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Author Topic: Controversial comment by Jennifer Berry  (Read 18214 times)
Countryboy
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« Reply #40 on: February 17, 2011, 09:32:05 PM »

How can you be sure that the small cell is not influencing the genetics?  A smaller bee is a gentic trait.

Small cell does not have the ability to affect genetics.  A smaller bee due to small cell is NOT a genetic trait.  It is a physical trait.  If the bee is put back on large cell, the offspring will not continue to be small bees.  This shows that it is a physical response, rather than a genetic response.

In Japan, it used to be common to bind girl's feet.  Their feet stayed tiny their whole life.  Their children's feet would still be normal sized unless their feet were bound too.

Small bees due to being in a smaller cell is no more a genetic trait than tiny feet due to being confined in a smaller shoe.

It's not a genetic trait for goldfish to stay tiny while in a small fishbowl either...
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« Reply #41 on: February 18, 2011, 09:55:36 AM »

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Small cell does not have the ability to affect genetics.  A smaller bee due to small cell is NOT a genetic trait.  It is a physical trait.  If the bee is put back on large cell, the offspring will not continue to be small bees.  This shows that it is a physical response, rather than a genetic response.

With the bound feet example didn't you just make an argument that it is genetic?  With large cell you are forcing the bees to be large like binding the feet to make them small.  If you leave the bee alone and let it make its own cell they will resort to small cell.  I think you shot yourself in the foot on that one.
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« Reply #42 on: February 18, 2011, 10:19:05 AM »


Bees naturally draw comb anywhere from larger than drone cells to smaller than "small cell".  When I let my bees on empty frames, they usually draw giant storage cells.

Bees naturally draw small cell, large cell, drone cell, queen cell, and storage cell.  If we force them on either, it aint "natural" or "genetic".  Do a few cutouts and you'll see. 

At that point it is what is most convenient for US, since we are their keepers.
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« Reply #43 on: February 18, 2011, 10:44:16 AM »

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Bees naturally draw small cell, large cell, drone cell, queen cell, and storage cell.  If we force them on either, it aint "natural" or "genetic".  Do a few cutouts and you'll see. 


You could be right.  I am going by what I have read so far.  As usual there seems to be some disagreement among the experts on this topic.  So it is your expert opinion that if the bees are left on their own they will not decrease in size.  Do I have that correct?
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« Reply #44 on: February 18, 2011, 05:16:53 PM »

Do not interchange small cell with natural cell size. Small cell can be seen as just as unnatural as large cell.
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« Reply #45 on: February 18, 2011, 08:47:18 PM »

Do not interchange small cell with natural cell size. Small cell can be seen as just as unnatural as large cell.

It is getting worse now.  What is natural cell vs. small cell?
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« Reply #46 on: February 18, 2011, 08:50:31 PM »

natural cell is what the bees choose to draw.  it will be cells of various size for different use.  small cell is determined by the cell size on the foundation.  it is no more natural than giving them large cell foundation.

if you do foundatationless, you get natural cell.
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« Reply #47 on: February 18, 2011, 09:34:31 PM »

With the bound feet example didn't you just make an argument that it is genetic?

No, I didn't.  The bound feet example made it very clear that it was NOT genetic. 

A genetic trait will still be evident in the subsequent generations.  If a girl had her feet bound, her children would have normal sized feet.  The only way her children would have tiny feet is if the children's feet were bound.  Every subsequent generation would have to have their feet bound for it to show up in every generation.  This clearly shows that it is an external influence (the bindings) which are causing the small feet, and not a genetic trait.

With large cell you are forcing the bees to be large like binding the feet to make them small.

Which is an external influence, and not a genetic trait.

If you leave the bee alone and let it make its own cell they will resort to small cell.

If you let the bees draw out comb of their choice, they will draw natural comb.  They will not draw small cell.

If generation after generation, you keep introducing foundationless frames into the center of the broodnest, eventually they will draw small patches of 'small cell' in the core of the natural comb broodnest...assuming you are fairly close to the equator.  (The farther from the equator, the larger the cells.)

Even the so-called fully regressed bees do not draw out full frames of small cell.

What is natural cell vs. small cell?

Natural cell is what bees choose to draw out, and cell size varies widely, even among cells all being used for the same purpose.  (Honey storage cells will vary in size, and worker brood cells will vary in size.)  Small cell refers to 4.9mm cell size.
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« Reply #48 on: February 19, 2011, 02:09:26 AM »

I haven't worked at all at finding the combs I measured and photographed and posted on my site.  I simply pulled some combs that had no bees on them at the moment that were brood combs, took them in the house, laid them on the kitchen table with a ruler and photographed them.  I didn't look through the hive for them.  I've done this a few times with similar results.  I get as small as 4.7mm from regressed bees, as small as 4.8mm from unregressed bees and have seen pictures of feral brood comb from PA that was as small as 4.4mm.  But in that same hive you'll find larger cells around the edges of that small cell core.  Standard foundation is 5.4mm.  Small cell is 4.9mm.  So what is 4.4mm?  Or 4.7mm?  Or 4.8mm? Micro cell?
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« Reply #49 on: February 19, 2011, 08:37:40 AM »

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Even the so-called fully regressed bees do not draw out full frames of small cell.

Bees do not have a CAD system or a CNC plotter to make every cell the same.  If they happen to make a few smaller cells in an area it may require them to make larger cells to complete the geometry.  If you or anyone else could define what natural cell is (ratio of small medium and large) we as humans can produce that pattern using CAD and CNC programming.  It appears to me as an inexperienced no nothing beekeeper that this would only matter in the brood chamber.  What difference does it make what size the cells are in the supers where the bees are temporally storing honey?

Michael, is Greenwood, NE any where near the Equator?  That might explain your smaller cells. grin
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« Reply #50 on: February 19, 2011, 09:38:46 AM »

And I am sure you can find larger feral brood comb.In either case,the foundation size is what man has determined would be best for the bees.And as stated "regressed" as in assisted by man.
Man forcing bees into smaller and smaller cell size is no more natural than putting them on large cell.
 It was not meant to be an argument,but bees do not always select"small cell".If left to foundationless,often the cells and bees get smaller as the cocoons remnants in the cells start to build up. But the new drawn comb can be perceptably larger.
 If wanting to be more organic or natural, foundationless is the better step than man made foundation. It may not be as productive on yield while  comb building ,but ultimately the bees will be what they want,not what we dictate.
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« Reply #51 on: February 19, 2011, 10:43:04 AM »

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If you or anyone else could define what natural cell is (ratio of small medium and large) we as humans can produce that pattern using CAD and CNC programming.


I am not suggesting dictating to the bees.  I am suggesting giving them what they would do on their own.  With a hundred years of beekeeping in the past you would think that the ratio of small, medium and large cell sizes would be a known.  Producing it is no harder than producing foundation of any given size.
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« Reply #52 on: February 19, 2011, 12:21:12 PM »

...what bees would do "on their own" is tend to build up large enough to swarm...then swarm.  as beekeepers, we redirect this into surplus honey production...by adding boxes, providing empty comb (or frames, or foundation), by splitting hives, etc.

I'm a big fan of natural comb....most of our frames are natural comb, and we started doing this _before_ we had even heard of small cell.

The problem is, that "natural comb" built by bees that are enlarged via large foundation/comb continue to build larger comb, even in a foundationless system.

see Dr. Erikson discussing this in 1989 here:
http://beeuntoothers.com/index.php/resources/dr-erickson-sc

Quote
A few things to think about the article below:

1. "worker - comb measures very nearly 5 cells to the inch" and "true worker - comb generally contained five cells within the space of an inch" means that the size of worker comb is measured by the author as smaller than 5.08.

2. The last paragraph _seems_ to say that there was a push in 1888 to make the bees larger, that the author didn't think it possible simply by increasing foundation size...unless breeding were also brought into it. That the biggest problem was the propensity of larger bees to make too many drones, and that the use of all worker foundation overcame this hurdle, opening up the possibility to make the bees bigger.

I dictated and typed this right out of the original volume.

deknow

The ABC of Bee Culture

A Cyclopaeoia of Every Thing
Pertaining to the Care of the Honey Bee;
Bees, Honey, Hives, Implements, Honey-Plants, Etc.,

PAGES GLEANED FROM THE EXPERIENCE OF THOUSANDS OF BEE KEEPERS ALL OVER OUR LAND

And Afterward Verified by Practical Work in Our Own Apiary.

BY A. I. ROOT.
MEDINA, OHIO:

1888

Under: HONEY-COMB
Pages: 163-164

DIFFERENT KINDS OF CELLS IN THE HONEY - COMB

The bees build two distinct, regular sizes - drone and workers cells. The worker - comb measures very nearly 5 cells to the inch, on average. Some specimens average a little larger, and some little smaller; but when the comb is that all irregular, it is quite apt to be a little larger. That's specimens of true worker - comb generally contained five cells within the space of an inch, and therefore this measure has been adopted for the comb foundation. If there are five cells to the inch, a square inch would give, on average, about 25 cells, and 25 on the opposite side would make 50 young bees that would be hatched from every square inch of solid brood. As foundation is so much more regular than natural comb, we get a great many more bees and a given surface of comb, and here, at least, we can fairly claim that we have improved on nature.

The drone - comb measures just about 4 cells to the inch, but to be seen less particular about the size of it then with the worker. They very often seem to make the cells of such size as to best fill out a given space; and we, accordingly, find them of all sizes, from workers size all the way up to considerably larger than 1/4 of an inch in width. Drones are raised in these extra-large cells without trouble, and Honey is also stored in them; but where they are very large the bees are compelled to turn them up, or the honey would flow out. As the honey is kept in place by capillary action, if the cells exceed a certain size, the adhesion of the liquid to the wax walls is insufficient, of itself, to hold the honey in place. Where drones are to be reared in the very large cells, the bees contract the mouth by a thick rim. As an experiment, I had some plates made for producing small sheets of fdn., having only 3 1/2 cells to the inch. The bees worked on a few of these, the same thick rims, but they evidently did not like the idea very well, for they tried to make workers cells of some of it, it proved so much of a complication for their little heads that they finally abandoned the whole piece of comb, apparently in disgust. Bees sometimes rear worker brood in drone comb, where compelled to from want of room, and they always do it in the way I have mentioned, like contracting the mouth of the cells, and leaving the young bees are rather large birth in which to grow and develop. Drones are sometimes reared in workers cells also, but they are so much cramped in growth that they seldom look like a fully developed insect.

Several times it has been suggested that we enlarge the race of honey - bees, by giving them larger cells; and some circumstances seem to indicate that something may be done in this direction, although I have little hope of any permanent enlargement in size, unless we combined with the idea of selecting the largest bees to propagate from, as given a few figures back. By making the cells smaller than ordinarily, we can get small bees with very little trouble; and I have seen a whole nucleus of bees so small is to be really laughable, just because the comb they were hatched from, was set at an angle so that one side was concave and the other convex. The small bees came from the concave side. Their light, active movements, as they sported in front of the hive, made them a pretty and amusing site for those fond of curiosities. Worker bees reared in drone cells are, if I'm correct, sometimes extra-large in size; but as to whether we can make them permanently larger by such a course, I'm inclined to doubt. The difficulty, at present seems to be the tendency to rearing a greater quantity of useless drones. By having the hive furnished entirely with worker comb, we can so nearly prevent the production of drones that is safe enough to call it a complete remedy.


Quote
PRACTICAL TREATISE
ON THE
HIVE AND HONEY-BEE
BY
L. L. LANGSTROTH;
FOURTH EDITION
1884

COMB
Page 74
The size of the cells in which workers are reared never varies; the saying may substantially be said of the drone - cells, which are much larger; those in which honey is stored very greatly in-depth, while in diameter they are of all sizes, from that of worker to that of drone cells. As 5 worker, or 4 drone cells, will measure about one linear inch, a square inch of comb will contain on each side, 25 worker, were 16 drone cells.


Quote
from:
"The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Beekeeping"
Edited by Roger A. Morse, and Ted Hooper
(this particular text appears to be written by the editors)
1985

Page 79
"BEESWAX is used to build hexagonal cells with three faced bases. Normal honeycomb is of two sizes: worker comb has cells 1/5 inch (5mm) in diameter, and drone comb has cells 1/4 inch (6mm) across"


from:
"First Lessons IN BEEKEEPING"
By C. P. Dadant
Revised and rewritten by
M. G. Dadant AND J. C. Dadant

Revised and Reprinted 1946
Reprinted 1947

Page 30
"The cells in which the worker bees are reared measure about five to the inch or a trifle over twenty-seven to the square inch. The cells in which drones are reared measure four to the inch."


from: http://www.dave-cushman.net/bee/denwood.html
Quote
Baudoux was an experienced beekeeper who made extensive measurements to back up his theories, but he had his detractors as well as his supporters. He was accused of adhering to the Lamarckian theory of evolution which claimed that characters acquired in one lifetime could be inherited by subsequent generations: a theory which was eventually discredited in favour of the Darwin/Mendel one. Even if the accusation is true it need not invalidate the theory that large cells produce large bees in a given generation. Also a peculiarity of the way bees produce comb may give a pseudo-Lamarckian effect, as I shall suggest below.

The controversy was followed up by researchers in many countries, most of whom concluded that the size of cells does indeed affect the size of the bees reared in them, though not necessarily to the degree that Baudoux had claimed. Much of the research was reviewed by Roy A. Grout who also made extensive measurements for his M.Sc. Thesis. He concluded in 1931 (among other things) that:
    "1. The size of the worker bee as represented by the size of the various parts is significantly increased through the use of brood combs containing enlarged cells.

    2. The average percent of increase of the linear measurements of the worker bee is directly proportional to the percent of increase of the diameter of the brood cell.

    3. The number of bees used in a sample in this experiment is not large enough to give wholly consistent results, but these results are in general significant and indicative."
On the question of whether, other things being equal, big bees are better than small ones, authorities continued to be divided, as indeed they still are. Some of the opinions on both sides were backed up by extensive experiments. Already before 1910 a Frenchman called Pincot reported independently of Baudoux that over two years, 30 colonies with large cells gathered 30% more honey than others. In 1965 C. Antonescu in Romania concluded after over 20 years of tests that:
    "Experiments with a large cell honey-comb in the conditions of the Socialist Republic of Romania (5.65 mm [about 720 per dm2. Ed.]) show that a large scale introduction of such honey-combs represents an important reserve for the increase of the bee-hive's productivity in all sectors. [Average yield increase 11.1-16.9%] To this aim it is necessary that the honey-comb should be build [sic] up first - during intense harvesting - in other colonies or in the respective colonies for honey-storage, and only afterwards it should be used for brood breeding."
On the other hand Marcel Arnst, a later compatriot of Baudoux, wrote in 1996:
    "I, myself, together with other beekeepers, often compared colonies on 750 cell foundation at a comb distance of 37 mm with colonies on natural built comb at a distance of 34 mm. The 'natural' colonies were always stronger, developed faster and had less winter loss. As a result, they gave more honey (an average of 20% in my apiary of 30 beehives). The bees were also healthier: This past year there was an outbreak of chalkbrood, only the 'natural colonies' had no trace. If foundation with the natural number of cells (±850) was available, I would fit all my hives with it."


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« Reply #53 on: February 19, 2011, 12:27:17 PM »

sorry...meant to post this from the cushman site as well (this is perhaps the most important point wrt what "natural cell" is):

Quote
At the same time one can also see how bees might tend to build similarly-sized cells to those in which they were themselves reared, independently or partly so of their genetic makeup. If bees
     a) are affected by the size of the cells in which they were reared; and
     b) use parts of their own bodies to gauge the size of the cells they are building (which seems to be the case), then necessarily that size will bear a relationship to the size of the cells built by the previous generation. Thus what might seem to be a genetic effect is in fact an environmental one. The bees are not genetically any different and yet they can pass on an acquired character to the next generation in a pseudo-Lamarckian way.

This has the important corollary that the "natural" cell size found in a colony which has been allowed to build its own comb (not from foundation) may actually be the size of the foundation used by the beekeeper from which the colony swarmed or was otherwise derived. Possibly this effect could persist over many generations, perhaps indefinitely.
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« Reply #54 on: February 19, 2011, 04:50:34 PM »

deKnow, you never cease to amaze.  Thanks.  I've been foundationless or "natural" going on five seasons so far and will never turn back.  What for?Huh?? grin

thomas

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« Reply #55 on: February 19, 2011, 10:41:10 PM »

Keeping in mind I'm still a noob at beekeeping - I wonder if they begin by building a certain size comb in the nest - "natural" (5.0mm?) and then the cell walls thicken from "generations" of bee brood; with the cocoons accumulating as time passes - Making for smaller and smaller bees?
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« Reply #56 on: February 19, 2011, 11:16:41 PM »

yes, certainly cells get smaller with buildup of cocoons.

one of the issues is that it depends on what is being measured.  if you go and read the article i quoted from at dave cushman's website, there are citations to some of marla spivak's work in south america, looking at comb from bees that have never had foundation.  i've never seen the primary source, but heard it cited several times. the thing is, even in the article at cushman's site, it seems that "average cell size" may well be different than "average brood cell size".  i found an affordable copy of the book by spivak et al, and have ordered it so i can follow back some of the references cited there, and to read what was actually said.

wrt "natural" cell size, pretty much all the old books agree that worker cells are 5 cells to the inch or slightly smaller...5 cells to the inch is 5.08mm.

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« Reply #57 on: February 20, 2011, 08:08:30 AM »

On another level bees are like us (I know, this contradicts some of my other posts negating such comparisons, but bare with me a minute). 

Humans have all kinds of reasons for the types and size of dwellings we reside in with 'different sized  rooms for different uses.  It can then be assumed that honeybees also "like to choose" cell size rather than leaving it up to humans, who are mostly clueless as to the bees needs (at least when it comes to cell size). 

Frankly, since going foundationless I've never understood the debate, if honeybees prefer to make their own comb and make it better than some company can, with less contaminants, and that's specific to "their" needs, then why not let them just make their own comb? 

This is the argument that cemented my core belief in foundationless and freed me from ever buying that stuff again.  Bees don't want it and they sure don't need it (and don't get me going on "plastic" grin).  I've seen nothing in the last five years that would convince me otherwise, sorry.

Why any beek would knowingly support that part of the "industry??" is beyond me.

thomas
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« Reply #58 on: February 20, 2011, 08:53:01 AM »

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If foundation with the natural number of cells (±850) was available, I would fit all my hives with it."

If I understand all this forcing the bees on all small cell will decrease drone production.  What is the down side of this?
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« Reply #59 on: February 20, 2011, 08:53:29 AM »

Frankly, since going foundationless I've never understood the debate, if honeybees prefer to make their own comb and make it better than some company can, with less contaminants, and that's specific to "their" needs, then why not let them just make their own comb? 


I don't have a problem letting the bees build what best fit "their" needs. Funny thing is, most of those who are such proponents of letting the bees do what is best with building comb,  have total opposite position of the bees when it comes to ventilation huh

Seems like we are all for letting the bees do what they want when it fits our beliefs.
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