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Author Topic: Small cell, starter strips, and hive box question  (Read 1452 times)

Offline tillie

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Small cell, starter strips, and hive box question
« on: March 09, 2007, 12:54:40 AM »
I have gotten my SC foundation from Dadant today.  I am setting up a new hive and plan to cut the SC foundation into starter strips for the deep brood box.  This, of course, means that the bees who will arrive in a 5 frame large cell nuc, will make what I understand will be messy comb because they won't be regressed.  And that's fine - I can live with not pretty comb.

Ordinarily I would wait until there is a need for more space to put on the next box.  But using starter strips brings some questions for me.

First:  Can a starter strip be fairly narrow - like an inch?

Second:  Since the box above the deep will be a medium with empty frames and starter strips of SC, should I put it on at the same time as I install the bees in the deep?  My thought is that the bees will have to draw comb before they have brood in the second box and would giving it to them early help them or simply make the bees move straight up the middle of the two boxes?

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Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Small cell, starter strips, and hive box question
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2007, 07:57:10 AM »
>I have gotten my SC foundation from Dadant today.  I am setting up a new hive and plan to cut the SC foundation into starter strips for the deep brood box.  This, of course, means that the bees who will arrive in a 5 frame large cell nuc, will make what I understand will be messy comb because they won't be regressed.  And that's fine - I can live with not pretty comb.

Not true.  It will be beautiful comb.  The worker comb will just be about 5.1mm in size.

>Ordinarily I would wait until there is a need for more space to put on the next box.

That's what I'd do.

>First:  Can a starter strip be fairly narrow - like an inch?

I make mine 3/4".  I would NOT go over one inch.

>Second:  Since the box above the deep will be a medium with empty frames and starter strips of SC, should I put it on at the same time as I install the bees in the deep?

You can.  But in my experience (and Finsky's) they will build up faster in early spring with more limited space.

> My thought is that the bees will have to draw comb before they have brood in the second box and would giving it to them early help them or simply make the bees move straight up the middle of the two boxes?

It will just give them more space to patrol, heat, cool, etc.  Other than that, it doesn't really matter.
Michael Bush
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Offline tillie

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Re: Small cell, starter strips, and hive box question
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2007, 08:04:55 AM »
Thanks, Michael - I'm looking forward to this regression experience!  I would try for foundationless frames but I don't have the construction skills to do the modifications you recommend. 

One of my two hives died, as you may remember, and the second one is weak - should I wait until the second one is stronger to do regression with it? 

I'm planning on starting the two new ones on SC, but the remaining hive may have a Varroa problem - sugar shakes this weekend and every one coming up....as per what I read on Beesource.

Linda T
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Offline Brian D. Bray

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Re: Small cell, starter strips, and hive box question
« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2007, 08:16:11 PM »
If you want to use just frames and no foundation but want to use some type of indicator for the bees to orientate to when drawing the comb get some 1/4 X 3/4 inch edging (like that used in cabinet making). Or get someone to cut a 1 X4 or 1 X 6 into 1/4 inch thick strips.  Cut the strips into proper length to fill the grove in the top bar and glue or tack it into place.  The wood strip will work the same way as the wax strip.

I use starter strips regardless of the hive strength.  It is all I use anymore.
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Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Small cell, starter strips, and hive box question
« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2007, 09:11:27 PM »
I wouldn't push a weak hive into regression, but you don't have to push any of them, weak or not.  Just take out large cell foundation and feed in the small as they need it anyway.  Take out empty large cell combs and let them draw new ones.  But don't take resources, like combs of honey or brood or pollen from them.
Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm en espanol: bushfarms.com/es_bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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