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small cell bees

8844 Views 31 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  fatbeeman
I posted earlier in another topic, about 4.9 mm bees, and of course there is no debate that bees naturally build cells of varying sizes from 4.8 -5.8mm Apparently there is some science to support the benefits of small cell brood cells. Just today I entered 4.9 mm bee in yahoo search-found many sites more then one were either posting results or conducting tests. The short of it is that apparently the pupation stage of the smaller bee is significantly shorter--by 2 days--egg to adult in 19 days. This according to the research they conducted disrupts the life cycle of the varroa mites apparently they havent mautred enough to have mated or lay their own eggs, and the bees have access to them. Seems that this coupled with the use of drone brood frames useful in really knocking down varroa mite populations. Again according to whats currently published on the net
I was unable to return to the site stating the shortened life cycle, when I find it again I will post it.
Again as I always say, these are not something written in stone--yet but make sense when corraberated.
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Is there anyone else on here that has used the small cell wax foundation and has some additional experience to report?

I am planning for my very first hives and am considering small cell foundation but want to read more actual experiences.
sqkcrk said:
All curealls should be met w/ skepticism. That's how smallcell started. People were skeptical about cell size of embosed foundation. Now there are all sorts of wheel reinventions going on.
Well, isn't man-made foundation a 'wheel reinvention' to begin with? ;)
So why not experiment with various types and sizes?... and assuming that man made foundations need to be somewhat similar to the bees own natural cell construction.
So, has the distribution of various sized cells in a natural hive been studied or recorded? i mean, are larger sized cells concentrated in certain areas for certain function? That would be fascinating to know.
Man tends to want to standardize things because of the ease of manufacture, of course. Yet we do already make larger drone-cell frames, right?
For all we know, it might be really productive and good for the bees to put small cell frames in certain areas of the hive and standard size cell frames in other areas? just a thought, wondering if others have experimented.
I'm just wondering if there is anyone here who is experimenting with or using the small cell foundations?
Hey thanks, some interesting reading an photos there. :)
Lots of answers to lots of questions, and lots of questions to lots of answers....isn't it always the case?
Fascinating reading nonetheless. :)
Well, thanks for all your help, guys.
In the end, I am supposed to be given a nice active hive at the end of Oct. and will continue on with its standard sized wax foundations.

So excited!
G3farms said:
Sounds like a good deal for someone to give you a hive, just be sure they have enough stores to make it through a NY winter.
Yes, thank you! I'm very excited.
There are three deeps and then an additional (mostly empty) super on top of that. I will have a BK helping me with the move (thank goodness) and he says we will check things and make sure all is well once we get it over here. (yes we will remove that useless super) Also my daughter is an entomologist and worked in the bee dept at Cornell U and is willing to come here too so we can check the hive over before the real cold weather sets in here in late November. I consider myself pretty darned lucky with all this!
It's still not too late to feed a bit if necessary, but I have a feeling there must be plenty of food in the 3 deeps since no one has taken honey from it since Spring 2008, and the bees seemed to be very actively coming and going from the hive when I observed them last week during a sunny day.
Now we are supposed to move the hive at the end of Oct now. I can hardly wait, I'm so excited! :yahoo:
Well the hive owner did look into the top of the hive the other day (after 18 months!) and said the top super (which we will definitely take off and get out of there) is empty, and that the upper (third) deep seems half empty. The BK seemed to be unfazed by all this and said no problem. I'll just have to trust his confidence I guess. He is young (seems mid 30's) and strong, so that's good. I do know that he has moved a lot of hives in the past. Could be we could take the few frames out of the top deep while moving and put them back when we get it here? Then there would be two deeps, with basically unknown content.
There were plenty of happy looking bees going in and out of the hive when I saw it on a sunny day recently.
We'll see....! One way or another, it should be plenty interesting. :roll:
tecumseh said:
a bit of experience goes quite a long way. at least for me just closely observing how something is done (the devil is in the detail) by someone who has performed a chore a numerious times fills in a lot of blanks and answers a lot of question. be careful... if someone has done a task often enough they can make it appear way too easy.
Understood. It's also interesting to watch all the various YouTube 'instructional' videos on beepeeking tasks. Talk about drastic variation in techniques. Most bk on Youtube are very gentle when handling/installing bees, I found others to be appallingly rough- one guy sprayed his package with so much syrup the bees were just a sopping mess, then he kept 'accidentally' dropping the box onto the ground from 2 feet up to knock them down in the box, saying "Oops!" and "...Oops again!"...he thought it was pretty funny. I wondered how many broken legs and antennae must have been going on it that poor package of stressed out bees. Must have been like being in a train wreck for them. He said he was making the bees 'drunk and fat and happy'. hmmm.... :| In stark contrast, another guy elegantly installed his package of bees in about 30 seconds with the bees practically not even noticing the move, he was that smooth and gentle.

I have been reading both "The Backyard Beekeeper" and "Beekeeping for Dummies" books in addition to talking with the BK'ers I have been in communication with, and reading/;looking at internet information. There is so much info out there to absorb! Not to mention this forum as well. :p
I did work the smoker for one local BK as he opened and inspected his two hives last month- that was wonderful, being right there with the open hize all buzzing their amazing "Ommmmmm" buzz like the whole universe was in perfect vibration. :mrgreen:
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