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Author Topic: Why not try small cell II  (Read 6945 times)
Fox Creek
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« on: May 03, 2013, 09:20:23 PM »

    
    Last year I asked this question without realizing the firestorm it would bring. (Well, firestorm may be a little strong.)  VanceG advised we all "eat some prunes for gods sake!" My reason for posting on this subject again, is twofold. First, I would like to update the varroa issue in my hives...Simply put, so far so good, no varroa. I have read so many post from new beekeepers complaining of varroa problems from the get go. Are they using small cell? Second, I would like to hear from any new beekeepers who started with small cell.  (no large cell ever).  What has been your experience? Do you suffer varroa? Did the bees build comb without problems?
    We all are aware of the studies. Most claiming small cell has no effect. What I would like to know, have any studies been conducted, with any of those claiming small cell success. Not someone as myself who only have a couple years in, but those who have been at this for a number of years who claim the small cell helps stop or reduce varroa?

    Yes foundationless is the goal.  
« Last Edit: May 04, 2013, 10:56:41 PM by Fox Creek » Logged
edward
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« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2013, 02:29:13 AM »

Yes small cells reduce varroa in the initial beginning  grin

But then the mites adapt and the infestation is the same as normal cell hives  I'm sorry

But if you ask a question often enough you may get the answer you are looking for, mabee not the truth.  Brian


mvh Edward  tongue
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sawdstmakr
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« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2013, 06:41:53 AM »

I agree with Edward.
The best thing you can do for your bees is to let them figure it out. Bees have been around for 230 million years. They have the genetics to handle this problem. If you have enough hives and you stop treating them, the ones with the right genetics will win out and over come the problem. The hard part is that you will initially loose a. Lot of bees and then you will have to build from them. I read some where that in India, when varroa was discovered, the the Beekeepers decided not to do anything. They lost a lot of bee but after 2 years their bees recovered with no treatments.
There are a lot of beekeeper here that are doing the same thing. That's what I am doing and it is working so far. It also helps to collect ferrel hives. That is how they survived. That was a big boost to my apiary last year.
Jim
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« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2013, 07:34:13 AM »

I started my bees from packages last year and went foundationless from the start.  I did see some dead varroa on the bottom board after the whole winter. [5 total].   That doesn't seem like enough to worry about for now.  My bees had no problem building comb at all. 

Tip: keep your hives level if you want straight comb.  We had a significant drought last year and the ground moved quite a bit.  It showed in the comb.
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beeman2009
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« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2013, 09:21:30 AM »

Fox Creek,

Don't know if I qualify for your study, but I am in year 7 beekeeping. Started with SC & still run mostly SC. My hives are a mixture of foundation & foundationless, still making the switch. I read all the hype both ways and my conclusion is to do what works best for you. As for varrao, I have not seen one in my hives yet. That may change tomorrow, but as of now, none.  Might I suggest doing your own study. Get as many SC hives as you can and see for yourself. Be sure to keep them far enough away from any LC hives to prevent drifting. I have some LC hives for queen rearing but I keep them app 300 ft away from my SC hives.

BTW, Rurification is correct, foundationless requires a level hive. Need to keep a check on a regular basis.  yippie chick
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Beeman2009
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« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2013, 03:31:03 PM »

There is no harm done raising bees on small cell. But do not confuse small cell with natural cell.Large and small cell are extremes manufactured by man to conform to a perceived outcome. I  have no hard feelings whichever you choose.

For what it's worth, generaly the mite population is not very high in any first year package install as they start off with no brood for the varroa to multiply in. Do not let the first winter with a low mite count fool you. Monitor it.
The second year, if you have any varroa at all in the spring ,the population can explode exponentially. A lot of new beekeepers lose their bees in the second winter by being apathetic.If you do get a mite population treat them in August if you are going to treat.This leaves a couple brood cycles to raise winter bees that have not been infected by various pathogens that mites may inflict.

If you get mites, don't ignore them,they will not ignore your bees.
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edward
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« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2013, 07:18:48 PM »

""" I haven't seen any varroa mites in my hives ""

Have you done a mite test and counted the eventual mite drop or fall out? If not then you don't know how hard the infestation is or isn't  Brian


mvh Edward  tongue

Small cells, fondationless, sure why not if it suits your way of beekeeping, but it is not a mite treatment or prevention.
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Fox Creek
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« Reply #7 on: May 04, 2013, 10:55:27 PM »

Yes small cells reduce varroa in the initial beginning  grin

But then the mites adapt and the infestation is the same as normal cell hives  I'm sorry

But if you ask a question often enough you may get the answer you are looking for, mabee not the truth.  Brian


mvh Edward  tongue

    Wait a minute....hold on.....Lets get something straight. I did not post this #II as an invitation to debate views on small cell vs large cell. Or for you to insinuate I am looking for affirmation. (perhaps you teach second grade)

    What the post asks.  Are you a beekeeper who started with and only with small cell?  What has been your experience? Second. Have there been any varroa studies completed at the apiaries of those claiming small cell success? 

    Please, lets stay on subject.
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kathyp
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« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2013, 11:10:42 PM »

i'm a little confused...nothing new...

if foundationless, or natural cell, is the goal, why bother with small cell in the first place?
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Fox Creek
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« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2013, 11:17:25 PM »

I started my bees from packages last year and went foundationless from the start.  I did see some dead varroa on the bottom board after the whole winter. [5 total].   That doesn't seem like enough to worry about for now.  My bees had no problem building comb at all. 

Tip: keep your hives level if you want straight comb.  We had a significant drought last year and the ground moved quite a bit.  It showed in the comb.

    Too cool. I did not want to try,  what you have done. My understanding has been, to place foundationless frame between built comb frames. This would be a good guide for the bees. I have done this with nice results. I may try it your way....if I have the nerve!
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Fox Creek
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« Reply #10 on: May 04, 2013, 11:18:35 PM »

i'm a little confused...nothing new...

if foundationless, or natural cell, is the goal, why bother with small cell in the first place?

    My post following yours may explain.
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edward
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« Reply #11 on: May 05, 2013, 04:09:47 AM »

Last year I asked this question without realizing the firestorm it would bring.My reason for posting on this subject again,    We all are aware of the studies. Most claiming small cell has no effect. What I would like to know, have any studies been conducted, with any of those claiming small cell success.



?? ??

You might try Learning more about how the varroa mite lives, thrives and its Life cycle , how it lives in symbiosis with the honey bee and them you will have the answers to your questions, not the ones you seem to bee looking for  Undecided


mvh Edward  tongue
« Last Edit: May 05, 2013, 08:19:43 AM by edward » Logged
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« Reply #12 on: May 05, 2013, 07:26:22 AM »

I had a hive on small cell foundation for a couple years and did not see the reduction in mite population that I might have expected.
Perhaps you need every hive in your yard on small cell, but if your up to the challenge, you are out nothing but the cost of small cell foundation,which is minimal if you were going to buy foundation anyways.
As far as people with mite problems from the get go, they may be buying nucs that had mites when they got them, or a pckage shaken from a mite heavy hive. I think most package suppliers treat the package for mites when they are off comb as this is the most effective time to treat your whole new colony.
 Would I try it again? Perhaps. But I think by just adding small cell that your problems with mites may not go away. You will need to incorporate other methods.
You need to remember the varroa mite cycle is exploding as the colony size is contracting late in the summer.Any bees with virus contracted from mites going into fall may not overwinter well. Look at your overall stress factors going into winter. If your bees can get out and forage occasionally, then overwintering may not be an issue like it is up North.If your not mooving your bees, thats one less stress factor.Will you be exchaning out old comb occasionally? Thats a factor.Are you in a pesticide contaminated area? Another factor. Just look at your overall picture and it may be a bigger factor on bees surviving with mites than just changing to small cell.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2013, 07:39:34 AM by buzzbee » Logged
Fox Creek
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« Reply #13 on: May 05, 2013, 03:49:17 PM »

Last year I asked this question without realizing the firestorm it would bring.My reason for posting on this subject again,    We all are aware of the studies. Most claiming small cell has no effect. What I would like to know, have any studies been conducted, with any of those claiming small cell success.



?? ??

You might try Learning more about how the varroa mite lives, thrives and its Life cycle , how it lives in symbiosis with the honey bee and them you will have the answers to your questions, not the ones you seem to bee looking for  Undecided


mvh Edward  tongue

    You left out where I said, "those at it for a number of years."  I believe those who claim small cell success and have been doing this for years. Again, Not I! Those with years of experience. Why have we not seen studies of these successes?

    Again with the affirmation thing?
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edward
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« Reply #14 on: May 05, 2013, 04:03:35 PM »

You might try Learning more about how the varroa mite lives, thrives and its Life cycle , how it lives in symbiosis with the honey bee and them you will have the answers to your questions, not the ones you seem to bee looking for  Undecided mvh Edward  tongue
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #15 on: May 06, 2013, 08:41:04 AM »

>We all are aware of the studies. Most claiming small cell has no effect.

http://www.beeuntoothers.com/index.php/beekeeping/articles/66-small-cell-studies
http://www.elgon.se/pdf-filer/Small_cell_test_designs13c.pdf

>What I would like to know, have any studies been conducted, with any of those claiming small cell success.

Sort of.  The nearest thing to it would be Jennifer Berry who worked with a small cell advocate who was succeeding at the time, but none have actually tried to figure out why small cell beekeepers are succeeding when to be consistent with the current theories they should be failing.

>The best thing you can do for your bees is to let them figure it out.

How do you do that when you determine their cell size and what proportion of drones to workers etc.  If you are going to let them figure it out, then you should let them...

>if foundationless, or natural cell, is the goal, why bother with small cell in the first place?

Agreed.  Natural comb is easier, and the results are the same for the same reasons.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesnaturalcell.htm
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Fox Creek
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« Reply #16 on: May 16, 2013, 05:30:02 PM »



    This spring I added to my apiary, three new hives from packages. I regress my bees using pf100 frames. Unlike last year, this year I put foundationless frames between small cell built comb. The bees built beautiful comb on the foundationless frames. Problem?

    These foundationless frames now have brood which will not be regressed. Have I set myself back a step or two?  Would I be better off using pf100 frames exclusively for the first few generations?
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #17 on: May 17, 2013, 12:17:30 PM »

>These foundationless frames now have brood which will not be regressed.

What size cells did they build?
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Michael Bush
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Fox Creek
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« Reply #18 on: May 19, 2013, 10:35:54 PM »

>These foundationless frames now have brood which will not be regressed.

What size cells did they build?

    Thank you Michael for reminding me of the reason I have your book in my library. I referenced your book last night and while I'm not sure how I will measure the cells, I will be putting my unused queen excluders to use. Tomorrow I will be adding a second box to the hives. I will be pulling the foundationless comb above the excluder. Later I will be able to measure these cells. (when I'm sure of what I'm doing.)

   Thanks again!
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #19 on: May 20, 2013, 09:38:05 AM »

Here's how to measure cells:
http://www.bushfarms.com/images/47mmCombMeasurement.jpg
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Michael Bush
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