Now, I somehow got the impression that it is good to have old frames, drawn foundation obviously. I realize that after so many years, the cells can become smaller due to cocoons from the babies and so on and this is not good.
It is true. Cells do become smaller with time and it is not good cause they can also harbor all sorts of things detrimental to hive health.
So, the question to be put out there is: does not the cocoons, propolis, wax, strengthen the frames so that there may not be sagging or weak combs?
True. The older the comb the stronger it gets. Years ago they tested an 20 year old comb and it supported a grown man. Standing on it on flat side, of course.
I keep hearing about small cell foundation. Another question.
This is another area of beekeeping an we don't want to go there, cause it may cause some heated debate.
A lot of keepers use it, (I do!) Others scream for scientific proof - cause they never tried it. (They have no intend to cause they might prove to themselves that they were shouting in the wind before.)
If the cells (say on a standard foundation) become smaller with the cocoons, etc., would that not be a good thing, in that so many beekeepers seem to be wanting smaller cells so that the varroa mite cannot be such a strong infliction, or am I getting the wrong impression on things. Great day. Cindi
You are a very good observer. (Have the making of a great beek!)
Very good ! But one would have to wait a loooong time to get such comb to the size required in "small cell - SC" keeping. (I should also mention that with all the "medicating," that wouldn't be a very good thing...)
There are many things at play in such an scenario. Normal comb cells are roughly 5.4 mm in size, SC is usually 4.9 mm and smaller. To keep bees on SC one has to regress ones bees! (Big bees don't feet in small cells - roughly speaking) Therefore keepers buy commercially available SC foundation. But usually it takes a few years to get bees down to SC comb - usually at the loss of most bee hives.
More natural approach IMO is that one lets bees build what they want, where and when they want it.
Naturally bees build 3 size cells: SC in center of the brood nest, a bit bigger, 5.1 mm say next and big, 5.6 to 8.0 thirdly - for drone and honey storage.
One should keep in mind that the core of the nest is not disturbed. Same frame - back in same slot!
This is roughly the idea of my SC thing...