Welcome, Guest

Author Topic: Why not try small cell?  (Read 11762 times)

Offline specialkayme

  • Field Bee
  • ***
  • Posts: 935
  • Gender: Male
Re: Why not try small cell?
« Reply #20 on: October 21, 2012, 05:59:12 PM »
Why not try small cell? Because I'm not convinced it makes a difference. Every study that I've read on the topic either states that the results are inconclusive, or that small cell has no effect on varroa reproductivity. One study I've read actually states the opposite.

The theories as to why small cell works are nice, but they are just that. Theories. Without proof that it works, I'm not interested in switching just yet. If evidence presents itself that it does work, I'll be interested in switching.

I went foundationless for approximately 5 years. In the end my hives crashed due to varroa (among other things) and I was left with 0 hives. My cell sizes varied, but were larger than they were "supposed" to be. I guess no one told my bees. If foundationless didn't work, I don't have much confidence small cell will work.

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.

Online Michael Bush

  • Universal Bee
  • *******
  • Posts: 14860
  • Gender: Male
    • bushfarms.com
Re: Why not try small cell?
« Reply #21 on: October 22, 2012, 09:19:46 PM »
> 1) leads to smaller bees which are harder for mites to stay attached

I have never heard that one.

> 2) less room for mite to reproduce in cell. 

There have actually been some studies on that one.
http://www.apidologie.org/index.php?option=com_article&access=doi&doi=10.1051/apido:2001007&Itemid=129

>Any other beliefs on why small cell may help with mite problem?  (Or have I missed the point already?)

Pre and post capping times would seem the most logical (one day less of each) considering the life cycle of the Varroa.  Another would be the psuedo drone theory proposed by Dee Lusby, which is that on natural cell size the Varroa do not tend to reproduce in worker cells, preferring drones, but on large cell they mistake the large cell workers for drone cells.  There are also observations of more biting of mites and more chewing out of brood on small cell.
Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm en espanol: bushfarms.com/es_bees.htm  auf deutsche: bushfarms.com/de_bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
-------------------
"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen

Offline specialkayme

  • Field Bee
  • ***
  • Posts: 935
  • Gender: Male
Re: Why not try small cell?
« Reply #22 on: October 22, 2012, 10:30:22 PM »
There are also observations of more biting of mites and more chewing out of brood on small cell.


I haven't heard of those observations.

According to Marla Spivak, chewing or biting of mites is a hereditary trait. Much like VSH. I don't think having bees on small cell could promote any type of genetic trait any faster than having bees on any other type of cell size. It would be the equivalent to say those bees on small cell are more "cordovan" than those that are not. The cell size doesn't determine the bees genetic makeup. I would think any observations showing a correlation between chewing and biting on the one hand and cell size on the other are just a coincidental observation.

But hey. I'd love to be wrong :)

Speaking of, why isn't anyone selecting for a gene that promotes grooming? Or chewing?

Offline Chrisd4421

  • House Bee
  • **
  • Posts: 51
  • Gender: Male
Re: Why not try small cell?
« Reply #23 on: October 22, 2012, 11:17:06 PM »
For me, I go foundationless to allow the bees to do what they do best.  They have been doing it for thousands and thousands of years without our intervention.  As with any life cycle, there will be good times, bad times and allowing nature to rule, the strong will survive.  I feel honored to be able to witness their ecosystem and in return, I try to intervene as little as possible.

Small, large, natural  cell size? I need to ask my bees.

Chris in nj

Offline Fox Creek

  • Field Bee
  • ***
  • Posts: 570
  • Gender: Male
Re: Why not try small cell?
« Reply #24 on: October 23, 2012, 11:25:23 PM »
    Thank you all who responded to my Question, "why not try small cell". Some large cell beekeepers have tried the small cell and had little or no improvement. There are studies showing small cell show no improvement. Then there are those who insist success with small cell. (I have seen the Nebraska inspection sheets showing 0 mite problems over a period of several years at M. Bush's website.) I do not think those who support small cell are being misleading in the least. It has worked for them! So far so good for me.
    If I was starting out new again, I would still go small cell as I see no downside. Starting large cell seems to be counter productive.

    p.s.  I agree, getting to the point where most of our frames are foundationless would be best.   
   

Offline kathyp

  • Universal Bee
  • *******
  • Posts: 15658
  • Gender: Female
Re: Why not try small cell?
« Reply #25 on: October 23, 2012, 11:49:12 PM »
if i may make a point about MB's mite counts...and not at all to put down anything he says or does...lord knows i have gone to his site for answers lots of times....but he, and some others, do many  things other than small cell .  breeding for mite and disease resistant bees is probably more the reason for success than the size of the cell used.
.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville

Offline Fox Creek

  • Field Bee
  • ***
  • Posts: 570
  • Gender: Male
Re: Why not try small cell?
« Reply #26 on: October 23, 2012, 11:54:14 PM »
Thank you Kathyp. I will keep this in mind and continue to learn from you and other experienced beekeepers! I have soooo much to learn!

Online Michael Bush

  • Universal Bee
  • *******
  • Posts: 14860
  • Gender: Male
    • bushfarms.com
Re: Why not try small cell?
« Reply #27 on: October 28, 2012, 09:03:16 AM »
>but he, and some others, do many  things other than small cell .  breeding for mite and disease resistant bees is probably more the reason for success than the size of the cell used.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beessctheories.htm
Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm en espanol: bushfarms.com/es_bees.htm  auf deutsche: bushfarms.com/de_bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
-------------------
"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen

Offline T Beek

  • Super Bee
  • *****
  • Posts: 2775
  • Gender: Male
Re: Why not try small cell?
« Reply #28 on: November 15, 2012, 09:32:20 AM »
For me, I go foundationless to allow the bees to do what they do best.  They have been doing it for thousands and thousands of years without our intervention.  As with any life cycle, there will be good times, bad times and allowing nature to rule, the strong will survive.  I feel honored to be able to witness their ecosystem and in return, I try to intervene as little as possible.

Small, large, natural  cell size? I need to ask my bees.

Chris in nj

Excellent!!

Just go foundationless and WATCH your bees decide  8-)
"Trust those who seek the truth, doubt those who say they've found it."

Offline Fox Creek

  • Field Bee
  • ***
  • Posts: 570
  • Gender: Male
Re: Why not try small cell?
« Reply #29 on: March 20, 2014, 11:35:58 PM »
    Three years in. Never a large cell frame in my bee yard. Small cell only. During the second year I added a few foundationless frames per hive. Not sure I like them. My bees have found other ways to raise drones. So,how are my hives   doing? Comb? Mites?
    Well, I have to say, last fall, as I was preparing my hives for the winter, I saw a mite on the back of a drone. This drone was outside, on top of a hive. All the warnings I have received here or read about elsewhere raced through my brain.   I went through every frame of every hive looking for more varroa. I could not find another. I closed up my hives, leaving plenty of honey to get them through the winter.
    I started winter with six hives. This spring I discovered I lost two, to starvation. Clusters of bees in the center of frames with honey inches away. Strange because we did not have a very harsh winter.
    As I went through my hives frame by frame, I looked closely for mites. Expecting the worse. Not one! No wing deformities either.
    Of my remaining hives, two are thriving (added boxes already), two are about average.
    So now after three years, no problems building comb on small cell, no mite problems.
   
    I still keep my fingers crossed!

Offline hjon71

  • Queen Bee
  • ****
  • Posts: 1011
  • Gender: Male
Re: Why not try small cell?
« Reply #30 on: March 21, 2014, 02:11:01 AM »
Good update.
As a new beek, I appreciate any info I can get and first hand experiences like this are IMO invaluable.
Quite difficult matters can be explained even to a slow-witted man, if only he has not already adopted a wrong opinion about them; but the simplest things cannot be made clear even to a very intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he already knows, and knows indubitably, the truth of the matter under consideration. -Leo Tolstoy

Offline T Beek

  • Super Bee
  • *****
  • Posts: 2775
  • Gender: Male
Re: Why not try small cell?
« Reply #31 on: March 21, 2014, 08:41:22 AM »
A magnifier will tell us 'for sure' whether varroa is in our hives………all colonies have some……those little brown dots (smaller than a pin head) found on the bottom boards of Beekeepers around the country are very likely varroa. 

Look close and use it as an educational opportunity to conduct a thorough investigation of any 'dead out' colony found.  Learning and beekeeping (life?) go hand in hand…..and doesn't end until we die.
"Trust those who seek the truth, doubt those who say they've found it."

Offline Brother Dave

  • House Bee
  • **
  • Posts: 97
  • Gender: Male
    • West Island Wild Flower
Re:
« Reply #32 on: April 02, 2014, 04:45:13 PM »
I am in my third year as a beek I have three hives and no foundation. The bees seem healthy. No deadouts or queen failures this spring. My beekeeping friends that are using foundation don't have straighter combs. I am happy with foundationless fraimes. I won't go back.

Sent from my SM-T210R using Tapatalk

Offline Fox Creek

  • Field Bee
  • ***
  • Posts: 570
  • Gender: Male
Re: Why not try small cell?
« Reply #33 on: July 10, 2015, 10:26:00 PM »
.

Online Eric Bosworth

  • Field Bee
  • ***
  • Posts: 655
  • Gender: Male
  • I love New York... I hate the government.
Re: Why not try small cell?
« Reply #34 on: July 11, 2015, 07:44:53 AM »
Is that an ASCII art picture of a mite?
Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.
Benjamin Franklin

Offline ed/La.

  • New Bee
  • *
  • Posts: 17
Re: Why not try small cell?
« Reply #35 on: August 15, 2015, 10:58:34 PM »
No expert here but the cells get smaller with every batch of brood.  smaller cells due to cocoon build up

Offline OldMech

  • Field Bee
  • ***
  • Posts: 852
  • Gender: Male
    • The Outyard
Re: Why not try small cell?
« Reply #36 on: August 16, 2015, 12:32:28 AM »

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.
39 Hives and growing.  Havent found the end of the comfort zone yet.

Online Michael Bush

  • Universal Bee
  • *******
  • Posts: 14860
  • Gender: Male
    • bushfarms.com
Re: Why not try small cell?
« Reply #37 on: August 17, 2015, 05:03:14 PM »
>No expert here but the cells get smaller with every batch of brood.  smaller cells due to cocoon build up.

To a point.  When the size falls below their natural threshold the bees chew out the cocoons.  See Grout's research on the topic or, even further back, Huber's.  Of course with large cell foundation that may be a lot of cocoons and they will seem really small... like small cell bees.  But it takes decades for that to happen.  In my experience all your bees will have died from Varroa many times over before you get them regressed by just using the same large cell comb over a long period of time...
Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm en espanol: bushfarms.com/es_bees.htm  auf deutsche: bushfarms.com/de_bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
-------------------
"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen

Online Eric Bosworth

  • Field Bee
  • ***
  • Posts: 655
  • Gender: Male
  • I love New York... I hate the government.
Re: Why not try small cell?
« Reply #38 on: August 17, 2015, 09:28:14 PM »
I still say foundation is pointless. It costs money that quite honestly I don't have. It is not the same size the bees build on there own and last but not least its a lot of work. Bees lived for thousands of years without foundation. Why not let them continue what works for them?
Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.
Benjamin Franklin

Offline AR Beekeeper

  • House Bee
  • **
  • Posts: 113
  • Gender: Male
Re: Why not try small cell?
« Reply #39 on: August 19, 2015, 04:57:31 PM »
One problem I see with small cell, and natural cell, is the hype that says the only way to have bees that are resistant to varroa and the viruses that they carry is by using the "magic cell formula."  I have bees that have not received any treatments for 9 years, they build up and swarm if I am not watchful, they produce the average surplus crop, and they do it while being on the dreaded big cell foundation.  The cell size has nothing to do with bees developing resistance, it is all about the bee.