>On the new hives I'll be using 9 frame brood boxes
You mean 9 frames in a ten frame box? You'll do better if you shave the end bars down and do 11 frames in a ten frame box. If you space them 9 frames my bet is you'll get more like 5.2 to 5.3mm cells. If you space them 1 1/4" you'll get more like 5.0 to 5.1 cells the first try.
Look at the section on comb spacing
Basically when bees see combs spaced 1 1/2" they assume the purpose of these combs is honey storage so they build bigger combs and more drone comb. If they see 1 3/8" spacing they assume it's a mixture of drone and worker brood and build them somewhat smaller. If they see 1 1/4" spaced combs they assume it's the core of the brood nest and sometimes make them as small as 4.4mm
>You have to acclumate them to it alittle at a time.
That's not how I'd describe it. it has nothing to do with acclimatizing them. It has to do with getting bees from smaller cells that in turn are willing to build smaller cells.
>I'd like to use the small cell foundation to help control the mites and it's the more natural size for the bees to work with.
>My question would be : If you start off with ALL small cell foundation in the brood boxes does present a problem with bee acceptance to it or will they just take right to drawing it out since there'll be nothing else to work with..?
Large bees may draw 4.9mm to 5.1mm or so. You can BUY 5.1mm foundation if you like to have pretty combs with perfect cells. Otherwise they will have to cheat on the 4.9mm to do it and the first regression will not be so pretty. But they will build the 4.9mm. The second regression (when you get some small bees from this one) will usually build 4.9mm just fine. Or you can just skip the whole mess and let them build what they want. Use starter strips or foundationless frames and you'll still getthe 5.1mm average the first regression and 4.9mm and smaller the second one.http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfoundationless.htmhttp://www.bushfarms.com/beeslazy.htm#foundationlessframeshttp://www.bushfarms.com/beeslazy.htm#naturalcellsizehttp://www.bushfarms.com/beesnewbees.htm
The simple version is just always use the 4.9mm and try to rotate the combs out until they end up 4.9mm or smaller.