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Author Topic: Smal Cell Research????  (Read 12999 times)
Jerrymac
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« on: February 17, 2005, 11:17:02 PM »

As far as any type of scientific research that I have come across, it appeared to be only half hearted. Like they didn't want to find out anything. One of them was trying to find out what natural cell size was. So they would take the large bees and let them build from scratch. The bees built anywhere from 5.1 to 5.4 So that is what they would build. But I haven't found where they took the bees born in that comb and let them build from scratch. If they did, they would have found out it would have been smaller.

The other was mite resistance of some species of bees compaired to Africans. They took each kind of bee and placed three different comb sizes in each of the hives. (Three sizes in same hive) After a few months, that "few" months, the results were that yes the AHB did a bit better but not a significant amoout to matter.

So much for the scientific research.

I will see if I can find those links.
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« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2005, 05:47:01 AM »

To get good research done, someone would have to fund it. I'm not sure who would have a better interest than beekeepers themselves; certainly the chem companies don't.

And it would be a long, expensive experiment. You would probably need a control group with large cell and no treatment, large cell with the chemical du jour, and then the regressed bees. If they could get regressed bees, then the process would be easier.

But ideally, all three groups of bees would have to be the same strain, otherwise the huge variable of genetic differences would be there. So--really, they'd need artificially inseminated queens, and probably would need to do the regression themselves, or put SC bees on LC, or....

There are a lot of variables! I keep that in mind with Dee Lusby's success. Some genetic tests of her bees show that they are--if I remember right--Carni-something-African, with very little Italian. So is it the African genes in her pop that are giving her hives a boost? She herself says that genes are important, not just the SC.
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Jerrymac
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« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2005, 10:05:05 AM »

Here is one that had been posted earlier by Finman;

http://www.funpecrp.com.br/gmr/year2003/vol1-2/gmr0057_full_text.htm

As you read this portion taken from the article, don't think african cells, think small cell.

"As varroa is more prevalent in the larger European-sized brood cells than in the naturally built Africanized worker brood cells, the use of unnaturally large comb cell size should be re-examined in the light of its effect on parasite levels. Varroa’s preference for larger comb cells could be a contributing factor to the 60% higher infestation rates of adult bees that was found in apiary colonies, which contain both Italian- and Africanized-sized comb, compared to feral Africanized colonies, with only natural-sized Africanized comb, examined in the same region in Brazil (Gonçalves et al., 1982)."
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« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2005, 10:19:53 AM »

This article moots the idea of using large cell foundation to minimise varroa - the exact opposite of what is going on elsewhere.

http://www.dave-cushman.net/bee/denwood.html

So, (running for cover) but it should stimulate some interesting arguments. What if it's true and large cell size reduces varroa? Should we be looking to increase our cell sizes?

Adam
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Jerrymac
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« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2005, 10:33:48 AM »

From the link asleitch posted;

 S.J. Martin and P. Kryger working with the African honey bee A. m. scutellata concluded that:
    "Although reproduction of Varroa sp. is affected by the space between the developing bee and cell wall, reducing cell sizes as a mite control method will probably fail to be effective since the bees are likely to respond by rearing correspondingly smaller bees which explains the close correlation between cell and bee size."

That's not it at all. Its the shorter capping/uncapping time.
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« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2005, 11:17:51 AM »

Jerrymac. What do you think of the article as a whole? Does it alter your view? I've noticed small cell advocates are, in general, lacking in good research*, all working very limited numbers of hive, and all point to the 1 bee farm (can't remember their name - but the ones who kind of promote this) as proof it works. It's hardly a sound basis - and yet of all techniques - this is one that people are adament works.

Now regardless of whether it does, or doesn't work - why do people go to such lengths to defend it, compared to other techniques which maybe have as limited actual proof? Why does small cell get people so excited as compared to say, pheremones? or introducing some virus or simlar which varroa cannot stand?

If you polled the top 100 commercial beekeepers worldwide - what percentage use it? Any? I think the answer would be very telling.

I'm just interested as to why this one specific technique, compared to all other varroa-control possibilities generates so much discussion? It;s as though people read through and miss everything against this technique, but note down everything they seen written for it.

I'd love to have a mechanical method of varroa control - so don't get me wrong - if someone proved to me it worked - I'd switch no probs.

Adam

*understandable as no large company is likely to want to investigate this as their is no commercial benefit.
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Jerrymac
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« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2005, 12:33:26 PM »

You really want my opinion of that article? I think the guy was grasping at straws to undermine small cell. He had no difinitive thing there. It was all written as possibles, maybes, and perhapses. It wasn't written in a manner to make me believe it, in fact I felt he didn't believe it himself.

As things are now with the bee world, I haven't seen much where someone can keep them alive for very long without all the added stuff. I got the wild notion to start bee keeping but soon started deciding not to do it because of all the treatments and stuff one has to put up with.

Then I read Dee Lusby's stuff on that other sight and to me a lot of what she said made sense.And yes everyone references the Lusbys because they are the "ONLY" ones that has done it big time so far. BECAUSE everyone has thier doubts about it working and not gonna try it until there is proof. And for some there is no proof unless some scientific establishment does the work. And as you said, "*understandable as no large company is likely to want to investigate this as their is no commercial benefit."
 
First is the cell size. Ain't natural.
Then you treat insects with chemicals to protect them from insects?
Besides that you're putting these dangerous chemicals into a place where you are eventually going to get food stuffs from. The wax absorbes and stores the chemicals and the honey leaches it out of the wax. More and more chemicals soak into the wax, sooner or later there has to be a toxic level for the bees. Are we sure some of these winter die outs aren't because of that?

You think you're safe because you take honey supers off during treatment and put them back on after treating. The bees move stuff around.

Now what do people want to do? They want to add some sort of fungus to the hive. How does this work if bees have a steril environment? Don't these germs and things mutate? Anyway I don't like the hassle of remembering when and what to put where and how.

 Pheremones? To attract more mites? The bee gets the scent on her and goes out into the world. The mite resting on a flower "smells" her coming?

As much as "man" thinks he's in control (of anything) he is not. He took over to control the bee, to make her do what he wants her too. the way he wants it. In doing so he has damaged the health of the bees. Lowered their natural ressistance to what nature might throw her way. So the bees get sick. Man tries to gain control again buy chemicels or what have you. Once again lessening the bees ability to adapt and soon something else will come down the pike.

Why is it that queens use to last 3 - 5 years, and now everybody is advised to requeen every year? Has anyone ever thought about that? Why do small cell no treating bee keepers able to have great queens for 3 or more years?
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« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2005, 12:43:29 PM »

I forgot to say something. It isn't just about the size of the cell. That is just the beginning. Something like this. Small cell = less mites = less chemicles = happier healthier bees = even less disease = better working bees = .....
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« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2005, 08:47:23 PM »

Heres some things Ive picked up on from both sides of small cell (or natural cell).

 1) For- Small cell bees are closer to the natural size of feral bees, therefore theyre better because we (humans) made them bigger. And because varroa prefers bigger cells (drone) the "logical" conclusion is smaller cells mean less varroa.
   
  Against- Where the heck are the feral bees then? If varroa wiped out, to a huge extent, the feral population how does making cells smaller combat that fact?

 2) For-  Theres a shortened amount of time to pre and post capping , somewhere around 2 days. This makes the varroa less capable of completing their reproductive cycle.

 Against- That actually sounds ok. BUT parasites can mutate quickly to counteract that. Now we have varroa that reproduces faster.

 3) For- Smaller bees are more healthy, work harder, fly higher and are just generally in better overall health.

 Against- Prove that its the smaller bees and not genetics.

 4) For- When I treat my SC bees I only use organic controls.

 Against- Err if small cell was the answer why would you need ANY controls?

 5) For- The Lusbys are successful.

 Against- Umm the Lusbys use small cell as PART of a system. Genetics play a much larger part of varroa tolerance then a small bee.


 Thats all off the top of my head.  Smiley  What I think it boils down to is if you want to go small cell go for it. But do try to refrain from saying how wrong others are because they dont want to do the same.

 Whew I actually dont think I put my personal views in there.
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Jerrymac
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« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2005, 09:00:31 PM »

I will comment on these right off the bat;

NCSteve
 4) For- When I treat my SC bees I only use organic controls.

Against- Err if small cell was the answer why would you need ANY controls?

All natural, organic, small cell beekeeping has nothing added to the hive. After the bees are going good there isn't even artificial feeding.

NCSteve
5) For- The Lusbys are successful.

Against- Umm the Lusbys use small cell as PART of a system. Genetics play a much larger part of varroa tolerance then a small bee.

There are other SC beekeepers out there that have different genetics. They have noticed in all different species of bees that when they get stablized they groom better even if they didn't before doing the reduction. They claim that because of the artificial treatments and chemicles this ability has been deminished or hiden. But according to them all bees have the ability.

I know another one of those things no one wants to believe.
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« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2005, 09:11:09 PM »

Quote from: NCSteve
But do try to refrain from saying how wrong others are because they dont want to do the same.


Actually it is quite the opposite.  I don't know of a single person on this forum, that has interest in SC, trying to banter those that do not.  I also don't know of a single person here proficizing that SC is the answer, just some people that believe there might be some promise in it and have a desire to try.

I wish I could say the same for those that think there is no merit.  Some seem to like to continually pee on the small cell discussions.

BTW,  I'm not try to point at you or say your one of the peers cheesy  NCSteve...  just responding to your statement
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #11 on: February 19, 2005, 12:02:22 AM »

As to the comment that only a few people with very few hives are doing it, Dee Lusby has been doing it since at least 1994 with NO treatments whatsoever and she has almost a thousand hives.

I've only got fifty. Clint Bemrose is doing small cell and he has several hundred. I'm not sure exactly. I don't think it's accurate to say no one is seriously doing this. Buckeye bee is doing nothing but small cell as is Bolling Bee and both of them I believe are about a thousand hives or more.

As to research. Here's one where they took AHB that were doing fine on 4.8mm cells and put them on 5.4 and the varroe reproduced at a much higher rate with everything the same except cell size.

http://www.funpecrp.com.br/gmr/year2003/vol1-2/gmr0057_full_text.htm

But the skeptics will just pretend that AHB are not REALLY honey bees and that the change in cell size affected mites on them is irelevant.

I have observed a day shorter capping and a day shorter post-capping times on small cell. According to this model:

http://www.csl.gov.uk/science/organ/environ/bee/varroa/ModellingBiologicalApproaches.pdf

You would only have to shorten it by 8 hours to stabalize the varroa population.

Of course the uncapping and mite biting that all of us small cell keepers have noticed is just antedotel. The fact that we have hardly any mites is also antedotel. That Huber's leaf hive, based on his observations, was on 32mm (1 1/4") centers is just a mistake on his part.

As to what is natural cell size, why most do not seem to want to actually let the bees build their own comb for two or more regressions and see what it turns out is beyond me.  I mostly have what I KNOW is natural cell size because most of my hives have foundationless frames, blank starter strips or just plain top bars in them.  I sure didn't coerce the bees to build anything a particular size.

But here is some comb built by a large cell package in a top bar hive with no foundation:

http://incolor.inetnebr.com/bush/images/47mmCombMeasurement.jpg

Looks like 4.7mm to me.

It's not hard to prove it for yourself.  If you all want to fight Varroa the rest of your lives, it's a free country.  I'm just glad to be back to beekeeping instead.  

Michael Bush, Small Cell Beekeeper
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« Reply #12 on: February 19, 2005, 12:04:46 AM »

I'm new to beekeeping, with only one season under my belt.

I'm trying small cell not because I think it's the Holy Grail, but because I hope it may prove to be one element in chem-free beekeeping. I live in an area when that is a plus, and my own philosophies are in line with that. I won't use what I don't need.


Even the most vocal proponent, Dee Lusby, says that it isn't only cell size. It's also breeding and feeding.

If she's right, that explains why even wild bees were partially knocked out during the mite invasion: small cell or not, their genes weren't up to it.

I don't think cell size will give me super bees, capable of leaping tall buildings in a single bound. I am hoping that, being a hobbyist, I can afford losses if I'm wrong. Smiley
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« Reply #13 on: February 19, 2005, 01:07:33 AM »

Welcome to the board Michael.  I've followed many of your posts on the beesource board.  If I recall correctly, you reported treating with oxalic in the fall I believe, and had very low mite drop counts.  Since the mites vector virii into the colony, I'm concerned the small cell alone might be a delaying factor rather than the answer everyone is looking for.  

I have a few questions.  If the small cell works as well as everyone claims, why did you treat with oxalic acid?  I saw your post reporting very low mite drops, but I was confused by your application of the acid.  
I'm also wondering what the feral survivor stock means to your model?  If the small cell works, why are you breeding and selling the feral survivor queens?  Is it a combination of both?

I know that I, along with virtually every other beekeeper in the country would jump to 4.9 and start regressing our bees, if we thought it would help. (I have 4.9 for 50% of my starts this year)  I don't understand why if it is the answer, more people with greater knowledge and experince, haven't adopted the model presented by the Lusbys.  I also believe, the Lusbys' have brought the genetic dynamic of AHB into their program.  They push hard for diversity and breedeing with feral stock, if I read it correctly.  And I'm sure AHB is widely spread throughout Arizona.

Anyway, welcome to the board and I hope we see you around here frequently.
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« Reply #14 on: February 19, 2005, 08:18:42 AM »

>Since the mites vector virii into the colony, I'm concerned the small cell alone might be a delaying factor rather than the answer everyone is looking for.

I don't follow your logic.  If you have very few mites then you'll have very few viruses being vectored.  How is having few mites a delaying factor?  You can't kill them all with Apistan either.  I'd be willing to bet my mite load in a year in mites/day average is lower than most people treating with Apistan.

>I have a few questions. If the small cell works as well as everyone claims, why did you treat with oxalic acid? I saw your post reporting very low mite drops, but I was confused by your application of the acid.

The standard method for measuring the sucess of a method is to kill the remaining mites and see what the counts are.  How else do you know what the mite populations are?  

Other than that I don't think I would need to, except that I'm curious how it's working and I want to get certified as having no mites because it frees me up to ship queens most places with no apistan strips.

The oxalic is just at my yard here (at my house).  I have two other yards that are not treated.

>I'm also wondering what the feral survivor stock means to your model? If the small cell works, why are you breeding and selling the feral survivor queens? Is it a combination of both?

I just started gather some feral survivors a couple of years ago.  As of last spring most of my bees were still Italians, Cordovans, Carniolans and Russians.  It took me until fall to get where most of the queens are feral survivors and still about half of my bees are probably Carniolans right now.  Just the queens are not.  I do hope that that will help in the long run.  Frankly the small cell seems to do fine for the mites, but I also want bees that are acclimatized to where I live.

>I know that I, along with virtually every other beekeeper in the country would jump to 4.9 and start regressing our bees, if we thought it would help. (I have 4.9 for 50% of my starts this year) I don't understand why if it is the answer, more people with greater knowledge and experince, haven't adopted the model presented by the Lusbys.

No one likes to admit they are wrong.  I don't expect the industry to want to admit that they are the cause of the problems.

For some reason everyone wants to spend all of their efforts arguing against it or misunderstanding it or demanding scientific proof from the people who brought us Phen Fen and Vioox.  instead of just letting the bees do what they do.  If you want a simple way to do all of this, go to foundationless or make blank starter strips and get rid of the "evil foundation".  Then you don't have to feel like you're trying to make the bees do something they don't want to and you don't have to wonder what's natural.  What the bees make is natural.  It may take a turnover of comb before you reach the point where you can go to no treatments and no monitoring, but every step of the bees doing it their way is a step in the right direction.

>I also believe, the Lusbys' have brought the genetic dynamic of AHB into their program.

Not true.  Lusby's have had many tests done and no one seems to be able to conclusivly say what their bees are.  But I've seen the wing veins on their drones and have compared them to the ferals around here and about 75% of the ferals have those same viens.

>They push hard for diversity and breedeing with feral stock, if I read it correctly. And I'm sure AHB is widely spread throughout Arizona.

I'm sure AHB is widely spread everywhere.  I've had some very ballistic "Pruebread" Buckfasts from Texas here.  They overwintered, swarmed in the middle of a drought and went hotter than I've ever seen bees.  When they are pouring out of the hive at you as you approach it from the rear, something is very wrong.  Not to mention the thousands of AHB queens the USDA sold to beekeepers all over North America over the course of several decades

>Anyway, welcome to the board and I hope we see you around here frequently.

I can barely keep up with Beesource.  So I wouldn't count on it.  Smiley

Michael

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« Reply #15 on: February 19, 2005, 08:35:30 AM »

Quote
I wish I could say the same for those that think there is no merit. Some seem to like to continually pee on the small cell discussions.

BTW, I'm not try to point at you or say your one of the peers  NCSteve... just responding to your statement


 No worries Robo, they arent my statements.   Smiley  As Michael can tell you, the "discussions" on his board on this subject draw out the statements I posted. Alot of the beekeepers on his board are, umm shall we say, firm in their beliefs.  Smiley
 Look to the "How high bees fly" post on his boards and see it in all its glory. Its good to have posts like that, it tends to bring out more information at the end, and it gets rid of any grandiose statements that are made in the beginning.


 My opinion on the whole thing? Eesh, this could get long. But let me state I personally have no real prejudices either way. I may LEAN one way but Im not rabid by any means.

 First, why is the stubbornness of this one topic shown with way more frequency then others?
 I think its because of how people go about stating why they went SC.
 You have people that say they went to it because bees will naturally go smaller then the size that it used commonly now. Others will talk about the shorter capping time. These are positive statements that dont draw the fire unless theres a grand claim like a 5 day savings in capping time.
On its own, its not SC that draws people into arguements.

 Its whats added. A majority  of SC beeks also go or are organic.
 A few rabidly so.
 Anyone that uses a chemical is wrong.
 Anyone who goes with the common bee size are working with engineered monsters.
 I believe that these statements are what set off other beeks. When someone holds another in derision, especially when they are following common practice, it will quickly put some in a defensive or offensive frame of mind. And the fight is on.
 Right or wrong has nothing to do with it at this point. Now its a matter of winning or losing.
 Thats why I said to watch how you make your case for SC. It has nothing to do with SC as a management tool. It has nothing to do with SC users ideas for the most part. It has everything to do with the negativity shown to others unlike themselves.
 And that goes for both sides.
 
 That being said I think SC on its own can be a good tool. Not the end of any problems by any means, but it could be a helpful part of anyones magagement plan. There are upsides to it I think that should be looked at by us individually to make up our own minds on whether it will work or not according to our own needs, time, etc.
 I dont think any of us WANT to use chemicals, but the fact is its what was easily available and commonly used. There are other options now that people are going to more and more and new products/treatments will come out in the future that people wil change to. Its the nature of working with live animals. Nothing good or bad about it.
 Im leaning towards oxalic myself. But you wont see me type or hear me say that other treatment options are wrong for everyone. Or that oxalic is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Its what right now Im thinking is my best option. It can change tomorrow though, because Im not one to turn my nose up at ideas. I just have to look at my time/money management and what options fit my needs best.

 Working with a living organism means we all have to be fluid in our approaches for it to work continually. And because of the internet we all have to realize that just because something works in one part of the world, it by no means may work where others are. Heck something that works for you may not work for someone down the street.
 If Im using oxalic and a guy down the street uses apistan reponsibly and we both keep our mites under control, whos to say whos right?  Not me. My ego doesnt need to deride his use of a chemical to make myself feel better about my decision.

 And we cant ignore that what decisions we make are parts to a whole. Whether we use small or large cell,  chemical or a natural pest control, what breed we use and the genetics they carry, they are all parts of the pie.
 And one I believe cant be touted as the key to the exclusion of all the others.

 

 Ok, pick away. I can take it.  Cool
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« Reply #16 on: February 19, 2005, 12:51:23 PM »

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I also believe, the Lusbys' have brought the genetic dynamic of AHB into their program.

I believe that statement has no merit.  Statements like that have no purpose other than to promote your own agenda and your objections to change.  I would suggest doing a little research before jumping to your own preconcieved notions.  Are you also on a campaign against the Weaver's operation just because it is in the heart of Texas?

Michael, welcome to the other side.  As I'm sure you will notice if you haven't already, Small Cell has just as many opponents on this site, if not more.

As most of you know I am a proponant of Small Cell Beekeeping, but I am not trying to shove Small Cell down anyones throat, nor do I bash anyone that has success keeping bees any other way.  Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but some of us do quite a bit of research before and gather a lot of information in order to form a more balanced opinion, rather than just keeping bees the same old way it has been done for generations.  I don't see anyone questioning why things are done the way they are today, but they sure do jump to the defense of keeping bees the same way grampa did.
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« Reply #17 on: February 19, 2005, 09:04:37 PM »

I didn't bring up the Weavers, you did.  I mention the dynamic of AHB in Arizona, because a paper posted on the Carl Hayden Bee Research Facility website states that virtually the entire state of Arizona is colonized by AHB, and AHB hybrids.  With the Lusby's program of breeding with feral stock, it seems more than likely that AHB genetics are present.   In my readings, I have not seen any mention of testing for this, but Michael corrected me, so I'll keep reading. Hey... that kinda sounds like research... nah.. couldn't be.
 I have no agenda, other than to not repeat what has been determined not to work.  I don't sell bees, bee equipment, queens, and for the last 20 plus years, I haven't sold any honey either, although I have given some away.  I haven't told a single person not to try something.  What agenda??  I just don't want to repeat failures, so I try to read and ask as many questions as I can, and bring my own limited experience into play as well.  I have small cell wired up, but  I also feel genetics play a part, whether it be resistant or hygenic behavior, grooming or defensive behaviour, I feel there is something more.    
Right now.. on many boards, you can find people that both decry, and give holy status to any number of treatments, management styles, etc.  Whether it is FGMO, essential oils, formic, oxalic, small cell, drone cell, regressed,  hygenic, SMR, sugar rolls,  ad infinitum...  
I read on another website the Universtiy of Sweden conducted side by side tests with bees on wax equal to 4.9, all the way up to 5.4, and found no difference in levels of infestation.  So forgive me for asking a few questions before blindly following yet another messiah.
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« Reply #18 on: February 19, 2005, 09:42:18 PM »

>Universtiy of Sweden conducted side by side tests with bees on wax equal to 4.9, all the way up to 5.4, and found no difference in levels of infestation.

They threw out the 4.9 because the bees didn't draw it correctly.  Duh!  They might check into the protocol for doing small cell before setting up an experiment.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
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« Reply #19 on: February 19, 2005, 10:14:16 PM »

I didn't see that reported as part of the information I read.  I'll try to find it again, as my information appears incomplete.
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