What makes using small cell foundation better suited for experienced beekeepers and not for everyone? Im referring to Dadant's notation on their small cell foundation. I've been studying Michael Bush's web site and have seen other references as well for the positive benefits of small (normal) cell size.
I am a beggining hobbist beekeeper using small cell through permacomb. The thing with items like permacomb and small cell foundation is:
1. it bucks the trend. Thinking for years has been bigger bees means more honey. It is what the idea is behind many of the foundation types. Getting beekeepers to change their ways takes time. Langsroth foundation was not readily accepted, old beekeepers liked skrep hives (the ones made from rope).
2. Bee suppliers don't sell small cell foundations in kits for beginners. Many beginners buy complete kits those usually have standard foundation frames. So they start off with a certain mindset because of what was included in the initial package.
3. Small cell can also require a reggresion take place. Bees sold in packages or that are use to the 5.2 or larger size cells have to go through a regression to use the 4.9 cells. This issue this currently causes is that my worker cells are domed shaped like a drone's cell. To a newbie this could look like a hive with nothing but drone cells which can be misinterpretted as a dying queen or a laying worker which can be very scary to a newbie.
4. There are just now beginning to be places that sell frames and foundation that is close to or meets a natural cell size. While there have been some items around for a few years you won't see them in the popular beekeeping catalogs, or they are just starting to get there. So they are in some cases not even avaliable to newbies.
5. While natural cell size is praised here and even liked by me. I have not seen any true scientfic research to back it. Currently most of it's acceptance is by tried and tested methods with beekeepers who can do experimentation. That means it's acceptance is word of mouth. That doesn't mean it doesn't work it just means that credible scientfic backing I haven't read yet. Mike Bush is very good very smart and has some very good examples to back up his stance and those should not be blown off. Unfortunatly Mike is not Dr. Mike Bush, published in Scientfic America or some other credible publication.
I think newbies should also have small cell size in their hives. It sucks when a newbie drops out because their hive was destroyed by mites. It will take a change of thinking in the industry. I mean I know old beekeepers who don't use screened bottom boards. Does this make them wrong? No, it just makes their methods different.
When I was at my last beekeeper meeting and I explained I was using mediumds for brood you would have thought I had lost my mind from the way they looked at me. Then when I explained I was using top entrances and was experimenting on a hive with no queen excluder, everyone was wondering if I was off my medication. Once I shown them the permacomb filled with honey and explained the benefits of the top entrance I suddenly was the new patron saint of beekeeping. It doesn't mean that everyone is going to adopt my methods but at least a few are intersted. Changing minds takes time and progress sometimes is slow to happen. Which is good because not every new fangled dohickey is a good idea.