This was published, I believe, in Experimental and Applied Acarology April 2009.
By the way, these folks used separate beeyards. Drifting 'mites', as believed by many small cell advocates to be the load leveling factor in the earlier UGA study was surely not an issue here. Also, a final UGA study has been accepted for publication with much the same results. I'll see if I can't get an abstract for that.
The efficacy of small cell foundation as a varroa mite
(Varroa destructor) control
a. M. Ellis Æ G. W. Hayes Æ J. D. Ellis
Received: 3 October 2008 / Accepted: 10 November 2008 / Published online: 6 December 2008
Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008
Abstract Due to a continuing shift toward reducing/minimizing the use of chemicals in
honey bee colonies, we explored the possibility of using small cell foundation as a varroa
control. Based on the number of anecdotal reports supporting small cell as an efficacious
varroa control tool, we hypothesized that bee colonies housed on combs constructed on
small cell foundation would have lower varroa populations and higher adult bee populations
and more cm2 brood. To summarize our results, we found that the use of small cell
foundation did not significantly affect cm2 total brood, total mites per colony, mites per
brood cell, or mites per adult bee, but did affect adult bee population for two sampling
months. Varroa levels were similar in all colonies throughout the study. We found no
evidence that small cell foundation was beneficial with regard to varroa control under the
tested conditions in Florida.
In Georgia, this has been going for 2 years.
I understand that this study has been accepted and is presently being printed.
By the way William B. Owens is a small cell beekeeper.
Small-cell comb foundation does not impede Varroa mite population growth in honey bee colonies
Jennifer a. BERRY1, William B. OWENS2 and Keith S. DELAPLANE1·
1Department of Entomology
University of Georgia
Athens, GA 30602 USA
4510 Springwood Drive
Monroe, GA 30655 USA
In three independently replicated field studies, we compared biometrics of Varroa mite and honey bee populations in bee colonies housed on one of two brood cell types: small-cell (4.9 " 0.08 mm cell width, walls inclusive) or conventional-cell (5.3 " 0.04). In one of the studies, ending colony bee population was significantly higher in small-cell colonies (14,994 " 2494 bees) than conventional-cell (5653 " 1082). However, small-cell colonies were significantly higher for mite population in brood (359.7 " 87.4 vs. 134.5 " 38.7), percentage of mite population in brood (49.4 " 7.1 vs. 26.8 " 6.7), and mites per 100 adult bees (5.1 " 0.9 vs. 3.3 " 0.5). With the three remaining ending Varroa population metrics, mean trends for small-cell were unfavorable. We conclude that small-cell comb technology does not impede Varroa population growth.
I have talked to Bill Owens and he has had his hive on small cell for years, he was suprised with what they found out ans here is a post from him....and I thought we were done talking about this study.
1) The study was done to find if small cell impeded mite populations.
2) The study found that mite populations were higher in small cell colonies. (sorry, I was there and the small cell hives had more mites than the regular cell hives)
3) I have run small cells in my colonies since 2001 or 2002 (I really can't remember which year)
4) I still have several boxes of small cell foundation and yes I plan on using it.
5) After my small cell foundation is used up I will most likely go back to regular cell foundation.
6) In the last 5 or 6 years I have lost on average 8-10% of my hives annually. About the same loss as expected prior to the varroa mites.
7) All of my personal colonies came from feral stock that I get from my bee removal business. (I honestly believe this has a lot to do with my success)
8 ) I run screen bottoms on all of my colonies.
Master Craftsman beekeeper
after all this I still think its the bee's that make a hive live and not the cell size, but hey if small cell works for other I cant hold it against anyone for doing what they think is best.