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Author Topic: Foundation-less: one year after and bigger cells ?!  (Read 2109 times)
mushmushi
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« on: April 28, 2011, 08:36:35 PM »

Hello everyone,

Last year, I've decided to go foundation-less  (specifically, 5.4mm wax foundation strip on top of the bar; using Langstroth hive)
Thus, all new added frames to the honey supers and to the brood chambers were foundation-less.

Today, I measured the cell sizes in the honey supers from last year.

The older ones with foundation frames: 5.4mm. Nothing unusual here.

However, many of the foundation-less frames had a lot of drone cell sizes (some up to 7mm!!).
The ones with worker cells had cells >= 5.4mm (mostly 5.5mm)

I have not measured yet any frames from the brood chambers but I would be surprised to see cell sizes lower than 5.4mm.

What is going on in here ?!

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hardwood
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« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2011, 08:49:46 PM »

That's why the call it "regression". Drone cells and storage cells will be drawn much larger, but as they draw worker brood comb and you rotate it out they will start to draw smaller cells until they are comfortable.

I hope MB will chime in for you.

Scott
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mushmushi
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« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2011, 08:53:46 PM »


Thanks for the reply.

Tomorrow I must go and measure some brood frames from last year.

What do you guys do with the big storage cells? They should still be okay for honey supers, right ?

Do you guys use drone comb in honey supers or do you melt them?

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Michael Bush
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« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2011, 09:01:41 PM »

I often see the 7mm drone cells and often see some 6mm drone cells.  I leave the drone combs in the brood nest and put them on the outside edges.
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Michael Bush
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mushmushi
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« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2011, 09:10:41 PM »

Hi Michael, thanks for replying Smiley

I often see the 7mm drone cells and often see some 6mm drone cells.  I leave the drone combs in the brood nest and put them on the outside edges.

In one hive body, I've found 4 frames full of drones. Would you leave all of them inside the brood nest or only 2 ?

Also, what kind of cell sizes do you have in your honey supers ?  I'm haven't found that information on your site.

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mushmushi
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« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2011, 11:43:32 PM »



Ohh... I was able to get a lot of answers from this post:

http://forum.beemaster.com/index.php/topic,25967.0.html
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2011, 12:24:44 AM »

I would leave them all.
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Michael Bush
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BjornBee
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« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2011, 10:09:53 AM »

With a system such as the Warre hive, where constant undersupering forces new brood comb to be drawn all the time, you quickly realize that bees do not readily regress to some size compatible with calling it "smallcell".

I have also rotated in frames in my TBH for years, and they do not build or regress to smallcell.

So your left in my opinion, forcing them to unnaturally draw smallcell foundation.

Funny thing is, even after being on smallcell comb, and then offering them foundation strips to build additional brood comb, the bees do not stay at the smallcell size.

Just my observations.

Of course, I have said for years now, since smallcell did not show in my hives some magical ability to crowd out mites from reproducing from not having enough room (Early smallcell claims), and the later claims of mite limitation due to shorter capping times, that forcing bees on smallcell was a non-issue.

I'd much rather allow bees to draw comb by foundationless systems. And forget the whole three year regression and selection as previously protocol called for.
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mushmushi
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« Reply #8 on: April 29, 2011, 05:39:44 PM »

Hi Mike,

How do you control varroa in your hives ?  Do you use formic acid ?

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BjornBee
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« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2011, 06:54:38 AM »

Hi Mike,

How do you control varroa in your hives ?  Do you use formic acid ?



My IPM approach involves natural triggers, an understanding of nature, equipment options, genetic selection, and a management approach that gives the bees the best chance at handling mites themselves.

Without writing a book, I'll mention one or two items.

Bees requeen almost every year. Without beekeeper intervention, bees will swarm in feral colonies, or manged hives, at a rate of 90% of all hives every year. As a beekeeper, I want to "control" my swarming so as too maximize my honey production, or do it without losing a bunch of bees. So like many beekeepers, I use good swarm prevention techniques.

But what benefits are you losing by not allowing your hives to swarm, and then having older queens in the hives from year to year? Studies have shown that younger queens outproduce, overwinter better, and deal with disease better. A first year queen also swarms less than a second year queen due. Not for the mere fact that all queens will be replaced anyways in nature. But by beekeeper control, the bees are driven to replace older queens at a higher desire, as you have older queens.

So by delaying this swarming and using splitting, requeening, brood breaks, later in the season, you can still reap the benefits what they normally do anyways, just later in the year, when it is much more beneficial.

Simply put....by stopping a natural thing such as swarming, you lose other natural benefits that gives bees an advantage in having the best chance possible for survival. It's not about not controlling your swarming, it's about understanding the benefits that nature shows you, then using these benefits.

Another area is using the right genetics for your area and climate. If you look at a bee map of where different bees originated, why are there so many types of bees? Why are bees not all the same? Because each region had different climates and demands on the bees. But here in the U.S., we just assume that any bee should be good anywhere we desire to ship them. That is not what nature does. Nature developed different bees in different areas, based on many factors. We as beekeepers ship them all over the place then stand back and wonder why some bees do lousy. Pure ignorance to me. Italians could be used many years ago with no problems. They were very adaptable. But with the problems we have today, using the best bees for your area is a big advantage. And we are not ever going back to the "pre-varroa" days that some still dream about, while they ponder the next new treatment coming out on the market for you to buy.

As you can see, my approach is not about what treatment I will use this year. And no, I don't use acid treatments, or any other mite treatment. You don't have to be fanatic about bees. It's about simply things like understanding the benefits of swarming and realizing some bees do better than others in certain areas around the country. Yes, you will quickly hear other suggest they keep "Italians" in such far off places as Finland, but also realize how much they treat also, while claiming all bees are the same. Its a little deeper than that.  Wink
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