Every success story I've heard regarding small cell can not be duplicated. Those that it works for don't even know why, or how, it works. They just blindly go on believing it works when the studies say otherwise. That's fine for them, but don't impose it on me. Similar thought processes worked for the Greeks and their system of gods. Blind faith. I think I'll pass.
But why not use small cell? If you are going to be purchasing foundation, why not have it be small cell? Small cell foundation is harder to find, and usually more expensive. Usually the same with pre-built frames with plastic foundation. So there is a greater cost involved. But even if we can get it for the same price, if it isn't working, why do it? If we don't know if it works or not, why do it? I have one hive that has less mites on it because I let fruit rot on top of the cover. Why not throw rotting fruit on all my covers? Because I'm not convinced it matters.
why not have it be small cell? Small cell foundation is harder to find, and usually more expensive.
It is? The PF120's I got from Mann Lake were under $2.00 each when I ordered 300 of them a couple years ago. No assembly required. So it was cheaper and less labor intensive.
Natural or small cell does not HURT, it is the same cost, so why not try it? If you are already established on large cell it takes a couple generations to get the bees to draw small cell without messing up or ignoring the small cell foundation and drawing what they want over top of it.... Letting them make/draw foundation less will get them starting down the right path. It was pretty simple to regress my bees... In a couple of situations I needed foundation, and all I had with me was the small cell frames.. installed them, forgot about them, and found them well drawn when I did find them again.
I do NOT claim small cell makes a difference, but I do say it does not HURT the situation.
I use a LOT of foundation less, and my bees typically draw out the equivalent of two frames of drone brood. Some bees a half a frame more, some bees half a frame less.. I love it. When i need to check for mites I decap the drone brood and count the mites in each cell, then average them all out to see if I need to treat.
The bees I have with better resistances seem to do better with small and natural cell. The generic bees I "had" it did not seem to matter one whit if I had them on small cell or large cell..
I dont own bees with no resistance any more. I personally feel it is irresponsible of me to buy generic bees. Irresponsible to my neighbors, and the feral colonies nearby. I refuse to send out generic drones that will undermine any possible resistance that has started, in my bees, the neighbors bees or the feral bee colonies. It is as bad or worse than keeping MEAN bees.