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Author Topic: small cell foundation....  (Read 1854 times)
SteveSC
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« on: September 27, 2006, 01:14:53 PM »

I'm going to be adding 3 hives in the spring and locate them to an area where there's alot of large agricultural operations - peach orchards - apple orchards - crops, etc..

I want these 3 hives to be an experiment to see what I can do to improve and monitor hive population - hive health - low swarm tendencies - and improved honey production as compared to the other hives at another location.  

On the new hives I'll be using 9 frame brood boxes ( 2 when needed ) - slatted racks ( 2 ) - - one below brood box all the time and one above in the spring until winter and SBBs.  The bees will be Italians bought in 3 lb. packages with queens.

I've read alot times that bees take slowly to small cell foundation if added to reg. foundation brood boxes.  You have to acclumate them to it alittle at a time.  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..?  Thanks..

Steve in SC
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2006, 06:40:14 PM »

>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.

See this:
http://www.bushfarms.com/beesnaturalcell.htm

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.

Good plan.

>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.htm
http://www.bushfarms.com/beeslazy.htm#foundationlessframes
http://www.bushfarms.com/beeslazy.htm#naturalcellsize
http://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.
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Michael Bush
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2006, 02:17:56 AM »

I endorse everything MB has to say, whole-heartedly.  I also think you'll find the SBB and slatted racks to be adventageous.  Also don't over look top ventilation in your experiments.
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SteveSC
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« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2006, 06:56:17 AM »

Thanks fellows -_I appreciate the input.  I never thought about putting 11 frames in a 10 frame brood box to reduce the cell size which in turn helps control the mites.

I will have top ventilation for sure.  

Steve in SC
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Kirk-o
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« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2006, 10:40:21 PM »

Let us know how it goes good luck
kirko
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BeeHopper
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« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2006, 04:26:40 PM »

 You'll do better if you shave the end bars down and do 11 frames in a ten frame box.

Michael, Are you referring to common foundation or small cell  foundation when applying the above technique ? I have just modified 22 frames with foundation that are NOT small cell for a 2 deep hive. What will be the effect of using 11 frames of 5.1 foundation over time.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2006, 06:43:42 PM »

>>You'll do better if you shave the end bars down and do 11 frames in a ten frame box.

>Michael, Are you referring to common foundation or small cell  foundation when applying the above technique ?

It works well for both, but my main reason for doing it is to get smaller cells more easily by using more natural comb spacing.

>I have just modified 22 frames with foundation that are NOT small cell for a 2 deep hive. What will be the effect of using 11 frames of 5.1 foundation over time.

The research I've heard of says they will have more brood, less nosema and they will winter better.
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Michael Bush
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tillie
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« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2007, 10:58:59 AM »

I'm adding two hives this year and plan to use small cell from the beginning.  My hives will start with five frame nucs and these will be on large cells.  I have ordered small cell foundation from Dadant and my question is about starter strips.....I read Michael's web site about foundationless frames but I don't have the skills to make the triangular thing in the corner of the frames.

I also don't have the tools/ability to shave the frames down to fit 11 into a 10 frame box.

 Can I cut the SC foundation I get from Dadant into starter strips and use it on standard frames to get the bees started in their regression?

Linda T
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2007, 06:41:53 PM »

Starter strips starts the regression period.  Even if you use standard medium brood foundation as starter strips the bees will build slightly smaller cells.  If you use starter strips of SC foundation the bees will build a slightly larger cell over the majority of the frame, using standard sized foundation they build a slightly smaller size comb.  In the first generation of going to smaller celled comb the comb will be somewhere in between SC and Standard regardless of the foundation stock used in the starter strips.  I would wait and use the SC on the second and third generations of the hives.  I would also work the intermediate sized comb out of the hive over time using it for supers of harvestable stores.
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