How does the regression begin? I assume that they cannot immediately build the size of cells they are genetically programmed to build because they are too big to build them. How, then, does it begin to move towards smallness? Just a tiny bit at a time?
One of the BEST ways to regress bees, is use a Warre hive. (I do not promote the Warre hive or protocol. But they do have their uses in looking at different comb, etc.) Because of the constant under supering of the brood nest, you are continually stepping them down to a natural cell size. Funny thing is, my bees, although started with strips of smallcell foundation as guides, almost NEVER draw 4.9 or as some suggest, 4.5 or below.
You get 4.9 regressed bees by FORCING them on 4.9 foundation.
As a side point, I have regressed bees on full sheets of smallcell, then fed in foundationless into the center of the brood nest. They never, once allowed to build their own comb and NOT forced on smallcell foundation, stay at 4.9 or below.
I'm waiting for someone to suggest it will take eons of keeping bees on smallcell foundation to "break" the programming we forced onto the bees for the past hundred or so years.
Don't EVER confuse smallcell with natural cell. They are two different things.
NOBODY after more than 10 years of smallcell promotion, sells or guarantees mite resitsant bees or queens. In a market such as ours, doesn't this seem strange. a couple of people market smallcell nucs and queens, but the claims are not made. They just sell bees on a certain cell size comb, and no further claims are made. And after talking to a large number of people who bought queens and nucs from those promoting smallcell bees, it becomes very clear that they are not magical in the bees handling of mites, or any other disease claims made throughout the years.