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Author Topic: “Regression and Disease” The more I read the more confused I become.  (Read 3354 times)
BabcockFarms
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« on: February 09, 2012, 08:59:12 PM »

As I have stated before, I have not even started raising bees. I am preparing to start with two hives with two additional hives ready for an opportunity. I am looking to minimize noob mistakes.

Reading over every inch of this and other sources, I see benefits to small cell size and no downside to small cell size. So correct me if I have missed something.

As someone just starting out it appears that it would be beneficial starting off with the goal of regression in mind. How is this best obtained, starting from scratch?

It looks like the collective is steering towards Mann Lake’s PF-120 frames then foundationless frames or small cell foundation. Do you start off with a full brood box full of PF-120’s and add foundationless frames to the mix as they draw out and fill comb, slowly replace some of the PF-120’s with foundationless frames as a gradual move, or starting off with foundationless frames and let nature dictate what is the normal cell size. If you go foundationless from the start will the bees naturally draw out smaller cells or is it better to help them along with some PF-120’s. What impact does this have on the bees to start off foundationless.

What kind of ratio would you suggest if mixing the two and how long would you leave the PF-120’s in if the goal is foundationless frames.

A second question is when receiving a package of bees how great of a risk is there bringing disease into your hive. If there is a risk what should be done to minimize the impact.
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Ron Babcock

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Vance G
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« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2012, 09:10:01 PM »

The Collective Hell, the only Borg here is Finski!  "Resistence to Drizzling is Futile!"  Michael Bush has stated the case for what you are proposing most eloquently.  If you go read about it at his site, I can add nothing.  Get your package from a reputable breeder.  Don't get the cheapest or the most expensive.  Try to get bees from as close to you as possible, they suffer in transit, especially in small numbers of packages.  If you put packages directly on the ML frames, the bees will start downsizing their cell size rapidly.  You may still need to scrape frames full of wild shapes and burr comb to let them rebuild it.  Many not so old threads on this subject, but go to MB's fine site for a start. 
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kathyp
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« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2012, 09:11:43 PM »

research shows no benefit to small cell.  if you want to do it, there is no harm except that the catalogs seem to think it's a little difficult for beginners. i don't know why but it might be just that it gives people a false sense of security on the mite problems.
  natural cell has the advantages of being fresh wax, and of giving the bees the option to draw whatever size cell they need for what they are doing.

brood cell size gets smaller with repeated use.  that's regression of a sort  smiley

since i don't do small cell, that's about as much as i can answer for you.  
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« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2012, 09:46:44 PM »

I avoid things that seem un-necessarily complicated, like small cell.  There is a big enough learning curve with bees as it is, without throwing in cell sizes.  Odds are you’ll have a lot more failures the first year that have absolutely nothing to do with cell sizes. 

If you want to go that direction though, I would just start with the PF-120 frames and stop worrying about it.  The bees will build on the PF-120s if they are waxed well.  The baby bees in the PF-120s will then be the golden 4.9mm bees.  I would then start pulling PF-120 frames, one at a time, and stuffing in a foundationless if you want to ultimately end up with “natural small cell”.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2012, 10:05:58 PM »

>It looks like the collective is steering towards Mann Lake’s PF-120 frames then foundationless frames or small cell foundation.

There are many paths to the goal.  If you are looking the most sure thing that is the easiest, probably either the PF100 series (PF120s are mediums) or the Honey Super Cell will do it in one fall swoop, since the bees usually draw the PF120s perfectly on the first try and the HSC is already drawn.  The down side to the HSC is it sets them back about two weeks getting it accepted.  But it's permanent 4.9mm.

>Do you start off with a full brood box full of PF-120’s and add foundationless frames to the mix as they draw out and fill comb, slowly replace some of the PF-120’s with foundationless frames as a gradual move, or starting off with foundationless frames and let nature dictate what is the normal cell size. If you go foundationless from the start will the bees naturally draw out smaller cells or is it better to help them along with some PF-120’s. What impact does this have on the bees to start off foundationless.

Any of that works.  I would just leave the PF120s and after the first box of those, add foundationless if you prefer.  No need to swap anything out.  You start with the PF120s you'll have smaller bees and you do whatever you like from there.

>What kind of ratio would you suggest if mixing the two and how long would you leave the PF-120’s in if the goal is foundationless frames.

If you goal is foundationless, I would only pull the plastic when it's empty, which in the spring much of it will be.

>I avoid things that seem un-necessarily complicated, like small cell.  There is a big enough learning curve with bees as it is, without throwing in cell sizes.  Odds are you’ll have a lot more failures the first year that have absolutely nothing to do with cell sizes.

You'll have missed one full regression if you start with large cell, and there is nothing whatsoever complicated about filling a box with PF120s.
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Michael Bush
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BabcockFarms
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« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2012, 10:44:19 PM »

You state the downside is it sets them back two weeks getting it accepted. So are you saying the package would not accept a manufactured frame as fast. Can you elaborate on this.
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Ron Babcock

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Michael Bush
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« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2012, 12:21:34 AM »

>You state the downside is it sets them back two weeks getting it accepted. So are you saying the package would not accept a manufactured frame as fast. Can you elaborate on this.

They will start drawing the PF120s or PF100s or wax foundation or foundationless immediately.  The HSC is already drawn and you would think that would be faster, but they don't care for it and the queen will refuse to lay in it for about two weeks, in my experience.  After that they use it like any other comb.  But it takes them that long to accept it and polish it with propolis and the queen to start laying in it.  Which sets them back about two weeks behind a package on any kind of foundation.  After that they will catch up fairly quickly.

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Michael Bush
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Finski
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« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2012, 01:48:29 AM »

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YOu will find from google new researches which tell that small cell does not work. Life will teach more.


http://www.springerlink.com/content/n8u363062n604l47/

Abstract 2009
Due to a continuing shift toward reducing/minimizing the use of chemicals in honey bee colonies, we explored the possibility of using small cell foundation as a varroa control. Based on the number of anecdotal reports supporting small cell as an efficacious varroa control tool, we hypothesized that bee colonies housed on combs constructed on small cell foundation would have lower varroa populations and higher adult bee populations and more cm2 brood. To summarize our results, we found that the use of small cell foundation did not significantly affect cm2 total brood, total mites per colony, mites per brood cell, or mites per adult bee, but did affect adult bee population for two sampling months. Varroa levels were similar in all colonies throughout the study. We found no evidence that small cell foundation was beneficial with regard to varroa control under the tested conditions in Florida.


http://www.beebehavior.com/small_cell_comb_varroa_mites.php
Small-cell comb foundation does not impede Varroa mite population growth in honey bee colonies
Jennifer A. Berry, William B. Owens, Keith S. Delaplane

   Abstract - In three independently replicated field studies, we compared biometrics of Varroa mite and honey bee populations in bee colonies housed on one of two brood cell types: small-cell (4.9 ± 0.08 mm cell width, walls inclusive) or conventional-cell (5.3 ± 0.04). In one of the studies, ending colony bee population was significantly higher in small-cell colonies (14994 ± 2494 bees) than conventional-cell (5653 ± 1082). However, small-cell colonies were significantly higher for mite population in brood (359.7 ± 87.4 vs. 134.5 ± 38.7), percentage of mite population in brood (49.4 ± 7.1 vs. 26.8 ± 6.7), and mites per 100 adult bees (5.1 ± 0.9 vs. 3.3 ± 0.5). With the three remaining ending Varroa population metrics, mean trends for small-cell were unfavorable. We conclude that small-cell comb technology does not impede Varroa population growth.
 

http://www.mendeley.com/research/smallcell-comb-not-control-v-arroa-mites-colonies-honeybees-european-origin/

2011 USA
Abstract
We tested the idea that Varroa destructor can be controlled in colonies of the European subspecies of Apis mellifera by providing them with combs built of small cells, in which immature mites might have difficulty developing for lack of space. We established seven pairs of equal-size colonies that started out equally infested with mites. In each pair, one hive contained only standard-cell (5.4 mm) comb, and the other contained only small-cell (4.8 mm) comb. We measured the colonies' mite loads at monthly intervals across a summer. No differences arose between the two treatment groups in their mean mite loads (mites per 100 worker bees or mite drop per 48 h). We suggest that providing small-cell combs did not inhibit mite reproduction because the fill factor (thorax width/cell width) was only slightly higher in the small cells than in the standard cells (79% and 73%, respectively).

« Last Edit: February 10, 2012, 02:51:26 AM by Finski » Logged

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FRAMEshift
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« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2012, 08:04:17 AM »

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http://www.springerlink.com/content/n8u363062n604l47/

To summarize our results, we found that the use of small cell foundation did not significantly affect cm2 total brood, total mites per colony, mites per brood cell, or mites per adult bee, but did affect adult bee population for two sampling months.


Finski, I have a question about how to interpret these results.  They found 3 times as many bees in the small cell colonies.  How is that possible if the total brood area is the same?  Yes there are maybe 30% more cells in the same brood area with small cell, but not 300% (three times) as many.  Are these "magic bees" that appear from the air or is this study flawed in some way?

If I could get three times as many bees on small cell, that would be a very good reason to use small cell, even if it had no effect on mites.

One explanation is that the small cell bees are surviving the mites better at the early stages of brood rearing or are going through more brood rearing cycles.  If they go through more cycles, that would explain why they have the same number of mites even if the small cell reduces mite counts in each generation.
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Finski
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« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2012, 09:00:39 AM »


  They found 3 times as many bees in the small cell colonies.  How is that possible if the total brood area is the same?  

I do not know how you found it.
Same brood area and 3 times more bees ....jee jee

Diameter 4,9 mm is 7,5% smaller than 5,3 mm.

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FRAMEshift
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« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2012, 10:44:05 AM »


I do not know how you found it.
Same brood area and 3 times more bees ....jee jee

Diameter 4,9 mm is 7,5% smaller than 5,3 mm.

That was my point.  It shouldn't be 3 times as many bees.  But if you read the article, that's what they found.  
"ending colony bee population was significantly higher in small-cell colonies (14994 ± 2494 bees) than conventional-cell (5653 ± 1082)."

Three times as many bees on small cell.  Either the study was too small to give any reliable results, or small cell is really speeding the brood rearing.  

Since the area is the same and the smaller cells only give you a small percentage increase in number of cells per unit area, the only way to get more bees is to have earlier brood rearing, more efficient use of brood cells (i.e. more brood cycles per cell per unit time) or much better survival of bees.   If I believed this study (which I do not) I would be using small cell to get more bees.
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Finski
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« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2012, 10:56:39 AM »

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And how big is totally your hive. My hives have 5-7 boxes and you hives have 15-20 langstroth boxes?
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BabcockFarms
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« Reply #12 on: February 10, 2012, 11:15:12 AM »

Maybe I should have stated my question differently as I didn’t want to start another debate on the merits of regression. I have read both sides of the issue and have not decided which way I plan to go.

What I would like help understanding is when starting a “virgin” hive (one without any comb to start with). Is it better to start with empty frames (foundation or foundationless) versus a mixture of empty frames along with PF-100 or a similar product that has larger cells. I know Michael said it takes them longer to accept the frames. If it takes two weeks to accept it would they pull enough comb in this two week period to offset the acceptance period and be better off just using wood frames?
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Ron Babcock

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Finski
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« Reply #13 on: February 10, 2012, 11:34:03 AM »

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I just phoned to one friend who has kept 15 years small cells with Elgon bees. He said that he is only small cell beekeeper in Finland. His mother language is Swdish and he told that that tehre are several small cell beekeeprs in Sweden

http://www.elgon.se/index-eng.htm

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« Reply #14 on: February 10, 2012, 02:06:49 PM »

Babcock, I believe the answer to your question is to start out will all PF frames as Michael said in post #6.  If the PF frames are waxed well the bees will start immediately drawing them out as Michael said.  That way you get 4.9 sized bees in the next generation of bees (21 days in the future).  Once you have those small sized bees, they can then build small sized natural comb if you THEN stick in a foundationless frame. 

You have to get them to a small size FIRST though before they will build small cell on a foundationless frame.  You may also want to wait a few weeks for the original bees (large sized) to die off before sticking in the foundationless frames.  Check with MB. 

Michael said there would only be a delay if you’re using pre-drawn Honey SuperCell  (HSC) frames; those things are a different beast all together than the PF frames.  The PF frames are a mainstream bee keeping item, the HSC is a specialty item. 

Quote
Three times as many bees on small cell.  Either the study was too small to give any reliable results, or small cell is really speeding the brood rearing. 
Frame, maybe the large cell bees drifted over to the small cell hives grin

Not very many bees in that study were there?  5K to 15K?  Pretty small hives.
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Finski
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« Reply #15 on: February 10, 2012, 02:16:30 PM »

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My normal hive in July. Should it be 3 times bigger?

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« Reply #16 on: February 10, 2012, 05:36:18 PM »

Frame, maybe the large cell bees drifted over to the small cell hives grin
That's got to be it.  evil
Quote
Not very many bees in that study were there?  5K to 15K?  Pretty small hives.

I think this may be a problem with the small cell research in general.  They are short term studies with immature hives.  A new hive on standard foundation usually doesn't have a problem with mites the first year because they are started in April from a package so there is a brood break.  That may be why researchers don't see a difference between small cell and standard foundation in these studies.  If the tests ran for two years or more, there might be an effect.
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« Reply #17 on: February 10, 2012, 05:53:06 PM »

.
My normal hive in July. Should it be 3 times bigger?

I said I don't believe the study.  You are the one who put forward this study as valid.  If it's valid, how do you account for the larger number of bees with small cell?   I think this study has too many uncontrolled variables to reach a conclusion.
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BabcockFarms
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« Reply #18 on: February 10, 2012, 09:27:55 PM »

BlueBee, I was thinking that the PF frames were the same as HSC. Your reply had me questioning what I had understood to be. Googling images of PF Frames and HSC frames I now understand that they are not one in the same. Online catalogs can be a bit misleading if you have a preconceived idea of what they are describing. I need to follow my own advise and step back and look at the bigger picture. Now there is more clarity.

Michael, sorry sometimes I can be a bit dense; I’m still trying to get the lingo down. But as always you keep challenging me to learn more and more. What a fascinating study this has become!

The PF frames seem to be the same as wood frames and wax foundation only plastic frame and plastic foundation sprayed with wax.

If I now understand correctly the difference, is there an advantage of PF frames versus something like Mann Lakes FN-267 a medium brood wax foundation with a 4.9 mm cell?

I am leaning towards foundationless frames as my standard frame once established.
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Ron Babcock

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« Reply #19 on: February 10, 2012, 10:27:38 PM »

The PF frames seem to be the same as wood frames and wax foundation only plastic frame and plastic foundation sprayed with wax.
That is correct if you mean that the pf frames just have an imprint of the base of a 4.9 mm cell, like wax foundation has.  The HSC is "drawn comb" since the entire cell is rendered in plastic coated with wax.
Quote
If I now understand correctly the difference, is there an advantage of PF frames versus something like Mann Lakes FN-267 a medium brood wax foundation with a 4.9 mm cell?
Many of the folks using plastic frame/foundation are doing it to avoid contaminated wax.  Since the pf frames only have a light coating of wax, the total amount of commercial wax being introduced is small.  The pf frames also have the advantage that if the bees re-work it to make larger cells, you can easily scrape it down to the plastic base and start over.  I've never had to do that, but it is an option.

But the main reason I use pf frames for regressing large bees is that it has proven to work in one step.  The other frames you mention may also work, but I haven't tried them.
Quote

I am leaning towards foundationless frames as my standard frame once established.

That's what we do.  Just remember that you will save yourself lots of work and wasted wax if you get your bees completely regressed before you add the foundationless frames.  That means that you have kept the bees on pf frames only for at least 6 weeks (8 would be better) so all the original package bees have died or become foragers.   Also, when you start adding foundationless frames, you might as well remove all the undrawn pf frames, because the bees will not put much effort into drawing them once they have the foundationless frames.
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