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Author Topic: Using small cell foundation  (Read 3103 times)
BeeLady
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« on: June 07, 2006, 12:49:44 PM »

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.
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Lauren, aka BeeLady
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Bees in Lindenau, Texas
Finsky
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« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2006, 01:24:38 PM »

It has been plenty of discussions here.
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Understudy
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« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2006, 01:26:21 PM »

Quote from: BeeLady
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.

Sincerely,
Brendhan
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Finsky
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« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2006, 01:53:01 PM »

Quote from: Understudy
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.


So it will happen to newbee. I have had varroa 20 years and no small cells. It goes now splended with oxalic acid trickling. Don't worry, be happy!

Big bees, big honey yields,

.
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BeeLady
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« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2006, 06:49:59 PM »

Thanks for the encouragement Brandon.  I just heard about using mediums for my brood chamber last month at our bee club's field day.  Makes a lot of sense to me.  I could do more manipulation (swarm prevention) and because I am a small person who finds it difficult to lift more than 50 lbs at a time I would be more able to deal with the brood hives.

Anyway, next time I buy foundation it will be small cell and I may start switching over at the end of this season.  Unless there's some suggestions on making the switch.  Next hive I start will be small cell.  And all one size for supers, brood, etc. (with a top entrance!).
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Lauren, aka BeeLady
San Antonio, Texas
Bees in Lindenau, Texas
BeeLady
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« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2006, 06:50:18 PM »

Thanks for the encouragement Brandon.  I just heard about using mediums for my brood chamber last month at our bee club's field day.  Makes a lot of sense to me.  I could do more manipulation (swarm prevention) and because I am a small person who finds it difficult to lift more than 50 lbs at a time I would be more able to deal with the brood boxes.

Anyway, next time I buy foundation it will be small cell and I may start switching over at the end of this season.  Unless there's some suggestions on making the switch.  Next hive I start will be small cell.  And all one size for supers, brood, etc. (with a top entrance!).
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Lauren, aka BeeLady
San Antonio, Texas
Bees in Lindenau, Texas
Understudy
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« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2006, 07:02:56 PM »

You may want to look at doing 8 frame mediums. The reason being is a fully loaded 10 frame medium is 70+lbs. Mike uses a slightly different medium body for his eight frame mediums but the reason is because he doesn't like lifting overtly heavy boxes either.

Sincerely,
Brendhan
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2006, 09:55:01 PM »

Hey don't forget me.  I use medium 8 frames s for everything (with 1 exception) and couldn't work the bees anyother way.  Try lifting 50 pounds from a seated position from ground level to shoulder level and visa versa while leaning over the arm of a wheelchair.  
Uniformity is versatility.
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Zoot
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« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2006, 11:27:44 PM »

Just had to chime in on the benefits of using the 8 frame mediums. I actually don't really mind the lifting  but with my 9 year old son and girlfriend in mind I decided it was quite feasable. The more the season progresses (I'm back into it after almost 28 years) the more the positive aspects seem to become apparent. The whole dynamic of the hive/colony is more vibrant though it does require a management style that is a bit more attentative.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #9 on: June 09, 2006, 11:37:38 PM »

>What makes using small cell foundation better suited for experienced beekeepers and not for everyone?

Absolutely nothing.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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Apis629
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« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2006, 11:30:51 AM »

I've been thinking about switching over to small cell myself but, as of yet, I've only seen it in medium depth.  I'm just too attached to my deeps...
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IndianaBrown
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« Reply #11 on: June 10, 2006, 12:34:17 PM »

I am new to beekeping this year, but as I add second deeps to my hives I am giving the bees frames with 1/4 of an unwired foundation as a starter strip across the top of the frames.  My thought it that, these 'semi-foundationless' frames will be filled out with what the bees think is necessary, small cell or not.  

If it works well, next year I will gradually work on replacing most of the Pierco plastic deep frames that I started with, (aside from the frames of honey near the outside edges of the boxes.)  I will probably stick with the medium Pierco's for my supers though.

Just my take on the methods of MB and others.  Smiley
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IndianaBrown
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« Reply #12 on: June 10, 2006, 12:41:28 PM »

Apis, I have only seen small cell foundation available for deeps:
 
http://betterbee.com/products.asp?dept=288
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #13 on: June 10, 2006, 02:26:48 PM »

>I've been thinking about switching over to small cell myself but, as of yet, I've only seen it in medium depth. I'm just too attached to my deeps...

The wax foundation is still available in deep and has ONLY been available in deep until recently when they added wired and medium to the assortment.

Supercell is about 5.0mm equivelant cell size, fully drawn plastic and only available in deep.  I'll see how they do on it.  But I'm far to attached to my eight frame mediums to actually convert.  I'd be more likely to move to double wide (22 frames) Dadant deep size and use the Supercell rather than use deeps.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
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Apis629
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« Reply #14 on: June 11, 2006, 10:34:41 AM »

Thanks, Indiana Brown, I've always looked at Dadant and never concidered better bee.
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