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maybe better answered by a small cell enthusiast but since it has not yet been answered I will take a stab at it. The theory is that many years ago bees were bred to be larger than original or natural size. As varroa mites came on scene and we learned about them it was determined that if bees were regressed to "small cell" it would reduce the growth/time spent in capped cells by a day or two therefore making it more difficult on the mites to make maturity (mites are) born and grown with the bee larvae in the cell. Now you will hear many different answers to this question, theory, and whether it works or not. Studies have been posted refuting the small cell theory, however many claim it works. I dont personally subscribe to the theory nor do I use small cell, however I will not disuade anyone from giving it a try as it appears to work for some people. In beekeeping you wil get 10 different answers to the same question, I reccomend researching thoroughly, asking lots of questions, then make an informed decision. What works for some wont work for others based on many factors such as climate, location, blooms, flows, and sometimes blind luck. Good luck and I'm sure someone else will chime in on the subject soon.
 

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Yep, Peace summed it up. The hard data isn't supportive, but I use all Mann Lake PF-120s which coincidentally are 4.9mm. The bees like them fine :).
 

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I have some small cell frames in my hives. I like them because you can fit more brood cells on a frame than standard foundation. This allows me to have bees raising more brood in a given cluster volume.
 
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