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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What is the success that some of you veteran beekeepers have seen with small cell foundation? And why in the supply catalog, is small cell foundation only recommended for the experienced beekeeper? I am planning to get some bees next spring, and am currently researching all avenues of mite control, and moderm beekeeping techniques. I hope to have a good knowledge base by next spring, and really do not understand why this aspect would create any issues. If I am reading things right, the small cell foundation is closer to nature than any other foundation. Is this not true?
 

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Ron,

bwrangler has an informative writeup

http://bwrangler.litarium.com/implications/

interestingly he seems to believe clean wax is more important than cell size but never the less he gives a good explaination of the subject

most folks seem to think the supply houses don't want to recomend it to beginers in case it doesn't work for them
no liability

Dave
 

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I started with small cell foundation in my 3 hives this past spring. I installed them right onto it so I didn't have to do the regression that many do to get them there. The first frames were drawn a wonkie but now it looks great. Check out Michael Bush's site Under natural cell http://www.bushfarms.com/bees.htm
I used the dadant 4.9mm wired and all mediums and now will start using starter strips of small cell and see it works out. I am sure it will work out great and will be cheaper than buying all wired too.
 

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that's interesting Jeff
I did kinda the opposite
I started with the Pierco that came with my starter kit
then switched to starter strips over last summer
I got an awfull lot of drone comb
this year I've been feeding in some SC foundation
I think I'm trying to get to SC foundation in the central brood nest flanked by starter strips so they can do what the want for drones and stores

Dave
 

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Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
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>What is the success that some of you veteran beekeepers have seen with small cell foundation?

I don't treat at all and use only natural and small cell size.

> And why in the supply catalog, is small cell foundation only recommended for the experienced beekeeper?

They don't want to explain that it will take a turnover to get the bees to draw it correctly.

>If I am reading things right, the small cell foundation is closer to nature than any other foundation. Is this not true?

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesnaturalcell.htm

Yes, it's true.
 

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i'm currently trying to determine what benefits I might have. I'm in an area where the state apiarist (not in alabama) recommends testing before treating as not all hives need regular treatments. This means that SC might not have a measurable effect as a "treatment" on Varroa. So I'm keeping one large cell to compare to. But I'm encouraged by others success. Don the Fat Beekeeper from Georgia runs a commercial package/queen business without treatments by using SC.

Why for the advanced beek? Getting bees to "regress" as Dee Lusby calls it requires a bit of manipulations and bee understanding. It can be done by beginners. In fact, I would start out immediately as a beginner rather than waste a season(s) letting the bees build comb that will only be replaced later. Just be ready to ask for guidance... but among beeks, there's always a few hundred ready to give guidance...

Waya
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
So if I start next spring with packaged bees, new wooden ware, new frames and all with small cell foundation, do you think I will have a problem getting the bees to draw out the small cell foundation.

Also, I have been working with a gentleman in my area that simply uses the FGMO, Tymol solution in a fogger for treatment. Is this a good treatment if you need to treat?

Last, We are in the third week of August, and I have the oportunity to get some free bees. They are a feral colony that is currently in a house due to be demolished or burned by the fire department. I know that I would have to feed them through the winter, and was wondering what the advise was in this area? For a beginner, would you recommend to start out this way, battling winter, or wait until spring and start with packages and new equipment.
 

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Ron,

small cell foundation is 4.9 mm
regular foundation is 5.4 mm
Dadant sell's an intermediate size, 5.1 mm
if I were starting a package I'd get 10 sheets of that, then start giving them 4.9 mm once they get established and raise a round or 2 of brood
kind of step them down

on the cutout, I'd say go for it with the understanding it'll be real hard to get em thru the winter
you'll still learn a lot
do it soon so if they have to raise a queen they'll have time
this is based on the assumption you can't wait till next spring ( you said they're gonna destroy it)

Dave
 

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I plan on purchasing 5 colonies next year and using MB's reccomendations on small cell. If your beginning it's worth a try.
BY ALL MEANS SAVE THE BEES.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
True they are going to distroy the house. I have one other feral colony in an old house that I may try and take out next spring. They are not going anywhere.

What is the benefit of starting with one size foundation, and then stepping down the size?
 

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I'm guessing you'd get a package from Brushy Mountain
I think they'd be regular LC bees
they aren't likely to make the jump to SC very well in 1 shot
they were from 5.4 mm foundation
so put em in a box of 5.1 mm
no guarantee, but they're more likely to draw it out nicely
when you get ready to give em a second box use 4.9 mm
by this time the original bees are dead
the new bees were raised on 5.1 mm
they'll make the jump better
let's say b = 5.1 mm and s = 4.9 mm
take 2 drawn frames out of the bottom box
replace them with frames of 4.9 mm
stagger em like this
bbbsbbsbbb
that way you don't make to big a gap in the brood nest
it'll be late May so they shouldn't get to chilly
put the 2 frames of 5.1 in the new upper box like this
ssssbbssss
the drawn frames will bait them up into the new box

oh yea, I forgot to mention
don't tell your friends you're playing mind games like this with your bees
they already think you're nuts for raising bugs


Dave

I'll also mention that fat beeman in Georgia sells bees that are already SC so you can skip all this

and that iddee who posts on here a lot lives near you and knows all about cutting bees out of buildings, you might want to talk to him

[ August 17, 2006, 03:33 PM: Message edited by: drobbins ]
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I am not sure if iddee is the same person that I think it is or not, but if it is, he is my mentor so to speak. I need to ask him.
 

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I started with small cell this year and the bees did fine. I use all mediums, so I bought the unwired SC deep from Brushy Mtn. and cut it in half with a pizza cutter. I put the halves in the frames in the first medium hive body, but I've used started strips from there and everything is going along swimmingly.

Be aware that anything can happen: swarms, supercedure, foundation melting out of frames (which by the way can result in beautiful natural cell or a great big mess), etc. It's a huge learning experience and not at all simple like it seems in the beginner books. My bees put me through the works.

But it's so interesting and fun. Good luck!

PS Don't buy a beginner kit. Read old posts on this forum (use the search) and pick and choose what you want.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
The lates post from my mentor on the local county board is that there are two hives to be taken. One is on the inside of a barn door. Sounds like it would be a bit easier to get too.
 

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NCBeginner, I'm going to ask this question for you.

Guys, what size is natural size comb, since that is what would be in the house and tobacco barn? Would it be an easy step to go from natural to SC, rather than from 5.4 to SC? The barn colony is 2 y/o. The house colony is the full depth of the wall, from ceiling to floor. I think it is safe to assume they are regressed from 5.4 to natural.

Yes, it's me. Hi, Ron.

I looked at the house bees today and it is a very old colony. The entrance is black for a foot around the hole and the wall is stained on the outside, through the wood, all the way down. Should be 150 lbs. of honey or more.

PS...I won't laugh at your full length beesuit on this one. I may even wear mine. It is a LARGE colony.
 

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iddee

the conventional wisdom would be that if the hive was created by large cell bees it would be at least partly regressed (like the 5.1 step I suggested)
if it's from wild bees (ones that didn't come from some beeks hives) they would be fully regressed
how bout taking a metric scale and measuring some
not just any comb, but from the core of the brood nest
you're looking for 4.9 centimeters across 10 cells
either way I would would think you'd want to put em on 4.9 mm right off the bat
it only cost a few pennies more and lot's of folks are reporting good results

BTW, the bee's I got from you are rockin


Dave
 

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Have you done a mite count on my Hopefuls? I'd like to know the results.
I am trying to give these two colonies away. I don't know how much involved I will be. From the vastness of the house hive, I would say they are now 100% natural, whatever that may be. Looking from the outside, they could be a new swarm moved in, but the comb itself, or the "hive", has been there for many years. The bees, well, they could be from any time.
 

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since you gotta get em on some kind of foundation anyway, it would seem like a shame not to spend the extra dollar to use SC

I've been leaving the bee's I got from you alone and just giving them some syrup
I just put in a sticky board tonight
I'll report in 2 or 3 days

Dave
 

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Ron, if you want to PM fatbeeman and get some of his SC, I will let you have the frames and boxes. Whatever they are in the house and barn, I'm quite sure they are smaller than 5.4. If I were going to SC, I would start all ferals on it .

Dave, as all businesses say, Good news, tell the world....Bad news, tell me only. :D
Either way, I'll be waiting to hear.
 
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