plastic, and had alot of problems, then began using wax and the hive population jumped. ??

Hope this info is worth a crap...

-Chris
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,862 Posts
I installed 2 packages 2 weeks ago. I alternated foundationless frames with PF-100's. The bees are drawing out the foundationless frames about 4X as fast as the plastic. However, the plastic does help keep the comb straight.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
49 Posts
How interesting it is to see the different responses to plastic versus wax or foundationless. It just varies so much. It seems there really is no wrong way to do it, just use what you like, and it will most likely work. I must say though that I was surprised after installing seven packages on HSC last Thursday, to see them fully taking to the plastic after just just four days. Last year it took them about ten. Very cool. You just never know.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,309 Posts
That's the wonderful thing about keeping bees! "You just never know." :gh:
 
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
Top