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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello All,

I tried to explain the theory of the benefit of naturally sized smaller comb to a fellow student in a beekeeping course. I couldn't explain why the feral bees, if they build smaller combs, weren't able to withstand the mite problems. Any help?

I'm starting 3 new hives from nucs and I want to use 4.9 size comb. Can I insert empty undrawn frames with 4.9 mm foundation immediately when I recieve the 5 frames?

Also, since I wish to avoid most chemicals, is there anything to be said about the practice of fogging the bees with food grade mineral oil? My bee instructor pooh-poohed it.
 

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You assume because they are in the wild they are indeed feral bees? I have found most wild swarms were just swarms from managed hives, therefore they would not have inhabited the nest long enough to get to the small cell size. As well as the fact that if they swarmed from a hive that has mites, they would just be taking the mites with them to a new nest.

Yes you can insert 4.9mm foundation into the hive when you place your nuc. Keep in mind that it might take more than one regression to get them to sc size, and that it will require you to shift frames around in the hive, and replace some frames for new, undrawn ones.

I have not used FGMO, I have however used powdered sugar with excellent results, just remember to gather up all the sugar and dispose of it. It is good at dislodgeing the mites, but if the mites can crawl out of it, they will recover and reattach to the bees.
 

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I just asked the same kind of question not long ago. Do a search for the thread, "SC/Natural Comb - What happened to the ferals?". I got several great responses. If you want more info do a search for "Small Cell" or "Natural Comb" and you should get quite a few more to select from.
 

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"You assume because they are in the wild they are indeed feral bees"

If they are not being managed, and are not native, they are, by definition feral.

Keith
 

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Your splitting hairs here Keith. His question was why if sc is so great do feral bees succomb to mites. My answer was they may not have been in the wild long enough to regress to sc size bees. If a swarm moves into a deadout nest in the side of a house, and you removed them the next day, are they feral?
 

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>I'm starting 3 new hives from nucs and I want to use 4.9 size comb. Can I insert empty undrawn frames with 4.9 mm foundation immediately when I recieve the 5 frames?

You can put them on the outside edges of the brood nest, sure. But if you want to put them in the middle, which is more effective to get small cell, that would depend on how strong it is. If it's overflowing with bees, probably. If not, then I'd wait before I'd break up a brood nest.

>Also, since I wish to avoid most chemicals, is there anything to be said about the practice of fogging the bees with food grade mineral oil?

If you wish to fog with FGMO, you need to do it regularly. It is not the kind of treatment that will knock the Varroa population down in one blow. It is the kind of treatment that kills the mites a bit at a time. You need to fog every other week minimum and every week in the fall.

There are other options. You can just monitor the mites and see if they stay in control and do something if they don't. Then FGMO isn't real effective, but drone trapping or powdered sugar are helpful. If you get real desperate, you could fog with Oxalic acid. But my bet is, unless you ahve a lot of hives crashing around you from Varroa, there's a good chance that they will survive regression without treatments. The only way to know what's happening is to monitor the mites. A sticky board. Sugar rolls. Uncapping some capped drone brood and looking for purple dots on the white pupae.

>My bee instructor pooh-poohed it.

Has he tried it?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks everyone. I'll follow those links and be entertained for hours.
 
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