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Author Topic: small cell question  (Read 3255 times)
drobbins
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« on: May 20, 2005, 08:57:15 AM »

Hello All,

I just got my first hives going this spring, so of course now I'm learning all about Varroa. I've been reading about using small cell foundation and it seems like kindof a no-brainer to try it.
Couple of questions though
I've read several places where it wasn't recomended for beginers
Um, scuze me, I want my bees to live too  Smiley
Is there something inherintly difficult about it??
I also read about regressing the bee's to use it
I assume if they've been on standard foundation it takes some effort to get them to switch over to the small cell stuff.
How does one go about doing this?
Is this why it's not recomended for beginers?
I got 2 packages of bees this spring from Brushy Mountain which actually came from Wilbanks Apiary in Ga, and put 1 in a single a deep with new beeswax coated plastic foundation and one in some equipment I got from a friend which already had drawn comb.

Info much appreciated
Dave
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2005, 09:43:36 AM »

>I've read several places where it wasn't recomended for beginers

I think it's just that the bee supply places selling it don't want a beginner to just buy the foundation and assume they don't need to monitor the mites and a beginner may not grasp the concept of "regression" which is that it may take another turnover of comb to resolve all of your mite problems.

>Is there something inherintly difficult about it??

Not at all.

>I also read about regressing the bee's to use it
I assume if they've been on standard foundation it takes some effort to get them to switch over to the small cell stuff.

That's the only complexity.

>How does one go about doing this?

Just put them on 4.9mm foundation and when they are established swap out all of the comb that is in the brood nest that is drawn larger than 4.9mm.

>Is this why it's not recomended for beginers?

That's my guess.
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Michael Bush
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drobbins
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« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2005, 09:57:02 AM »

hmm,

well I can see how if you already had a bunch of equipment it could be a substantial cost to change over, but for me just starting out and not having hardly any equipment, It seems like a no-brainer to go with small cell foundation. Maybe it works maybe it doesn't, but I see absolutely no downside.

Thanks for the info
BTW, I saw the site you put up so you could post pictures
very nice
Thanx a lot

Dave
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2005, 11:06:39 AM »

I think most people's hang up is they believe that small cell is not natural and that large cell is.  I do mostly natural sized cell and it runs from 4.6mm to 5.1mm mostly.

http://www.bushfarms.com/images/47mmCombMeasurement.jpg

Once you realize what natural sized cell is, it does seem like a no brainer.
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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
drobbins
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« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2005, 01:30:28 PM »

Michael,

so maybe each time I go in the hive, replace a couple of frames with new frames with 4.9 mm foundation?
Will they generally draw it out properly, or is it still kindof hit or miss?
i wish I had heard of this before I hived em   Sad

Thanx
Dave
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2005, 02:00:11 PM »

>so maybe each time I go in the hive, replace a couple of frames with new frames with 4.9 mm foundation?

No unless they are very strong and those frames are empty.  I'd just move the larger ones to the outside and, if they are really strong, feed the 4.9mm into the middle of the brood nest where the bees are more prone to build smaller cells.

>Will they generally draw it out properly, or is it still kindof hit or miss?

It depends on many factors from the bees, to the spacing of the comb (closer to 1 1/4" spacing leads to smaller comb), the time of the year (they seem to draw smaller in the spring), to the location of the comb (smaller in the brood nest and larger in the supers).

>i wish I had heard of this before I hived em  

It would have saved a lot of steps.
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Michael Bush
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Jerrymac
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« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2005, 04:37:33 PM »

Now if you could get your hands on fully drawn small cell comb that would quicken the process.
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drobbins
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« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2005, 07:26:10 PM »

Is what these guy's are advertising fully drawn comb?

http://www.honeysupercell.com/

I might would choke up the bucks for 10 frames of it, just to get started right

Dave
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Jerrymac
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« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2005, 08:32:03 PM »

Yep, that's what they are advertising. Looks like they about got the bugs worked out.
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rainbow sunflower  Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.   rainbow sunflower

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« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2005, 01:43:18 PM »

I've been watching the Honey Supercell site for the last several weeks.  The fully drawn comb is shown on the site with all the specifice of the comb but you still can't order it.  I've sent them a couple of messages without receiving a response.  They apparantly still have a problem with production of inventory available for shipment.

Has anyone used John Sheets' Permacomb product for brood foundation?  I think it is close to the small cell dimentions.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2005, 04:46:36 PM »

>Has anyone used John Sheets' Permacomb product for brood foundation? I think it is close to the small cell dimentions.

I have over a thousand of them.  I heat the PermaComb to 200 F and then dip it in molten beeswax and shake off the excess.  I get 4.95mm equivelent (4.85mm inside diameter), absolutely no acceptance problems and nice small cell bees that emerge 19 days after the egg is laid.

Without wax coating I think they were 5.15mm, but I'd have to look it up in my notes at home to be sure.  That's about the size unregressed bees will build on their own and seems to put a huge dent in the Varroa reproduction rate.

The target, to control all the mites and other problems is 4.9mm.
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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 #11 on: June 14, 2005, 10:53:45 PM »

Thanks Michael.  I've ordered ten frames of the permacomb to try on my largest hive.  John recommends that I spray the permacomb with sugar syrup with the Honey B Healthy product. I put this on this weekend.

 I see references to small cell foundation but  haven't found it listed in any of the beekeeping supplier's catalogs.  Where do you get small cell foundation?
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Jerrymac
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« Reply #12 on: June 15, 2005, 05:42:15 AM »

Here is where I got mine

http://www.beeequipment.com/default.asp

Their small cell page is here

http://www.beeequipment.com/products.asp?cat=6&pg=2
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rainbow sunflower  Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.   rainbow sunflower

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Michael Bush
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« Reply #13 on: June 15, 2005, 10:40:53 AM »

Also small cell plastic (I would only use this with regressed bees):

http://www.dadant.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=622&osCsid=44556a8de0d142ad932cca708d04fcf1

All of Dadant's small cell:

http://www.dadant.com/catalog/advanced_search_result.php?osCsid=44556a8de0d142ad932cca708d04fcf1&search_in_description=1&keywords=small+cell&osCsid=44556a8de0d142ad932cca708d04fcf1
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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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