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Author Topic: Small Cell Colonies  (Read 16826 times)
Lesli
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« on: January 14, 2005, 08:03:47 PM »

Today I ordered five small cell packages. I know the jury is still out on whether small cell colonies supress varroa, but since they're the same price as regular, and since I stocked up on small cell foundation last fall, I'm going to go for it.

My goal from the beginning has been to go as non-chemical as possible. No antibiotics, no apistan strips, none of that. If I wouldn't consume it or rub it on myself, I'm not going to do that to the bees.

OK, granted, I won't drink sugar syrup.

Funny thing is I don't eat organic, and I'm not a vegetarian, so I guess I'm being better to my bees than I'm being to myself.

Some of this is philosophical. I work with high tech stuff all day long.  One thing I like about beekeeping is that it's low tech. I use wood. I don't want to use a noisy, gas powered blower to blow out my bees. I want to smell sweet honey and beeswax and wood when I sit by the hives. I want my girls to do what they do with a little help from me, but I don't want to come home and put on a mask and chemical resistant gloves. Ya know?
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« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2005, 09:24:25 PM »

I like your decision.  I can't wait to hear what you think of them compared to your larger bees.  I'm assuming you going to introduce them onto small cell foundation.  Will be interested in hearing how they draw it out.  Good luck and keep us informed.
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golfpsycho
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« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2005, 11:16:30 PM »

I'm interested as well.  I have read that they don't always draw the small cell AS small cell, depending on their stage of regression.  All this stuff is interwoven somehow.  The small cell, the aggresive/gentle behavior, hygenic/SMR.  One of these days someone, or maybe the bees themselves, will find the answer.
I don't think we need a silver bullet.  The bees need to reach equilibrium with the mites, and keep them in check.
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Jerrymac
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« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2005, 11:42:26 PM »

I did post a question about small cell in the "LAB" forum. Thought perhaps it fit there. But I think it might have been answered here. I'm going small cell as I am catching feral bees but I have ordered a couple of packages also from R weaver and wondered if they would be able to work the small cell foundation.
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« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2005, 12:34:35 AM »

From what I have read, they may stretch it a bit.  You can move the strectched comb into supers, or use it in the regression of other colonies, depending on how you are going about it. If you read the Lusby's information, they keep shaking the bees out and putting them back on small cell, until they are drawing comb all the way down to 4.6.  There are other factors as well.... like feral bee populations. (does Arizona have Africanized honeybees?) Other reading suggests only the "core" of the brood nest needs to be small cell, and the bees raise different sized bees in different seasons. Many of the small cell advocates are now using only starter strips and letting the bees do as they wish.  They too claim success in the battle against the mites.
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Finman
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« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2005, 07:26:54 AM »

What I have understood about small combs:

* If you do not have varroa resistant bees, it is no use.

* Krainian = Carniola need bigger combs. Those bees cannot kill varroa. Same with Italians.

* However you must use chemicals because you must keep your varroa in lower level.

* Russian is not ready to resist varroa. It is still on experimental level. See reports.

* When your colony  changes teh queen, followin cross-bred is any more able to resits varroa.

YOU ARE PLAYING WITH FIRE, MY YOUND FRIENDS - BUT IT IS ONLY MONEY.

But we have proverb in Finland : Finnish doest not believe before he try himself.  - Just take Finnish away and put there beekeeper.

You are stirring at very little question when you try to learn beekeeping. As I have told: varroa it not a problem. Information is the proplem as you see.
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Robo
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« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2005, 08:22:08 AM »

Finman,

Perhaps small cell beekeeping would better be refered to as natural size cell.   The principal behind this is that man has increasingly tried making a bigger bee over the years and the comb size has grown accordingly. So the attempt is to try and digress the size of the bee back to the natural size.  If you do not provide foundation to bees and let them draw comb the size they want,  it is quite evident that our 5.1 comb is not natural.

The theory behind the effects on varroa, is that in small cells,  the larvae is capped earlier and also hatches earlier than in large cells.  These shorter times impact the varroa's ability to reproduce.

The only problem is that if you look at natural comb (not from foundation), bees don't like just one size cell.  They produce different sizes for different purposes.  This is why it is hard to get then to draw out 4.9 foundation.

Top bar hives are another method that many are starting to use, which leaves the comb cell size entirely up to the bees.  If you start with large cell bees, it still will take a few regressions to get to the natural size.

BY buying small cell bees, Lesli is eliminating (hopefully) the regression.
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Finman
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« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2005, 08:39:19 AM »

Quote from: Robo
Finman,

The theory behind the effects on varroa, is that in small cells,  the larvae is capped earlier and also hatches earlier than in large cells.  These shorter times impact the varroa's ability to reproduce..


I have tried to reed reports, but I have not find that data. This is only idea, not in Apis mellifera

.
Quote


The only problem is that if you look at natural comb (not from foundation), bees don't like just one size cell.  They produce different sizes for different purposes.  This is why it is hard to get then to draw out 4.9 foundation.
.


It is not found how it works. Why natural beehives are gone from tree trunks in USA and in Finland? Varroa killed them in 4 years.

.
Quote

Top bar hives are another method that many are starting to use, which leaves the comb cell size entirely up to the bees.  If you start with large cell bees, it still will take a few regressions to get to the natural size..


.Only therory. Not revised. Compare to natural hives.


.
Quote

BY buying small cell bees, Lesli is eliminating (hopefully) the regression.


I do not understand regression....Never seen during my 40 years beekeeping. When I started, they had narural beehives from straw. Nothing good to say about that.

It is very sad to argue with you, but what you write, it is only assuming. When you reed official advises, none of them recommends you recipes.

Can you see Robo, you take a big responsible about knowledge what you are delivering for beginners - this is not only fun.
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golfpsycho
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« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2005, 08:45:59 AM »

One thing to consider when attempting to get the small cell drawn.  This is the tricky part.  Bees are reluctant to build small cell during a flow.  They aren't stupid, and larger cells mean less work, faster construction.  It's economics........  hmmmmmm.... how many times have you been told, bees won't draw wax unless there is a flow?  We simulate a flow by feeding them to get them to build........er... ummmm....but...... if there's a flow........ you get the point.  It's more difficult than just throwing in the foundation and walking away.  That's why you keep hearing about the multiple step regression.  Some foundations, in particular the plastic ones, go in the range of 5.1 to 5.3.  I believe a litte carelessness will undo all the work to get them to small cell in the blink of an eye.

bahahahahaha.... sounds like the army... catch 22
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Finman
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« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2005, 10:36:32 AM »

Here we are mixing management actions of beekeeping industry and development actions and vision of that industry.

You must tell what is sure and what is developing.

That "varroa resistant" system does not work yet. So say the developers of Russian bees. Reed reports carefully.

Never  the less. So far I have been beekeper, it has been same all the time. TAKE CARE YOUR SELVES!
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Lesli
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« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2005, 10:53:25 AM »

Seems I provoked a fire storm here!

I bought small cell bees to avoid the time and effort of regression--Buckey Bee did it for me. So they shouldn't have any more trouble drawing small cell foundation than regular bees do regular foundation.

I understand your criticism, Finman, and that's why I was careful (for those who are beginners or haven't heard about small cell) to say that the jury is still out.  Apparently, the few attempts at formal studies haven't been very thorough. In other words, putting a couple of frames of small cell foundation in a hive is no real test.

Dee and Ed Lusby in Arizona are the biggest proponents of this. They have a commercial operation (about 1,000 colonies, I believe) that have had no treatments for about a decade. Small cell isn't the only thing they do, of course. They let colonies die, in effect, doing natural selection. They do not feed sugar or pollen substitute. In other words, the bees do it for themselves 100% or they die.

There are Africanized bees in Arizona, but Dee says that her colonies' temperament is gentle, though she makes no effort to restrict queen mating.

Dee says there are three things needed for healthy bees without treatments: good genes, small cell, good nutrition (meaning no sugar and pollen subs).

For me, as a hobbyist, it's worth a shot. I may end up being one more member of the chorus of beekeepers saying, "darn the lack of studies, it works for me!"

Or I may end up cleaning out a bunch of dead outs. Like Finman, I believe what I see for myself. So that's what I'm going to do. Smiley
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« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2005, 11:21:03 AM »

here's a little info on the small cell theory

http://www.beesource.com/pov/osterlund/abjaug2001.htm
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« Reply #12 on: January 15, 2005, 03:31:52 PM »

Quote from: TwT
here's a little info on the small cell theory

http://www.beesource.com/pov/osterlund/abjaug2001.htm


I bougt Österlunds Elgons and last autumn I gived them oxalic acid. They had hundreds of mites like others.


I have 15 hives. It takes me one hour to pour oxalic acit to all hive's neck.  That is my system.

Also I take aways drone combs if my eyes catch them.

I am not going to develope anything with my few hives. Half  world is working with it. It is not back yard business.

Look at that. Old junk, 1996 and still waiting. And this is theory.http://www.beesource.com/pov/lusby/lusbyjul1996.htm

And this quite new about Africanized honey bees in Brazil
http://www.funpecrp.com.br/gmr/year2003/vol1-2/gmr0057_abstract.htm

And look (A Theoretical Explanation)http://www.bee-l.com/biobeefiles/ian/varroa_cell.htm


See the numbers of mites. It is not at commercial level at all. Few real studies and they tell that you will have mites

I am wondering, why USA says nothing about Österlund's Elgon queens?

I have tried to find reseaches about issue, bu none.

My friend in Finland sells Elqons and he calls me often about little cells.
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golfpsycho
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« Reply #13 on: January 15, 2005, 05:14:00 PM »

Finman.  I've never heard of Elgons being available here.  Seems like I saw a post by you that they were aggresive, or didn't resist the mites or something.
People are just trying to do their part.  Feral bees seem to be making a comeback in some areas.  Maybe it's just the natural cycle and the mites will follow and devestate them again.  Maybe it's genetics.... maybe small cell plays a part too.  Who knows?  Part of the fun of keeping bees, when your livelihood doesn't weigh in the balance, is trying new things.  New types of bees, new equipment, new techniques.  What's it hurt to try small cell?  Essential oils?  Russian queens?  A few hives of bees, usually doesn't break the bank, and if moneys tight, a top bar hive can be thrown together from scrap wood.  I for one need a diversion.
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Finman
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« Reply #14 on: January 15, 2005, 05:39:15 PM »

Quote from: golfpsycho
Finman.  I've never heard of Elgons being available here.  Seems like I saw a post by you that they were aggresive, or didn't resist the mites or something. .


Yes. They gived to me too much stings.  I have had since 1987 varroa, I can handle it. It is easy.  And look at the map. They have varroa and still they produce honey.

30 years also in America. And it kills the hive in 2-4 years. Lets calculate from it.

Varroa history. http://creatures.ifas.ufl.edu/misc/bees/varroa_mite.htm

Distribution
The varroa mite is now cosmopolitan, being found in Indonesia (Oudemans 1904), Singapore (Gunther 1951), and USSR (Breguetova 1953); it was found on Apis m. mellifera in Hong Kong (Delfinado 1963) and Philippines (Delfinado 1963). It quickly spread to the Peoples Republic of China (Ian Tzien-He 1965), India (Phadke et al. 1966), North Korea (Tian Zai Zai Soun 1967), Cambodia (Ehara 1968), Japan (Ehara 1968), Vietnam (Stephen 1968), Thialand (Laigo and Morse 1969), Czechoslovakia (Samsinak and Haragsim 1972), Bulgaria (Velitchkov and Natchev 1973), South Korea (Delfinado and Baker 1974), Paraguay (Orosi-Pal 1975), Taiwan (Akratanakul and Burgett 1975), Argentina (Montiel and Piola 1976), Poland (Koivulehto 1976) Romania (Orosi-Pal 1975), Urguay (Grobov 1976), Germany (Ruttner 1977), Bangladesh (Marin 1978), Brazil (Alves et al. 1975) Myanmar (Marin 1978), Hungary (Buza 1978), Tunisia (Hicheri 1978), Greece (Santas 1979), Iran (Crane 979), Libya (Crane 1979), Turkey (Crane 1979), Yugoslavia (Santas 1979), Lebanon (Popa 1980), and likely other countries. Again, the mite was first detected in the USA in 1987 and has spread to most of North America. A full description of varroa's introduction, spread and economic impact has recently been published (Sanford 2001).
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Jerrymac
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« Reply #15 on: January 15, 2005, 08:34:42 PM »

While the Lusbys have used small cell and no chemicels and have built thier colonies up to near a thousand from a mear 140 was it, that is not proof that it works? Why isn't it? It is not theory, it is actually happening.

The link posted by Finman about the african bees and their small cells is also saying that it fights the mites and other diseases.

Now I do not know why, and have wondered the same thing, feral bees were nearly wiped out by the mites. Perhaps it wasn't just the mites and perhaps they weren't as wiped out as everyone thought they were. Who knows.

I started reading everything about bees I could find back in November. I was constantly asking why this way of doing things and why not this way. I questioned a whole bunch of stuff about the "normal" way to raise bees. Then I stumbled across the Lusby's article and to me it all fell into place. Until then I had no idea that the cells were artificially sized by man. I thought man copied nature for the foundation. But what the Lusby's said made sense. Man changed nature a hundred years ago. Not in one fell swoop across the globe, but it slowly made its way around. And it finally caught up with man after a hundred years.

For Finman it is no problem to treat the mites and live with them. No problem at all. Out of how many years of raising bees, 40?, Finman has been treating for 13 years? That means there was 27 years of not having to treat for the mite. Why did it take so long to get to Finland? Because first most everyone had to get the larger un-natural cell size across the continent in order for the little critters to move about better. After the mite's underground railroad was finally finish, they could finally make it to Finland and everywhere else.

Now Finman treats and has few mites, survives other diseases Small cell beekeepers do not treat and have few mites, and claim to have eliminated other diseases. Which sounds more economical?

OH and some of the lessor diseases is credited to SSB.
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« Reply #16 on: January 15, 2005, 11:48:44 PM »

I have always wondered about the small cell idea, I have heard people say that the bee where made larger by man and the foundation cells that are built by man a larger than the natural cell, this I have heard people say is true and others say it's not true.

Has anyone ever measured the cell of the AHB to see what there cell size was? I have heard if you use a TBH, the cells made in it are sometimes different sizes on a single comb, so what's to determine what the original cell size was.

I have heard if you use the same old foundation in a single hive that you will end up with some bee's different sizes, but you might not be able to tell the difference by the naked eye.

I think it would be a good thing to try and quiet interesting to experiment with to see what the answer will be.
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Finman
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« Reply #17 on: January 16, 2005, 06:57:39 AM »

.
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Now Finman treats and has few mites, survives other diseases Small cell beekeepers do not treat and have few mites, and claim to have eliminated other diseases. Which sounds more economical?

OH and some of the lessor diseases is credited to SSB.



WHERE YOU HAVE THOSE SMALL CELL BEEKEPERS? Why Ministry of Agriculture in USA or Canada does dot recommend that trick for beekeepers or  European Union?

You are missderstood whole system, TwT.

FIRST you must have a bee race, which can destroy most of mites.  These bees are , but only partly

* African+Brasilian

* Russian

*  Elqon

I read that small cells hep the bee catch the mite when it is on the larva before capping.

If you no not have a bee race, which have instinct to catch mite, you have no help from small cells.

I can see from reports that that is true. I believe it. But idea do not suits for me. Russian have bad habits. Elgon gived me too many stings. I have no African-Brasialian bees.

The KEY FAKTOR is missing, like gasoline from a car.  

And needles to speak about economy. If it take 60 seconds to give oxalic acic and I avoid destoying thousand of pupas, what is wrong with acid handling.

At this moment you are mixing future and true life (this day). You do not have bees, which pick upp the mites.  

Sorry boys! I am Master of science in biology from Helsinki University. I am able to reed reports.  READ WHAT REPORT SAYS, DO NOT THINK MORE YOURSELVES. The background of small cells are missunderstood, and it is not my fault.

And if you understand, evolution of deseases is faster than evolution of the master.  That is why you never get rid off deseases.

Keep on laughing shocked
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Lesli
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« Reply #18 on: January 16, 2005, 08:52:19 AM »

Quote
FIRST you must have a bee race, which can destroy most of mites.


Actually, this is what Dee Lusby says, though she sees it as one of the three things needed for success. She doesn't talk about a particular strain of bees, though, but recommends "out breeding" as much as possible.

I don't want to misquote her, so I won't go further than that, but in her experience, the small, darker bees do better.
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« Reply #19 on: January 16, 2005, 09:01:22 AM »

I'm not sure what you think i was saying finman , but I'm one of those that dont see how the small cell would be that beneficial against varroa mites, I have read about the Russian bee's being mite resistant for 100 years and there not small cell bee's, don't think they are anyways. AHB aren't small cell are they, the AHB's that escaped from brazil escaped from man made hives also. I myself believe that mite resistance comes from a gene or trait in the honey bee. But if someone want's to try small cells, I would like to know how it goes.
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Never be afraid to try something new.
Amateurs built the ark,
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