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Author Topic: Natural nest structure, starting with primary comb...  (Read 1983 times)
Phoenix
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Location: Middle of The Great Lakes State, Milford, MI


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« on: July 01, 2005, 11:10:00 PM »

A local hobbiest and I had a discussion recently about my decals I have been selling, to label the tops of the frames with the "Housel" position.  I am posting this pic and info for him to see what I have documented from my own observations.  Maybe the rest of you will find this interesting as well...  

This is a close up of the primary comb, notice the tops of the cells are flat. This is not the typical construction of the comb structure, but rather what some people have documented as the first comb to be drawn in the center of the brood nest, and labeled as the primary comb. There are two very distinct characteristics of the primary comb, the first being one of the flat sides of the hex shape of the cell being at the top, typical cells have a corner of the cell at the top of the cell structure to give it more structural integrity. The second very distinct characteristic of the primary comb, is the position of the "Y" that you can see shining through the bottom of the cells in the center of this pic. In a typical honeycomb cell the "Y" looks like just that, a "Y", but by viewing this frame from the opposite side, the "Y"s will then be inverted. Some people claim that on the primary comb this "Y" is turned 90 degrees, but I believe it is a much simpler adjustment that the bees make. To acquire this sideways "Y" that appears in the photo, the bees can simply adjust their building of this cell structure by a mere 30 degrees, either clockwise or counter-clockwise and the "Y" will appear to have been tilted 90 degrees.
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Phoenix
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Location: Middle of The Great Lakes State, Milford, MI


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« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2005, 01:54:35 AM »

Here is a photo of the frame adjoining the primary comb in the other picture. Out of curiosity, I gathered three center frames out of a hive that had housed a swarm from late fall of 2004. The hive had cold starved over winter, and these frames were clear of most brood, allowing me to get good measurements of the majority of empty comb.  I started laying the ruler on the comb to measure whether or not the size of these cells were close to that of natural sized or small cell bees, of which the comb is suppose to measure 49 centimeters across 10 cells in order to average out the cells at 4.9mm each.  As I have done this often, I line up the left edge of the scale on the outside of a cell wall and look at the mark at 49 centimeters to see how close this mark comes to the nearest cell wall.  The cell wall just happened to fall right on the  mark, so I just chalked it up to another small cell  colony, and didn't think too much about it.  It wasn't until I had sent this pic off to another beekeeper and got his response, that it was brought to my attention there were actually 11 cells that fit in that span of 49 centimeters.  As you see these cells average 4.4mm, which is smaller than the acclaimed size of 4.9mm for natural size bees.  I immediately inserted these frames into the core of a nuc,  to utilise this very small comb.  I took measurements of the rest of the comb and the cells were fairly uniform as you can see in the surrounding cells in the photo, all of which were between 4.4 and 4.9mm, the frame on the other side of the primary comb measured between 4.6 and 5.1mm.

Some beekeepers say cells of this size are only drawn in the spring to early summer.  The evidence says otherwise.

Too bad we had such a cold winter here in Michigan, and these girls got locked down and couldn't move over another frame or so to get the honey they needed to keep warm.

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Phoenix
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« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2005, 02:11:50 AM »

Here is a wider angle of the foundationless frame containing the primary comb.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2005, 01:43:19 PM »

I can't see the pictures.  Any suggestions?
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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
qa33010
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« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2005, 02:53:56 PM »

I can't either.
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Everyone said it couldn't be done. But he with a chuckle replied, "I won't be one to say it is so, until I give it a try."  So he buckled right in with a trace of a grin.  If he had a worry he hid it and he started to sing as he tackled that thing that couldn't be done, and he did it.  (unknown)
Phoenix
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Posts: 139

Location: Middle of The Great Lakes State, Milford, MI


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« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2005, 03:37:04 PM »

I could see them last night, after I finally figured out how to post the images properly...

Here are the links, until I can figure out the problem.

First post pic... http://photos.bravenet.com/231/110/758/8EE590A4DA.jpg

Secong...http://photos.bravenet.com/231/110/758/76C3A15BAF.jpg

Third...[url]http://photos.bravenet.com/231/110/758/8F0FE535A6.jpg[/url

Nevermind, those don't work either... I'll post again in a little while with something else.]
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Phoenix
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Posts: 139

Location: Middle of The Great Lakes State, Milford, MI


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« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2005, 03:45:22 PM »

Try this...  I hate to take viewers away from this site, but this is the only way I can get it to work right now.

http://greatlakes.bravejournal.com/
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