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Author Topic: Small Cell  (Read 3506 times)

Offline doak

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Small Cell
« on: May 21, 2007, 12:43:06 PM »
I didn't want to but in on anyone else's  thread.
I have been wondering about the small cell  thing.
Didn't think too much about it till I got on this forum.

Does any one wonder about how the bees transform to small cell when they have been kept
 in the size cell that most beekeepers use, when they swarm and we do not catch the swarm.
Do they make the cell the same size as they are use to having to begain with?
And slowly get smaller? If large bees can't make small cells where do the small bees come from?
Any thoughts.
Someone said large bees couldn't make small cells, "can large people make small houses"?
doak

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Offline Jerrymac

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Re: Small Cell
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2007, 12:57:25 PM »
The bees will build smaller than the 5.4 cells manufactured by man for the brood nest. They will also build larger cells for honey storage. After there has been a brood turn over in the smaller cells (perhaps 5.2  5.1 ) then those new bees will build even smaller cells in the brood area until they get back down to their natural size.
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Offline doak

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Re: Small Cell
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2007, 01:20:03 PM »
Then if that is true the best way to go is with starter strips, like some of you are doing? "Right"?
For about 3 or 4  hatches, or more.?

I was just thinking, it will be hard to extract unsupported comb. duh.
doak

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Small Cell
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2007, 11:37:29 PM »
Michael Bush
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My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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Offline bassman1977

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Re: Small Cell
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2007, 06:18:22 PM »
Quote
I was just thinking, it will be hard to extract unsupported comb. duh.

Last year I did some experimenting with starter strips.  I am not sure if Mr. Bush practices wiring up the frame as you would if full foundation would be present, but the bees worked it right into the drawn foundation which they were building, giving it some support. I would still be careful when extracting from it however.
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Offline Moonshae

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Re: Small Cell
« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2007, 08:25:06 PM »
Since the size of the honey storage cells has no relevance to bee size, why bother with unwired foundation in harvest supers? I've been under the impression that the natural cell size brought on by starter strips (eventually) only matters in the brood areas.
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Offline Kirk-o

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Re: Small Cell
« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2007, 08:53:17 PM »
I just catch and use swarms most are small bees sometimes big bees.I extract
from starter strip comb all the time and I don't treat or feed
kirk-o
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Offline Dr/B

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Re: Small Cell
« Reply #7 on: September 15, 2007, 01:09:31 AM »
Just curious.

Is there any known limit to how small you can regress your bees? 

Has anyone heard of anyone going smaller than the 4.6-4.9mm?

Just how small can you get them? 

If it'd solve the mite issue, maybe we should regress all our bees to  'bout a 1/4 inch size.  We'd certainly be able to get more in each box.


 :?

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Offline rdy-b

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Re: Small Cell
« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2007, 04:04:47 AM »
ever wonder if the mites will regress also :? we know they adapt to change because they build resistance to treatments very complex this world of nature  RDY-B

Offline Moonshae

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Re: Small Cell
« Reply #9 on: September 15, 2007, 10:52:26 AM »
Just how small can you get them? 
If it'd solve the mite issue, maybe we should regress all our bees to  'bout a 1/4 inch size.  We'd certainly be able to get more in each box.

I would think that if you went unnaturally small, you'd end up with problems, too. Maybe not the same ones, but there would likely be problems of some sort. Perhaps they wouldn't be able to defend against pests as well, or their forage area would be significantly reduced, or they wouldn't have the mass necessary to keep the hive warm through winter. This is all speculation, of course, but if an even smaller size were a favorable trait, the bees would have gotten there on their own in the millions of years before humans started paying attention to them.
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Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Small Cell
« Reply #10 on: September 15, 2007, 11:21:12 AM »
>Is there any known limit to how small you can regress your bees?

Yes.

>Has anyone heard of anyone going smaller than the 4.6-4.9mm?

The Italian foundation back in the late 1800's was 4.4mm

>Just how small can you get them?

I think about 4.4mm is the limit.

>If it'd solve the mite issue, maybe we should regress all our bees to  'bout a 1/4 inch size.  We'd certainly be able to get more in each box.

But 4.9mm will solve the mite problem, so it's unnecessary, unnatural and  unproductive.  Not to mention it would be more work than getting them to 4.9mm.  4.4mm is still in the range of what is the bottom end of natural but you won't find a natural hive with most of the brood 4.4mm and I haven't seen any less than that in my hives or anyone else's.
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Offline Yarra_Valley

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Re: Small Cell
« Reply #11 on: September 16, 2007, 02:55:09 PM »
Question, if I use honey frames from a natural sized cell colony in the brood area, will the queen lay in it (and if so will it be drone brood because of larger cells? Or, will they tear it down, rebuild with smaller cell size and then lay in it? what about vice versa, if I'm trying to spread the brood by moving some up, once the brood has hatched, will they rebuild larger cells before they fill it with honey?

What I'm asking is, are brood frames and honey frames in a small cell colony interchangeable.

Thanks, James.
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Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Small Cell
« Reply #12 on: September 16, 2007, 03:36:40 PM »
>Question, if I use honey frames from a natural sized cell colony in the brood area, will the queen lay in it

Probably.

> (and if so will it be drone brood because of larger cells?

It depends on the cell size.  Some storage is drone sized.

> Or, will they tear it down, rebuild with smaller cell size and then lay in it?

Maybe, but it's doubtful.  More likely they will fill it with honey if they don't want the drones.

> what about vice versa, if I'm trying to spread the brood by moving some up, once the brood has hatched, will they rebuild larger cells before they fill it with honey?

No, they will just fill it with honey if that's what they want to use it for.

>What I'm asking is, are brood frames and honey frames in a small cell colony interchangeable.

If you use 4.9mm foundation, yes.  If you let them build what they want, probably not.  I'd mark the frame with the measurement of the core cell size (the size in the middle) and try to keep the core of the brood nest 4.9mm or smaller.
Michael Bush
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Offline Yarra_Valley

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Re: Small Cell
« Reply #13 on: September 17, 2007, 02:05:33 AM »
crystal clear MB thankyou.

I can't get 4.9 mm foundation here. Helpful hint with labelling the frames with the core cell size. I guess if I want to add empty frames to the brood chamber to relieve congestion, there is no need to add empty drawn honey frames, just empty frames with starter strips.

is there an online resource for an easy way to make blank starter strips?

Thanks,
James.

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Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Small Cell
« Reply #14 on: September 17, 2007, 06:50:01 AM »
>is there an online resource for an easy way to make blank starter strips?

I'm sure I've seen some on some of the sites for primitive beekeeping, but the concept is simple.  Just cut a board the length you want them and soak it in brine.  Dip it in beeswax and let it cool.  If it's too thin, let the bees wax get cooler and dip it again.  Peal the wax off the board.

But wooden strips work just as well and can be made out of an 1/8" to 3/16" strip ripped off of a one by.
Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm en espanol: bushfarms.com/es_bees.htm  auf deutsche: bushfarms.com/de_bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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