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Author Topic: New Hive Planning (re: Small Cell etc.)  (Read 1204 times)
thomashton
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« on: September 29, 2005, 03:41:48 PM »

Haven't posted in a while, but I am planning on finally beginning with two hives next year. Jones is really close here in Salt Lake City so I will get my supers etc from them, but I do have a couple questions.

I am going to go all mediums for ease of weight and switching of frames.
I like the idea of small cell or starter strips, so my questions:

1) Can I just start off new packages on small cell foundation or do they need to be regressed first?
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?
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?

Thanks for your input
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bassman1977
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« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2005, 04:04:09 PM »

Here's an answer to question #1.  http://www.beemaster.com/beebbs/viewtopic.php?t=3668&highlight=directly. I have to go home now, otherwise I'd help you out with the others.  If nobody has replied when I get home, I'll help you more.
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thomashton
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« Reply #2 on: September 29, 2005, 04:13:36 PM »

Good info there.

Now, Michael got me thinking in his response in that link. He said to never put large cell foundation in if you are trying to regress them. That makes perfect sense.

However, will you get more honey from your supers if you use larger cell foundation? It would seem to me that more surface area would be covered with wax on small cell and thus, you would get less honey.

So, would it be wise to small cell/starter strip the brood chamber and then larger cell the honey supers?
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.
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After 18 months of reading and preparation, my girls finally arrived on April 11th (2006)!
bassman1977
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« Reply #3 on: September 29, 2005, 07:55:25 PM »

I have been talking with Michael and a few others in here for a little while regarding the subject.  I am going to do the starter strips in the brood chambers (at least this is the plan).  You can also regress with the small cell foundation.  Personally, I think the starter strips are the best idea, in the brood chamber at least.  The way I understand it, you will eventually get the smaller cells like that.  When I rotate foundations out in order to regress, I am going to utilize the larger celled stuff in the honey supers and/or regress my other hive with it.

I'm pretty sure this is the way it works.  Michael will jump in I'm sure.  He is by far the expert on the small cell.

Another thing you can do, in order to read up more, is do a search for small cell on this site.  There has been a barage of information posted on the subject recently that you're bound to find the information you are looking for.

Good luck!
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thegolfpsycho
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« Reply #4 on: September 29, 2005, 11:17:36 PM »

If you are regressing your bees, keeping track of the cell size, just move the large cells to the outside, then up.  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, 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.  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.  I established my colonys on drawn comb, used exluders, and used 9 frames of drone comb in the supers.  Much easier extracting and with my income back then primarily coming as lawnmower or car wash money, (excluding the honey "BONANZA") a few less frames was money saved

Jones doesn't carry the small cell supplys, but they can get it for you as they are a Dadant outlet..
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2005, 10:41:16 AM »

>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.

Exactly.

>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.  Smiley

>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.  Smiley
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
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