I find that I don't know anything about those little flying monsters that I keep in boxes. But I do know that I put starter strips in every box and there were HUGE cells full of honey at the top of the hive and smaller toward the bottom.
That is correct. When talking small cell and natural cell it refers to worker brood cells.
Seems like they can manage on their own pretty well. I'm guess not really sure what regression means. If using natural cell won't the queen be laying in larger, honey cells early in spring (like mine is)?
Feral queens prefer to lay in small cell. Very often domestic package bees have been laying in large cell because that is what they have been forced to do or raised to do. Getting them to lay in small cell is referred to as regression.
Wouldn't that make it impossible to standardize bee size?
The queen prefers to lay in the center frames so the brood is insulated and the temperature is easier to control. People who do small cell are trying to mimic the standard that exists for bees in nature.
I'm a second season beekeeper so there's a lot I don't know. But I have to assume that worker bees of the same hive come in different sizes under normal circumstances. Maybe even tending toward smaller workers in the fall as honey cells are filled at the top.
The cell size for workers is pretty uniform in a feral hive. A small cell hive tries to recreate that situation.