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Author Topic: More on Small Cell  (Read 2129 times)
bassman1977
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« on: September 27, 2005, 06:57:36 PM »

I am about 90% positive that I am going to regress my hives to small cell next spring.  Depending on the answers that I get for these next questions, that may rise to 95%.

First, is it a necessity to cut the bars down in order to make a 10 frame box 11?  If so, what are the disadvantages to NOT doing this?  Is the chance of fouled up comb drawing higher?

Second, since the bees can go three or four frame "rotations" (for lack of a better word) while regressing, I am thinking it would still be fine to utilize in the honey supers, the combs that were taken out during these rotations (5.4mm and on down the line).  Granted this won't work if utilizing an unlimited brood nest, but I am thinking I may try some other things while utilizing an excluder on my current hives.  For the hives I am going to establish in the spring I will probably go unlimited like I did this year...experimenting with techiniques, I guess you can say.
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Joseph Clemens
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« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2005, 07:10:42 PM »

Quote
First, is it a necessity to cut the bars down in order to make a 10 frame box 11? If so, what are the disadvantages to NOT doing this? Is the chance of fouled up comb drawing higher?


Not essential, but sometimes it can make it easier to get small-cell comb. I've had bees that will make small-cell comb as easy as any, also some bees that would resist making "pretty" small-cell under even the best circumstances.

Quote
Second, since the bees can go three or four frame "rotations" (for lack of a better word) while regressing, I am thinking it would still be fine to utilize in the honey supers, the combs that were taken out during these rotations (5.4mm and on down the line). Granted this won't work if utilizing an unlimited brood nest, but I am thinking I may try some other things while utilizing an excluder on my current hives. For the hives I am going to establish in the spring I will probably go unlimited like I did this year...experimenting with techiniques, I guess you can say.


I almost always use excluders, if there is a flow, the bees don't seem to have any trouble using space above them to store honey. Frames where I have cut out the honey, comb and all, leaving just a remnant of the former comb seem to be built as quickly as foundation and filled with honey. They don't seem to have any difficulty putting honey above an excluder.
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Joseph Clemens
Beekeeping since 1964
10+ years in Tucson, Arizona
12+ hives and 15+ nucs
No chemicals -- no treatments of any kind, EVER.
manowar422
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« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2005, 07:51:43 PM »

Quote
I am thinking I may try some other things while utilizing an excluder on my current hives. For the hives I am going to establish in the spring I will probably go unlimited like I did this year...experimenting with techiniques, I guess you can say.


Bassman,
Did you see this post?
http://beemaster.com/beebbs/viewtopic.php?t=3843
This maybe something to experiment with Smiley
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bassman1977
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« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2005, 07:15:43 AM »

Yeah, I did see that one.  It is a strong possibility that I try that in one of the hives as well.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2005, 07:33:07 AM »

>First, is it a necessity to cut the bars down in order to make a 10 frame box 11?

Not at all.  Most small cell people I know of do not.  But you will get smaller cells more consistently if you do.

> If so, what are the disadvantages to NOT doing this?

Less work?

> Is the chance of fouled up comb drawing higher?

Not really.  Just that the chances of really small cells aren't as good.  I tend to see more 4.9mm (after a couple of regressions)  on the 1 3/8" spacing and more 4.7mm or so on the 1 1/4" spacing.  But 4.9mm is sufficient and you will get it.  Just not as quickly and as reliably.

>Second, since the bees can go three or four frame "rotations" (for lack of a better word) while regressing, I am thinking it would still be fine to utilize in the honey supers, the combs that were taken out during these rotations (5.4mm and on down the line).

And feed them into other unregressed hives so they don't have to go through building those regressions.

> Granted this won't work if utilizing an unlimited brood nest

Actually it will if you put them on the outside edges and in the top box.  The queen is unlikely to get to those places.
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Michael Bush
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Jay
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« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2005, 12:00:21 PM »

Michael-
If you're using all mediums, and some you've planed down to fit 11 frames to a box, and some you are using 8 frames to a box (honey supers), do you ever have a problem shuffling the thicker frames into and out of your brood nests? Or don't you mix frames from 8 to 11 boxes? My idea about keeping all mediums is to make it easy to take a frame of food out of this box and put it in that box to help a weaker hive, or take a frame of brood out of that box and put it in this box etc. But I don't keep small cell so I'm not sure about all the details reguarding this. Of course the other benifit of all mediums (the best one in my opinion) is the weight factor!!! Cheesy
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #6 on: September 28, 2005, 01:41:01 PM »

>If you're using all mediums, and some you've planed down to fit 11 frames to a box, and some you are using 8 frames to a box (honey supers), do you ever have a problem shuffling the thicker frames into and out of your brood nests? Or don't you mix frames from 8 to 11 boxes?

Actually I've cut all of my 10 frame boxes down to 8 frame boxes.  In other words I cut them down from 16 1/4" wide to 13 3/4" wide.  THEN I put 9 of the skinnier 1 1/4" wide frames in them for the brood nest.  But you can put 11 of them in a 10 frame box.

http://www.bushfarms.com/images/8FrameCutdown02.jpg

But, on the subject of thicker and thinner comb, It doesn't matter how you space them the brood portion of the comb will only be so thick.  The honey storage gets thicker.  I generaly have them 9 frames to an eight frame box in the brood chamber and 7 frames to an eight frame box in the supers.  But if the queen wants to lay somwhere, that's fine and if I need to fit some fat combs in an eight frame box with some brood sometimes it ends up with eight or even seven frames or sometimes even six frames in a box.  I do mix up everything.  I have standard width 1 3/8" frames, wax dipped PermaComb(with no spacers on them) and 1 1/4" wide frames.  I shoot for getting 9 in a brood box.  Sometimes it works out that way and sometimes it doesn't.

>My idea about keeping all mediums is to make it easy to take a frame of food out of this box and put it in that box to help a weaker hive, or take a frame of brood out of that box and put it in this box etc.

That is a huge advantage as is being able to bait the next box up with some brood comb.

>But I don't keep small cell so I'm not sure about all the details reguarding this.

You can put the frames anywhere you want.  If one is too thick to allow you to get the number of frames you want in, you space them out evenly and put one less frame in.  Many people run 9 frames in all the boxes including brood.

>Of course the other benifit of all mediums (the best one in my opinion) is the weight factor!!!

Interchanability and weight are what sold me.

Here's an eight frame super on a ten frame brood nest:
http://www.bushfarms.com/images/TenFrameToEight.JPG

And here's two eight frame hives with a ten frame in the middle:
http://www.bushfarms.com/images/EightTenEightHives.jpg
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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
Dale
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« Reply #7 on: September 28, 2005, 08:01:54 PM »

I regressed down, and still have mites. I bought the deep foundations, wired, embedded, and went to town.  I had about 3 rotations, and spent alot of time and money, to get the same mite counts as I get from my plastic peircos. (Sugar roll method)  And, I get much more uniform and consistancy from the piercos.  The bees will draw out 4.9's one year. and in the spring might change it?  It has happened to me, so I switched to the 5.2 cell size.   Further, I removed several swarms, and their cell sizes vary considerably.  Another question that always plagues me, is:  Why is Brushy Mountain the only commercial supplier to make deep foundation.  I just think if small cell is the future, why doesn't the industry blossom with foundations?  Don't get me wrong, I still have a few hives on small cell, but I'm not exactly convinced as of yet.


I have not tried forcing 11 frames into a ten frame box, but there again, you are getting away from standard, and it becomes "another" hassle.
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Dale Richards
Dal-Col Apiaries
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Joseph Clemens
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« Reply #8 on: September 28, 2005, 08:37:47 PM »

Dadant also supplies small-cell wax foundation and until recently they also supplied an all-plastic small-cell foundation.
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Joseph Clemens
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #9 on: September 29, 2005, 07:21:43 AM »

> Further, I removed several swarms, and their cell sizes vary considerably.

Which is why I prefer foundationless.  Maybe those variable sizes are for a reason.  And the "foundation" is much cheaper. Smiley

>Why is Brushy Mountain the only commercial supplier to make deep foundation.

Actually Dadant is the only commercial supplier to make small cell foundation and only in deeps.  But Brushy Mt. sells it.

>I just think if small cell is the future, why doesn't the industry blossom with foundations?

Because not that many people are convinced.  Also there's not that much more money in selling small cell than large cell and there's plenty of money in selling chemicals.
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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
Michael Bush
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« Reply #10 on: September 29, 2005, 09:12:44 AM »

>I have not tried forcing 11 frames into a ten frame box, but there again, you are getting away from standard, and it becomes "another" hassle.

Not much force involved.  Just a slightly skinnier end bar.  They are pretty interchangable.  It's not like you can't mix them up with your other frames if you only want ten frames in a box.  I just mark them so I know what to expect.

>I regressed down, and still have mites.

I saw my first small cell hive with a mite problem this fall (they all have mites of course).  It was a hive I have in town and had a Cordovan queen.  I requeened with the feral survivors.  Hopefully they can turn it around.   We'll see how they do now.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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Dale
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« Reply #11 on: October 01, 2005, 09:48:48 AM »

-->Not much force involved. Just a slightly skinnier end bar. They are pretty interchangable. It's not like you can't mix them up with your other frames if you only want ten frames in a box. I just mark them so I know what to expect.

Thats what I mean.  I can't mix them up, they become their own thing.  If it becomes a failed attemp, I am stuck with something I will not use.  I know its not that expensive, but I would much rather stay standard.

I know all bees have mites.  And, I'm not getting down on small cell at all.  All I am saying is, I'm not convinced, and I use common sense.  I almost lost all of my hives by going against common sense, and it will not happen again.  I have too much invested so far, to say,"  Well I lost 50% of my hives last year, but I'm still chemical free."  That makes no sense at all to me.  I guess I am in the middle.  I use the least amount of chemicals as possible, but enough not to lose money. The idea is to become profitable.


I know you are raising your own queens from feral stock.  That is probably more of the answer to the mite problem than anything else.  I am raising queens, from combination breeding, and added feral set of genetics into the mix this year. I took her from a house, between the studs, and the bees were very dark, gentle, and built to my surprise, very little drone comb.  I hope this is one of those blueprinted codes, that I can capitalize on.
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Dale Richards
Dal-Col Apiaries
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #12 on: October 01, 2005, 09:56:27 PM »

>Thats what I mean. I can't mix them up, they become their own thing. If it becomes a failed attemp, I am stuck with something I will not use. I know its not that expensive, but I would much rather stay standard.

You can mix them up all you want.  1 1/4" is natural comb spacing for brood.  1 1/2" or larger is natural comb spacing for honey.  1 3/8" is just a comprimise.  If you mix 1 1/4" frames with 1 3/8" frames it works fine.

It's not just a "small cell" thing.  Others have done 1 1/4" spacing before the small cell movement.  Including Charlse Koover.

http://www.beesource.com/cgi-bin/ubbcgi/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=12;t=000438#000011
http://nordykebeefarm.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=28&PN=1
http://www.beesource.com/cgi-bin/ubbcgi/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=2;t=003649#000000
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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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