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Author Topic: Why not try small cell II  (Read 6862 times)
Fox Creek
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« Reply #20 on: May 21, 2013, 03:23:57 PM »

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

What size cells did they build?

    The cells built by the packaged bees on foundationless is 4.9mm   

    This relieves my concerns.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #21 on: May 21, 2013, 10:13:26 PM »

>The cells built by the packaged bees on foundationless is 4.9mm   

Once again the bees defy the entomologists... Smiley
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Fox Creek
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« Reply #22 on: June 01, 2013, 03:36:33 PM »



    How about no foundation! It appears the last time I worked my hives, I put everything back together, minus one frame. A frame out of the middle. Yesterday, as I lifted the inner cover, I saw attached to the inner cover, perfectly built comb. This comb kept the correct bee space between two built comb frames.  It would appear the bees are looking out for me too, covering for my foolishness. 
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Solomon Parker
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« Reply #23 on: August 09, 2013, 09:01:34 AM »

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?
I guess that would be me.  Started on small cell ten years ago, never done anything else.  I'm a Bond Test (ala John Kefuss, Dee Lusby, Michael Bush, others) beekeeper, doing absolutely nothing for mites or any other disease.  In the early times, I did lose quite a few hives, but rarely any obvious signs of mites.  Usually it was what I call "cold starvation" when a warmer climate adapted bee can't move the cluster in a cold snap and starves to death within inches of honey.  I don't currently suffer much varroa, at least no hive losses to speak of.  They are in there though.  You can see a little test I did by pulling out pupae and counting mites on my blog: parkerfarms.blogspot.com  Comb building is definitely more difficult with small cell.  Small cell wax must be built during a flow and almost always in the broodnest or it does not get built correctly.  Regression is hard and I never fully completed it, having bought some small cell nucs and using that comb to seed the rest of my hives.  That's what actually did it for me.


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?
There is one study that is often conveniently ignored because it used africanized bees.  But the cell size component was in there.  I have not found any of the studies to be appropriately rigorous, and having been a Master's student and written a study (on an unrelated topic) I know what they look like.  For instance, one of the studies uses plastic comb and compares it to wax comb.  That's just unacceptable.  Furthermore, none of the studies continues past a few months.  None of these people seems to have done any research on small cell beekeeping, has done it themselves, or has even asked somebody who does it currently.  They're all jokes, written and conceived in ignorance and reviewed in the same.  If they had just asked a small cell beekeeper, they'd have looked a whole lot different.


   
Yes foundationless is the goal. 
Small cell and foundationless are not the same thing.  I have heard of cell size with foundationless being from 4.3mm to the biggest drone comb you've ever seen.  It takes a lot more management in my experience and it's just not utilitarian enough for me.  However, if you're willing to put in the work and want to do it, have a ball.
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Solomon Parker
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edward
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« Reply #24 on: August 09, 2013, 03:33:37 PM »

If you let your bees swarm or you divide a hive it is a way of treating varroa



mvh Edward  tongue
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Solomon Parker
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« Reply #25 on: August 12, 2013, 11:34:38 AM »

So you'd consider a swarm the same thing as putting a pesticide in a hive?
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Solomon Parker
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« Reply #26 on: August 12, 2013, 04:17:20 PM »

If you walk to work

Take the bus to work

Drive your car to work

Take the train to work

are they the same or different?

You get to work  rolleyes

mvh Edward  tongue
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Solomon Parker
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« Reply #27 on: August 20, 2013, 10:21:31 PM »

I guess I wouldn't agree.  I mean, I don't do either of those things, so I'm still not treating, but I wouldn't agree that allowing a hive to swarm is the same as putting pesticides in it.
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Solomon Parker
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #28 on: August 21, 2013, 10:45:21 AM »

>If you walk to work
>Take the bus to work
>Drive your car to work
>Take the train to work
are they the same or different?

If you walked and got mugged and beaten on the way but still managed to get to work would they be the same or different?
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Michael Bush
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edward
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« Reply #29 on: August 21, 2013, 03:14:38 PM »

 grin
Same difference , parasites living of others  police

you with your wallet  Jerry

 or bees mugged by mites,

you and the bees keep working  chop chop



mvh Edward  tongue

There are many ways to treat mites, with or without Chemicals
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iddee
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« Reply #30 on: August 21, 2013, 04:35:05 PM »

First off, I know nothing about small cell other than what I have read.

Now for what I have read.

1.. Use small cell for 4 years to fully regress, without treatment, and your hives will have no varroa problems.

2.. Use any comb for 4 years, without treatment, and the surviving bees will have become resistant to the mites and your hives will have no varroa problems.

Conclusion... I see no advantage to small cell.
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edward
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« Reply #31 on: August 21, 2013, 06:09:44 PM »

1. after 4 years the mites will have adapted to the small cells,

2. after 4 years without "any kind" of treatment there wont bee any bees , then again you wont have any varoa either  need help

mvh Edward  tongue
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Jim 134
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« Reply #32 on: August 21, 2013, 10:43:32 PM »

This is wrong  rolleyes
Small cells don’t keep varroa destructor at bay

In a recently published article, Small-cell comb foundation does not impede Varroa mite population growth in honey bee colonies, Jennifer Berry, William Owens, and Keith Delaplane report on a series of three field experiments in which they compared varoa mite counts for bee hives with small and standard size comb. The hopes that smaller “natural” cell sizes would discourage varroa mites were dashed.


We conclude that small-cell comb technolgy does not impede Varroa population growth.

The article can be downloaded here (pdf). It appeared in Apidologie 41 (2010) 30-44 and comes with a handy German translation.

http://www.ent.uga.edu/bees/documents/m08138.pdf




           BEE HAPPY Jim 134 Smiley
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« Reply #33 on: August 22, 2013, 07:11:08 AM »

This is wrong  rolleyes
Small cells don’t keep varroa destructor at bay

The article can be downloaded here (pdf). It appeared in Apidologie 41 (2010) 30-44 and comes with a handy German translation.

http://www.ent.uga.edu/bees/documents/m08138.pdf



That report and experiment certainly seems done well, and is fairly conclusive in their study to me, but I would like to see the study duplicated by a second or third source to confirm before claiming it as absolute. They did a good job on their report though.
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edward
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« Reply #34 on: August 22, 2013, 07:42:59 AM »

This is wrong  rolleyes Small cells don’t keep varroa destructor at bay The article can be downloaded here (pdf). It appeared in Apidologie 41 (2010) 30-44 and comes with a handy German translation.http://www.ent.uga.edu/bees/documents/m08138.pdf
That report and experiment certainly seems done well, and is fairly conclusive in their study to me, but I would like to see the study duplicated by a second or third source to confirm before claiming it as absolute. They did a good job on their report though.


There are many studies showing that it doesn't work , unless a cure is found for the mite small cell treatment is going to live its own Life and hopeful misguided beekeeper looking for a silver bullet are going to bee cond into buying snake oil.

mvh Edward  tongue
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #35 on: August 22, 2013, 09:14:32 AM »

    "All the boring and soul-destroying work of counting mites on sticky boards, killing brood with liquid nitrogen, watching bees groom each other, and measuring brood hormone levels—all done in thousands of replications—will someday be seen as a colossal waste of time when we finally learn to let the Varroa mites do these things for us...

    "I have never yet counted even a single sample of mites from any of my bees. I consider counting mites as a way of evaluating Varroa resistance to be fraught with all sorts of shortcomings and difficulties. It's very time consuming and hence the size of the apiary, the number of colonies tested, the gene pool, and the income available all start to shrink. It's also very easy for the results to be skewed by mites migrating from other colonies or bee yards. "—Kirk Webster

There are a few positive small cell studies, but also several that show higher mite counts on small cell and people always ask why or use this to discount small cell. I don’t know for sure why, as it is inconsistent with my experience, but let’s look at that. Let's assume a short term study (which all of them have been) during the drone rearing time of the year (which all of them have been) and make the assumption for the moment that Dee Lusby's "pseudodrone" theory is true, meaning that with large cell the Varroa often mistake large cell workers for drone cells and therefore infest them more. The Varroa in the large cell hives during that time would be less successful because they are in the wrong cells. The Varroa, during that time would be more successful on the small cell because they are in the drone cells. But later in the year this may shift dramatically when, first of all the small cell workers have not taken damage from the Varroa and second of all the drone rearing drops off and the mites have nowhere to go.

I think it's important in any test to let the mites get bad enough for the bees to respond to them. That's been my experience. And yet none of the experiments let that happen.

    "...when 150 queens were introduced into nucs with brood untreated for 18 months. This brood had a normal outward appearance when the nucs were made up, but four weeks later about half of them were starting to decline with PMS-type symptoms. But after another three weeks, almost all of these colonies appeared normal and healthy again."—Kirk Webster

It's also important that they be in a real world environment, and not some artificially created one. The reality of how a mechanism in nature works is infinitely complex. Kirk Webster said this about breeding but it applies to any experiment:

    "Bees that combine genuine hardiness, mite-resistance and productivity can only be maintained in the long run by having many hundreds of colonies constantly exposed to mites—and all the other known and unknown stresses in the real world, commercial beekeeping environment. This is the only way the bees can be tested for all the characteristics they need in order to thrive. And this testing and selection must continue year after year—to keep building up their resilience, and help the bees adapt to a changing world."—Kirk Webster

In the end, as Dann Purvis says, "it's not about mite counts. It's about survival". No one seems interested in measuring that. What I do know is that after a couple of years the mite counts dropped to almost nothing on small cell. But that did not take place in the first three months...
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Michael Bush
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Fox Creek
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« Reply #36 on: August 22, 2013, 02:36:35 PM »

    I follow the responses on this post closely. Solomon's report is of interest to me. I would guess his approach to small cell is a lot more scientific than mine. Although all of my foundationless comb is under 5.0 I will be monitoring them closely.
    Two years in and I have not a trace of Varroa, in any of my six hives. I do not use suppers. All deeps with the Mann Lake small cell frame. (some foundationless) At this time each of my hives consists of  three to four deeps.
    My hives may be somewhat isolated. I live in the mountains, at 3000 ft. I do not know of any other beekeepers within a few miles. Could it be, the only outside influence may be feral hives. Could it be these feral bees are regressed?
    Because of Varroa destructor, I probably would not have ventured into beekeeping, if not for reading the "Practical beekeeper" and "The Idiots Guide". 
    Yes, yes, I know. I could one day open my hives and find an explosion of Varroa. If this happens you will hear my screams in New York!
    I look forward to learning more.
       
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Jim 134
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« Reply #37 on: August 22, 2013, 09:57:09 PM »

Michael Bush...........

   Do you use Small Cell or foundationless AKA Natural Cell  huh  I see on your website you talk a lot about foundationless.  Can you tell me the average size of a natural cell that bees will make for worker cells on foundationless  huh                    



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« Reply #38 on: August 23, 2013, 09:19:29 AM »

> Do you use Small Cell

Yes.

>or foundationless AKA Natural Cell

Yes.

> I see on your website you talk a lot about foundationless.

Yes.

> Can you tell me the average size of a natural cell that bees will make for worker cells on foundationless

I don't really care what the "average size" is.  I care what the core of the brood nest is.  The core of the broodnest of natural cell (once they are regressed) is typically between about 4.6mm and 5.0mm.  Around that core it's typically about 5.1mm.  The very top where they often put honey varies a lot and is sometimes drone sized...

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesnaturalcell.htm#whatarenaturalsizedcells

As far as what I use, I think the current count is something like this:

3,000 foundationless frames
300 4.9mm wax foundation.
1,000 wax dipped PermaComb (4.8mm with the wax)
300 Honey Super Cell (4.9mm)
3,000 PF120 (plastic one piece frame in 4.95mm)
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« Reply #39 on: August 27, 2013, 09:09:56 AM »

No treatments since 2007, no (well, rarely) foundation since 2009.  Average winter losses are under 50% (2011-12 saw a 100% survivor rate, a first!).  Minimal varroa counts for several years now.

The best part (for me) in allowing the bees to "do their own thing" are the 'amazing variations of cell sizes' on any given brood frame  cool  People tend to like things more neat and tidy than honeybees  Wink

THE TRUTH DEPENDS ON WHERE YOU STAND  grin
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