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For anyone attending HAS who is interested, Jennifer Berry from the UGA beelab is hoping to present data from the UGA small cell research project.
 

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Study results

Jennifer Berry from the University of Georgia reported at HAS on a study she has done on small cell. It seemed well constructed and executed with checks to make sure the combs were drawn correctly, starting mite loads equalized etc. 40 large cell (5.3mm) and 40 small cell (4.9mm) hives. I'm not sure of the reason for 5.3mm instead of 5.4mm.

I'm sure the results will be misquoted by opponents, but here is the synopsis.

There was no statistically significant difference in mite counts in her study, between the large cell and small cell. There WAS a statistically significant difference in the number of bees with the small cell hives having more bees.

There will be those who will say that there were more mites on the smaller cell bees. This is technically true, but from a scientific research perspective it is NOT true because the difference was not statistically significant. So from a study point of view there was no difference.

It sounds as if the study will continue, and I have hopes that the long term will prove out. Survival is the real bottom line and if she keeps the 40 hives of each going with no treatments that should be the real answer to the question.

She also intends to do some other studies on other aspects of small cell such as capping and emergence times.

I look forward to it. She certainly seems to be taking it very seriously and it's the first time I've seen that in a small cell study on EHB.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Not that its of any consequence, the two trials started with 10 small and 10 regular cell each. A total of 40 hives. As you might imagine, there have been some losses so the current total is somewhat less.
 

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Haven't read the paper yet, so can anyone say if there was
ANY difference detected that was statistically significant
aside from the population counts?

The obvious next step is to swap queens between high
and low population hives to see if the obvious is true,
that some queens are better layers than others.

As it stands now, she's got nothin'.
 

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She measured mite levels from mite drops, alcohol wash, and examined capped cells, she also measured bee populations. I don't remember any thing else she measured? I guess I should have taken notes. The bee populations had the only statistically different outcomes. As Michael said, it look executed very well.

She did qualify that you need regressed bees to successfully draw out 4.9mm foundation, which they did, then removed the combs and used those in their colonies made up from packages.
 

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I wouldn't say that queen differences would be the obvious reason for population differences. All queens where from the same supplier. More cells, likely less food needed to feed each larvae, leaving more available for more bees seems more obvious to me. The existing cells size research that is out there shows more food is fed to larvae raised in larger cells. However, there are much easier ways to get more bees out of a hive.
 

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There was no statistically significant difference in mite counts in her study, between the large cell and small cell. There WAS a statistically significant difference in the number of bees with the small cell hives having more bees.

in reading posts following the above i got the feeling folks where questioning why the numbers of bees where higher in the sc hives.
i automatically figured it's because sc combs have more cells hence more if smaller bees
 

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Discussion Starter #8

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I'm sure the results will be misquoted by opponents, . . .

Now Michael, why would they do that? The results seem to indicate that there was no significant difference in mite count between large cell and small cell. I think that the "opponents" of small cell will properly quote this many times.


She also intends to do some other studies on other aspects of small cell such as capping and emergence times.

If I understand this debate correctly, small cell proponents postulated that small cell hives had less mites because of shorter capping and emergence times with small cell. If the study showed that there were NOT less mites with small cell, then the difference in capping and emergence time (if it does exist) would not seem to cause a decrease in mite levels.

I wish that I could have been here for the meeting. Thanks for summarizing the results. I look forward to seeing more research in this area.
 

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If the study showed that there were NOT less mites with small cell, then the difference in capping and emergence time (if it does exist) would not seem to cause a decrease in mite levels.
Well it is just one single study. If it showed small cell worked wonderfully, it would still be just one study. Good researchers are incredibly meticulous and go over things thoroughly before coming to conclusions, thus the need for more study (Such as capping times) to look at it at a different angle.
 

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Zachary Huang reported that there was a recent 4-year study

He said it was done in Europe, seemed valid, and came up with the same results. That is, more mites in small cell than regular cell. He didn't say whether the difference was statistically significant. Jennifer Berry asked for the citation so she could include it in the footnotes of her study when hers is published, so you should be able to get ahold of it soon.
In another interesting part of her talk, she has gone along for several years with 2 friends who are in the bee removal business & measured the size of feral brood comb. If memory serves, the range was from 4.9mm to 5.6mm with the average being 5.3mm. I think she says this should not be surprising since most of those bees probably came from unregressed hives.
Back to the small cell study. It makes sense that there would be more bees on small cell because there are more brood cells.
It was a very interesting talk and the discussion was lively afterwards.
 

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Here's the referenced "study" danno
http://freepages.misc.rootsweb.com/~meettheancestors/Varroa.html
They've been hacking on it over on Bee-l

My personal OP. is that the conclusions drawn in the way they are completely undermine the whole study, which isn't much to begin with. But perhaps I'm being a little harsh.

Not to be confused with Jennifer Berry's study which is exceptionally professional.
 

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thanks, Michael!

The good news is, at least researchers are taking a look at small cell. That, in itself, should finally give us some direction. Thanks again for the URL to the study. -Danno
 

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It's my understanding that a "not statistically different" number of mites living in a "statistically significant" higher number of bees, means less mites per bee!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
MB, I tried the link in your last message and it didn't work for me. Anyone else try it?
 

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The link doesn't work for me either. I've always found large variations in the mite counts for hives in the same yard, which contradicts the study.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Link doesn't work . . .

Did you READ the words "For those who are members"?
Nope, my browser comes back with 'the webpage cannot be found'
I can usually READ just fine. I don't think its a literacy problem.
 
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