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Author Topic: Can I transition to small cell foundation one super at a time?  (Read 6017 times)
Michael Bush
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« Reply #20 on: May 20, 2007, 06:41:18 PM »

>Can you transition to small cell foundation one super at a time?

The supers are irrelevant.  It's the brood nest that matters.  The bees usually won't drawn the smaller (4.4mm to 4.9mm) cells in the supers.  They will tend to draw drone cells or 5.2mm or so cells in the supers as they are building them for the purpose of honey storage and not for the purpose of brood rearing.  In the brood nest is the only place I see them draw really small cells and in the brood nest is the only place you'll use it to get smaller bees who will build the really small cells.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesnaturalcell.htm
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« Reply #21 on: May 20, 2007, 06:53:02 PM »

Because my bees are in transition, the difference in bee sizes right now is amazing.  Some of the drones are HUGE from those out of control drone cells and they look like Gulliver up against some of the much smaller worker bees who are now emerging.  The front landing of the hive looks like a motley crew.

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« Reply #22 on: May 20, 2007, 06:57:39 PM »

now..when would be the best time to push them into brood rearing. i mean..bees draw different comb at different time, i noticed that the strong building urge in spring is not very good for regression, they built me lots of drone comb and i doubt they regressed a lot, but i'd had to measure it, i measured a few but..dissapointed, although they were smaller pieces, some even from supers, but still.

would it be better to remove most of brood comb in late summer and feed them stron-kind of in preparation for winter, plus they'd be forced to build comb for brood and the best of all, i doubt they'd want to build drone comb, well maybe a little, but it would be because of the "strong flow"

this popped to my head because someone once mentioned that beeks were at most pleased with comb built on buckwheat pasture, now--this pasture is very late-autumn one, when bees usually don't even build comb, most beeks around here say that after linden pasture(mid june) bees are reluctant to building new comb-so, with an artificial flow would it go?ah..i'll give it a try with at least one hive.
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« Reply #23 on: May 20, 2007, 07:57:47 PM »

Bees build three sizes of comb, not counting queen cells: drone comb, storage comb, worker comb.  On a frame of comb the upper portion (1st inch or so) is usually storage comb, drone comb is usually on the ends and bottom corners, and worker comb makes up the majority of the rest of the comb within any frame within the brood chamber.  Supers will usually be mostly storage with some drone sized comb.
The object of regressing is to get smaller cell size in the brood chamber.  the way you do that is to take last years comb and move it up and let them build new smaller comb in the brood chamber.  With in 2-3 years you have small comb in the brood chamber and storage/drone comb in the supers or for catching swarms.
Using starter strips or bare frames will cause the bees to self regress over a period of time.
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« Reply #24 on: May 20, 2007, 11:55:54 PM »

I've become curious about this particular aspect of regressing to small cell - the resulting array of cell sizes that will develope for various uses (drone cells, storage cells. etc). Can this create any level of complication for the 8 frame medium beekeeper who has been using frames freely for either brood or storage?
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #25 on: May 21, 2007, 06:49:56 AM »

If you want totally interchangable frames, it would be best to use 4.9mm foundation and cull combs that are oversized as you go.  Eventually you'll have all 4.9mm and it can be put anywhere.

I'm having very good luck with the Mann Lake PF120 frames which are 4.95mm  The bees seem willing to draw it and don't seem to mess it up or draw it larger.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #26 on: June 14, 2007, 02:08:56 PM »

Can you transition to small cell foundation one super at a time?

 Basically my very new hive (5 weeks old, 1 deep, 1 medium) has not worked the second super yet and I’d like to go out in the yard today and change the foundation in the second hive to small cell.   I don’t know when I’ll get a chance to switch the bottom deep, probably not this season, so the hive would be would working with 2 different size foundations for awhile. 

Is the plan worth a try?  This way I wouldn’t have to be changing foundation in the 2nd box. 

Bee1

It is not that simple.  It takes small bees to build small cell.  As long as you have large cell in the brood area, they will keep rearing large bees.

I've been thinking about this idea, and if the issue is that the large cells are on the bottom, and the bees will continue using that primarily for brood, what if the box of small cell foundation were placed under the current box (with larger cells)? If the tendency of bees is to have brood below and storage above, and storage cells larger than brood cells, wouldn't this setup encourage them to build out the smaller foundation below for brood and use the bigger cells in the upper box for storage?
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« Reply #27 on: June 15, 2007, 08:38:24 AM »

I've been thinking about this idea, and if the issue is that the large cells are on the bottom, and the bees will continue using that primarily for brood, what if the box of small cell foundation were placed under the current box (with larger cells)? If the tendency of bees is to have brood below and storage above, and storage cells larger than brood cells, wouldn't this setup encourage them to build out the smaller foundation below for brood and use the bigger cells in the upper box for storage?


Placing the small cell foundation under the large cell brood chamber doesn't move the brood area, and as Micheal stated about they tend to only draw small cell in the brood chamber.  Your analogy of brood on bottom storage on top is how man wants it to ideally be, not necessarily what the bees want.  Think of a feral swarm and how they develop their nest.  They find a suitable cavity and start building comb for a brood area first from the top of the cavity and continue to build down from there.  My TBH have mostly drone cells at the bottoms.

If one is looking to move toward small cell,  I wouldn't worry about the supers, but start by putting small cell foundation (or foundationless frames) in the middle of the brood chamber.  Remember, it is a regressive process and it takes small bees to make small cell.  Your not going to get large bees to draw small cell.  You can get large bees to draw slightly smaller than large cells in the brood area that will raise slightly small that large bees, who in turn will draw slightly smaller than slightly smaller large cell.........  and you can regress your way down.  This only works in the brood area, as Micheal also stated above,  small cell bees draw larger cells for storage.
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« Reply #28 on: June 15, 2007, 10:06:15 AM »

Your analogy of brood on bottom storage on top is how man wants it to ideally be, not necessarily what the bees want.  Think of a feral swarm and how they develop their nest.  They find a suitable cavity and start building comb for a brood area first from the top of the cavity and continue to build down from there.  My TBH have mostly drone cells at the bottoms.

Ah, I see. I thought brood on the bottom and honey storage above was their natural inclination.

If one is looking to move toward small cell,  I wouldn't worry about the supers, but start by putting small cell foundation (or foundationless frames) in the middle of the brood chamber.  This only works in the brood area, as Micheal also stated above,  small cell bees draw larger cells for storage.

I wasn't going to worry about the supers, I was just looking to give them as much of a jumpstart as possible. I realize that they won't go from big bees to small bees in one generation.

I installed my packages this year (4 weeks ago), is there any disadvantage to starting their regression this season? Of course, my primary goal for them is that they have enough stores for the winter, and I don't want to encourage them to draw comb at the expense of winter stores...big bees are better than dead small bees. I'll be putting a second deep on each hive in the next week or so; they've drawn about 60%-70% of the frames currently in their single deeps. I'll use small cell starter strips, unless there's an advantage to using full sheets of small cell foundation?
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« Reply #29 on: June 15, 2007, 04:17:24 PM »

i'm really thinking bout importing some of that HSC or permacomb! it sure is expensive...with all the postal costs and stuff but for results..i hope it'll be worth it, if i do it.

Yep. HSC for instant regression. That it the way to go these days. Enough for one brood box or a nuc and then from there go without foundation.

What is this HSC again??? Is this something I can start using on my strong hive?? How to do this?? I want to go foundationless next year and is this a good way to start??
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« Reply #30 on: June 15, 2007, 06:18:57 PM »

What is this HSC again??? Is this something I can start using on my strong hive?? How to do this?? I want to go foundationless next year and is this a good way to start??
Annette


It is fully drawn 4.9 plastic frames.  It takes a little persuasion to get the bees to use it at first.  It seems  they will ignore it unless they have no other choice.  I have two swarms that I put into hives with just HSC and they are doing fine.  It is reported that once the bees use the frame,  the acceptance issue is not a problem.  It is a good way to almost instant regression your bees.  After a couple of brood cycles, you would have all smallcell bees.

http://www.honeysupercell.com
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« Reply #31 on: June 15, 2007, 06:34:47 PM »

I installed my packages this year (4 weeks ago), is there any disadvantage to starting their regression this season? Of course, my primary goal for them is that they have enough stores for the winter, and I don't want to encourage them to draw comb at the expense of winter stores...big bees are better than dead small bees. I'll be putting a second deep on each hive in the next week or so; they've drawn about 60%-70% of the frames currently in their single deeps. I'll use small cell starter strips, unless there's an advantage to using full sheets of small cell foundation?

Instead of just adding a supper of starter strips on top, I would consider slowly feeding them into the center of the existing brood chamber and move the current larger ones to the outside. It will lessen the chance of them drawing larger comb for honey storage and in the worse case over drawing into adjacent frame space with capped honey.
BTW foundation size for starter strips is irrelevant.  It is not like they will draw out the SC foundation and continue the same size down the frame.  They will build the size comb they want.  So if your going with foundation strips, just buy the cheapest.
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« Reply #32 on: June 15, 2007, 08:06:33 PM »

Instead of just adding a supper of starter strips on top, I would consider slowly feeding them into the center of the existing brood chamber and move the current larger ones to the outside.

I've seen quite a number of times on these forums to not break up the brood nest with undrawn frames. Is regression an exception, or should I just place them at the edge of the brood frames?
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« Reply #33 on: June 15, 2007, 08:40:04 PM »

I've seen quite a number of times on these forums to not break up the brood nest with undrawn frames. Is regression an exception, or should I just place them at the edge of the brood frames?

You should not break up the brood area if the weather is cold or the hive is weak.  Also keep in mind that there is a big difference between a starter strip or foundationless frame and a full frame of foundation.   A full frame of foundation is like a wall separating the two brood areas.  With the starter strip or foundationless frame, the bees will festoon in the open area and bridge the gap between the two brood areas making it one brood area again.

If your goal is to build small cell,  then your best chances are in the brood area.
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« Reply #34 on: June 16, 2007, 10:10:07 AM »

>I've seen quite a number of times on these forums to not break up the brood nest with undrawn frames. Is regression an exception

Regression and swarm control are both good reasons for an empty frame in the brood nest.  But you should make sure there are enough bees to quickly fill the space with festooning bees.  Just make the space for the frame and wait few minutes.  If they can't fill the space, you should put things back like they were and leave them alone.  If they can then put the empty frame in between two drawn brood combs.  In this particular case (between two nicely drawn brood combs) you don't even need the starter strip.
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« Reply #35 on: June 16, 2007, 05:16:31 PM »

If a a person buys a package of bees & a queen...shakes the bees into a hive body with HSC...even if the bees come from standard doundation...will the bees work the HSC without problems???  I am feeling that IF I start another hive, I might like to start with HSC even if it is extremely pricey IMHO...hhhhhmmm Undecided
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« Reply #36 on: June 16, 2007, 06:23:45 PM »

If a a person buys a package of bees & a queen...shakes the bees into a hive body with HSC...even if the bees come from standard doundation...will the bees work the HSC without problems???  I am feeling that IF I start another hive, I might like to start with HSC even if it is extremely pricey IMHO...hhhhhmmm Undecided

Well, nothing with bees is guaranteed "problem free",  but absolutely.  This is the best way to instant regress bees.  I did what you described with 2 swarms (I don't buy packages because I'm SHB free and would like to stay that way) and they are doing fine.  A little spotty at first with the brood pattern, but they are building up fine.  Once you go thru a couple of brood cycles, you can start feeding foundationless or starter strips and draw your own small cell.   
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« Reply #37 on: June 16, 2007, 07:30:14 PM »

Oh thanks Robo, that sounds doable...and then one can use the 4.9 foundation for brood  OR do we let the bees make their own brood foundation as well...?

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« Reply #38 on: June 16, 2007, 09:18:51 PM »

Either 4.9 or foundationless would work fine.   My plan is that once I get the hives regressed and building small comb to move the HSC to another hive for regression.
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« Reply #39 on: June 17, 2007, 01:18:47 PM »

>If a a person buys a package of bees & a queen...shakes the bees into a hive body with HSC...even if the bees come from standard doundation...will the bees work the HSC without problems???

If they have no choice they usually give in pretty quickly and use it.  Some people use an excluder as an includer (between the queen and the exit) for the first couple of weeks until there is open brood.
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Michael Bush
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