>1) Can I just start off new packages on small cell foundation or do they need to be regressed first?
Start them on small cell or let them build natural comb. How else would you regress them?
>2) If I just use starter strips for the brood chambers, would it be best to cut a small cell foundation down for the strip or should I use blank wax?
Either works fine. I've done a lot of both.
>3) Should I use starter strips for the brood chambers, but switch to full foundation for the honey supers so as not to waste time so they can sock away the honey faster, or does this not really save them much time?
IMO full sheets of foundation costs them time. The indecision and reworking of the foundation takes them longer than building their own comb does. I would use the starter strips for all of it. Or a comb guide of some kind. I like the wood comb guide better than the starter strips because the starter strips still sometimes fall out or sag or get bent and the comb guides never do.
>However, will you get more honey from your supers if you use larger cell foundation?
No noticable difference.
>It would seem to me that more surface area would be covered with wax on small cell and thus, you would get less honey.
But the thickness of the walls on comb is .1mm which is negligible.
>So, would it be wise to small cell/starter strip the brood chamber and then larger cell the honey supers?
I don't think so because I don't use an excluder and I want an unlimited brood nest. I want the queen to be able to lay as much as she is willing. But if you want to use an excluder and you want larger cells in the honey supers use drone comb. If you don't want to use an exclulder use 7/11. The 7/11 will discourage the queen from laying in the supers while giving you 5.7mm cell size. If you believe the size is a waste in the supers then the drone comb will give you 6.6mm cell size.
>The only problem I see with this is with interchangability. You would have to mark your frames as brood and honey frames and you wouldn't have the freedom originally planned by going all one size brood/super.
>I think the starter strips are the best idea, in the brood chamber at least.
I'd use them everywhere, but you can use full sheets everywhere if you like too. Or (with mediums) half sheets with a gap at the bottom.
>I am going to utilize the larger celled stuff in the honey supers and/or regress my other hive with it.
Of course once you finally have some 4.9mm comb you can use that to regress even faster, but until then, the 5.1mm or 5.2mm will still be a step in the right direction.
>If you are regressing your bees, keeping track of the cell size, just move the large cells to the outside, then up.
That's what I'd do. Just move them to the outside or the top as you go.
>As you start new hives, you can use the partially regressed comb to give them a head start. M Bush says you can regress in one step with packages, or shaken swarms
If you have 4.9mm drawn comb, yes.
>but it didn't work for me that simply. Somewhere between keeping the comb building going, I decided I needed production and started supering with standard foundation. I don't like excluders anymore, and soon the queens were up in the 3rd boxes filling them up.... undoing everything I had done prior.
That's why I wouldn't leave it in the hive. :)
>If your going to go to the effort of really monitoring your comb, once you get them regressed, it is a simple matter to use drone comb or 7/11 comb in the supers. It's something that has been done on and off for 40 or more years, and when I first started out back in the 60's was routine.
Exactly. At lest if the queen decides to lay a bunch of drone it won't unregress your workers. :)