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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Long story short my 12day old package has 5 combs and started a 6th on the far end of the drawout area in my topbar hive. I didn't notice my hive was sinking (unevenly) in the rain so the 6th comb started to get drawn out crooked. I removed it and for kicks I measured the cell size: 5.4mm.

After doing some research I'm pretty surprised they made such big comb. After reading I'd expect to see 4.9-5.2mm comb. Can anyone help explain why the comb is so big? Is dedicated honey comb larger? Do bees have that kind of intent?
 

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With natural, I see that they lay smaller cells in the center of broodnest, and the cells get larger towards the outside edges of the broodnest. I get a range of bee sizes in the hive, some larger, some smaller.
 

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Ray Marler is correct.I will add, you must have small cell bees or regressed bees to have small cells drawn{4.9 for example}If the bees were raised on standard foundation they will draw out 5.4 at first than they will draw 5.2.Some will draw out 5.2 at first.Any of mine that were not small cell{4.9} bees to begin with did not naturally regress to 4.9 or smaller until the following spring.If you use starter strips what ever cell size that is will be what cell size they draw at first.I have been strictly foundationless for years.My passions are feral bees,small cell, foundationless and natural cell.Wolf Creek Apiaries produce small cell bees 4.9s.Give them a try next year.I get queens from them from time to time never have been disappointed and still have several queen I'd gotten from them 3 seasons ago.Think about it will a 5.4 bee fit in a 4.9 cell?
 

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>Think about it will a 5.4 bee fit in a 4.9 cell?

Yes, but not with as much room... I've given 4.9mm cells to 5.4mm bees with no issues, but they have trouble building 4.9mm cells and usually will draw something in between. 5.4mm is unexpected, but for a 5.4mm bee it's not too far from the expected.

http://bushfarms.com/beesnaturalcell.htm#whatisregression
 

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If it is the cells at the top near the bar I would expect it to be a bit bigger. It will probably only bee used for honey storage. I pulled out a bar yesterday that was just starting to get pulled and it looked like it was huge! I swear I could fit my thumb in it. :)

It is interesting on a top bar since the cell size is all over the place, but towards the center of the comb it should be the smallest size.
 

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Thanks for the answer whether a 5.4 bee will fit in a 4.9 cell.Something I've wonder about but wasn't capable of confirming .I haven't any experience with small cell foundation I am foundationless.Thanks again for the info Mr.Bush!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
If it is the cells at the top near the bar I would expect it to be a bit bigger. It will probably only bee used for honey storage. I pulled out a bar yesterday that was just starting to get pulled and it looked like it was huge! I swear I could fit my thumb in it. :)

It is interesting on a top bar since the cell size is all over the place, but towards the center of the comb it should be the smallest size.
Yeah it was maybe 3-5 cells from the top since the comb was a little crooked it put a stop to it early (and also fixed the root cause). Good to know. For fun I'll see how the center comb measures up on my next inspection.
 
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