Bjorn--how about you try the proposed methods in your own beeyard and see where it takes you? Or, have you already done so? No treatments, no sugar, natural or small-cell comb?
Maybe I should make this clear to those who have not previously heard my rants and diatribes on this matter. :-D
I have had smallcell for about 7 years. Early on I had questions about it. I heard many claims, including the idea that smallcell was even AFB resistant. I read many confusing statements like some I mentioned earlier in this post, where smallcell success was attributed to genetics and environmental conditions. I did not see differences in my bees between smallcell and other comb the first year or two. I was told it takes 3 years for full regression among other things.
I started speaking out about smallcell about 5 years ago. I just saw many hives thrive, regardless of on smallcell or not. I continued to play around with smallcell. I found out that after full regression, bees will not stay regressed if given foundationless frames. I listened as smallcell was called natural, that if you put your bees on smallcell all your mite worries go away, and a host of other things.
I waited for research. Then a couple years ago, they started being completed. But the researchers were made out to be idiots, and excuses were wildly thrown about by the smallcell groupies. They did this wrong, they did that wrong. The bees were not isolated. The bees failed due to "leveling out". First it was the claim that mites were suppressed. Then when the mite counts came back the same, a new claim was made suggesting although the mites were the same, the smallcell hives produced more bees. It is almost as if one reason is latched onto till debunked, then it magically transforms into something different.
We now have four independent studies from three different countries all debunking smallcell claims. Yet, one guys observation (Dennis) about taking smallcell and putting them back on large cell resulted in death. That unscientific tidbit is like the holy grail of smallcell. But four studies, with one including a huge proponent of smallcell, is cast aside as junk science.
So we are in about ten years now. And yet, not one group of smallcell beekeepers have ever actually run tested research. And they dismiss the research by respected professionals. No smallcell beekeepers have ever opened up their bee yards to testing, scrutiny, or unbiased evaluation.
So for ten years, we keep hearing, "The only way to prove this is to try it yourself". And in the past when others like me have done so and come out with results not in line with the agenda, it is because "I have an agenda" or "I did not know what I was doing".
I also had the pleasure of inspecting hives of other beekeepers with bees and queens from some of the biggest proponents of smallcell. And the comments and results from these other beekeepers were far short of what is claimed and often repeated on the forum.
So I started this thread to throw the ball back in the other court. Why are there no studies of smallcell by smallcell beekeepers? Of course all you get is "My proof is in my own apiary. You need to take me at my word, but please no testing or looking". Keep in mind, not one smallcell beekeeper is willing to sell a hive for research. Not one has opened his yard up for testing. Now we get the "My hive's are worth 50,000 dollars" excuse.
After ten years, while research was done, we get nothing from those actually promoting smallcell. And the problem is, there is always that next new group of beekeepers looking for the silver bullet, the easy fix. And that same message can be heard in many products. But this vinegar machine, spray that oil, build that hive, use that comb, go this meeting, buy this book, follow this protocol.....and all your worries go away.
It seems after 10 years, eventually someone needs to step up to the plate. We need to get beyond the whole "The best I can do is tell you to try it and see for yourself". I did. And I found out what others have also found out.
If I was to do any further testing, imagine what would be said at this point. They dismiss others with much more credibility and credentials than I have.