Small Cell in Canada

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by kemptville, Apr 25, 2012.

  1. kemptville

    kemptville New Member

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    Is small cell or natural cell beekeeping not popular in Canada as it is around the rest of the world?

    I've been looking for and have even asked other beeks about it and no one seems to know what I am talking about. Why is that you think?

    If anyone reading this from Canada and are established in natural cell beekeeping - I'd love to hear from you.

    Cheers

    Marc
     
  2. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    I remember reading an article in Rural Delivery about a lady on Prince Edward Island that was into small cell beekeeping. Not too sure if David from Beeworks (Ontario) is into it or not.
     

  3. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    If it was me, I'd just let the bees draw their own comb on foundationless frames and phase out the old foundation frames. Within a few generations of queens (assuming you'll be raising your own queens), they will be drawing 'natural cell' size, instead of being forced onto either large cell OR small cell foundation. 'Small cell' and 'natural cell' are not necessarily the same thing. I'd think there would be more folks knowing what you're talking about with 'natural comb' or 'foundationless', and not so many who will know about 'small cell' foundation.
     
  4. Marbees

    Marbees Member

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    Natural cell foundation in brood boxes is my goal. Omie just described how to get there.(raising your queens is a must)
    And in supers, if they were less expensive, I would have plastic frames with drone foundation.(easy and fast extraction)
    I don't think, with current prices, I'll get drone frames in my supers any time soon, but I'm working on getting natural cells in my brood boxes. 4.9 mm or 5.1 mm whatever they build, I'll accept it, without judging.:grin:
    There is a small cell "movement" on the other forum, where "believers" wouldn't tolerate any cell bigger than 4.9 mm, however I believe bees know better.
     
  5. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    a snip..
    I've been looking for and have even asked other beeks about it and no one seems to know what I am talking about. Why is that you think?

    tecumseh:
    I held out HOPE that our Canadian neighbors might recognize this as nonsense or perhaps have been subjected to a bit better education that us folks down here south of the border.

    marbees writies...
    raising your queens is a must

    tecumseh:
    so why is this aspect of beekeeping essential marsbee? I am trying to follow folks logic here (on a subject that evidently in emotionally laden and therefore may not have much logic that applies).
     
  6. kemptville

    kemptville New Member

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    Thx to all!

    Omie - I think at this point I'll do exactly what you suggest - "let the bees draw their own comb on foundationless frames and phase out the old foundation frames".

    As I'm not planning on moving my hives for poly services nor am I planning on honey extraction (other than comb honey) foundationless would work just fine overall.

    Lots to learn!
     
  7. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    I've been wrong about things in life far too many times to ever dismiss other dedicated folks' methods of doing things as 'nonsense'.

    Nobody's getting emotionally laden here as far as I see. :razz:
    I think what was meant about raising your own queens is that if you spend several generations or years letting your bees build their own foundation, the cell size (and I suppose the bees too) will be smaller to some degree than commercial foundation. It stands to reason that if you order a queen from outside sources that comes from stock raised on commercial foundation, she might find the cell size too small and be reluctant, or at the very least you'll be undoing what you were working towards. That's the reasoning behind it, anyway.
     
  8. Marbees

    Marbees Member

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    Thanks Omie:thumbsup:, tec that's the reason, among others, to breed my own queens.
    There is a fact that bees in general build smaller size cells on foundationless frames. The average size of workers cell on natural foundation is 5.08 mm versus commercially available 5.4 - 5.7 mm.
    Not to mention the importance of the clean wax.
    Being a believer that natural foundation is the best I hope to eventually have all foundationless frames in my brood boxes.
    Small cell or large cell, it's about forcing bees to do unnatural thing. People keep forgetting that bees are not domesticated animals.
     
  9. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    As I understand the situation, bees are not that sensitive to the EXACT size of the cells. After all, as a cell is used over and over again, with the exuviae being left behind and "pasted" to the inside walls of the cells, they naturally become smaller and smaller.
     
  10. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    I suspect efmesch see the details of this a bit like myself. eventually for most bees in the feral situation (in say the wall of a house) the cells get smaller and smaller and eventually the old comb is left behind for the wax moth to deal with.

    a snip..
    The average size of workers cell on natural foundation is 5.08 mm versus commercially available 5.4 - 5.7 mm.

    tecumseh...
    there's that word again 'natural' :wink:... which I suspect tends to be extremely emotionally ladened (or at least the marketing folks seem to think so). since the bees of europe were of a varied size and with there being some trend there in the bee farther south being somewhat larger and those farther north being somewhat smaller how could an average tell you much of anything without knowing what kind of bees (the race of bees) the sample represents.

    a marsbee snip..
    Not to mention the importance of the clean wax.

    tecumseh:
    my reading of some of the more current stuff related to the science of bees suggest that this looks to be of significant importance. I suspect that if a person prioritized the importance of newer wax and small cell that the first is actually much more important and the latter less so. it is not difficult for me to see how anyone (not totally knowledgeable about scientific methodology and experimental design) could confuse the effect of one with the other (and vice versa for that matter).

    now kemptville if you really wanted to have some true small cell stock why not just rear africanized bees? there cell size is about what all the 'small cell' advocates are shooting for so why not just get you some of that 'good stock' and be done with it. <I will note here that some of the first advocates of small cell were from geographical location where africanized bees were quite prevalent which I myself suspect in not so much of a coincidence... once again the power of BF Skinner's superstitious chicken observation should never be underestimated.
     
  11. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    I love it when efmesch posts. I learn new words and will never forget how to use a dictionary!
    Thank you my friend! :lol:
     
  12. clinch

    clinch New Member

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    Marc, I have found the same thing. No one around here knows what I'm talking about and even the local bee supply shop hadn't heard of small cell foundation when I asked. I think it's a new concept for a lot of beekeepers, especially those who have had success for many, many years with no major problems.

    For me, starting out as a new beekeeper, I'm interested in trying out small cells, but I also want to use the tried and true methods that have been popular for most of the last century. Ideally you could try a small cell hive right next to a "now standard" cell hive and see the results.

    I want to get a very strong hive up and running during my first summer, and then perhaps do some splits and experimenting in future years.

    I did read a book recently (reviewed here) called The Complete Idiot's Guide to beekeeping. Don't be fooled by the title. You don't have to be an idiot to read it. :wink: It had a very informative section on Small Cell beekeeping you might be interested in. One advantage to small cell that the author lists is that "small cells" (4.9mm) get capped 24 hours sooner than the regular "large cells" common today. This earlier capping means that Varroa mites have less chance of getting into the cells.

    Disclaimer: I just want to be clear, I'm no expert on any of this (I don't even have bees yet), but I'm all for experimenting and trying out small cell in the future. I'd love to share information with you Marc.
     
  13. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Small cell proponents claim that there are two advantages, one being slightly earlier rearing (as clinch mentions above) as well as the cells being smaller allow fewer varroa to enter to mate and reproduce.
    Here is a link to Randy Oliver's site that has some good information on small cell.
    http://scientificbeekeeping.com/trial-of-honeysupercell-small-cell-combs/
     
  14. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    There are more and more BKs these days realizing that chemicals and pesticides from the environment do tend to accumulate in wax comb (comb wax has been tested for residues in lab studies), so rotating out comb after a few years makes some sense. Old comb can be used in swarm traps. I wouldn't even want to use it for candles, since I wouldn't want pesticide-laden wax candles burning inside my house. On the other hand, emotionally-laden candles would be ok by me. :lol:
     
  15. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    an Omie snip..
    emotionally-laden candles

    tecumseh:
    where can I buy a dozen or so of those?
     
  16. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    I can send you some if you promise not to burn them at both ends. :wink:
     
  17. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    From what I learned at a beekeepers conference here in Israel, Check-Mite is (this word is for you Perry :grin:) Lipophylic and gets absorbed into the wax, leaving a residue there. Amitraz is Hydrophylic, and does not get absorbed or leave a residue in the wax.
     
  18. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    for anyone wanting to know more I found the following article attached to the following honey producer web sit most informative. someone here (on this site) posted this link some time ago and I no longer remember who gets credit for the find...

    circlesevenhoneyandpollination.com

    click on varroa destructor....

    quite informative article... for those wishing to 'cut to the chase' go to the paragraph or so on how the varroa orients or finds it's prey. there is also a quite extensive table of methods used and their effect or lack of effect at the end of the article.
     
  19. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    There is some great info there about varroa for sure!
    Some of the suggestions on that site about CCD should be taken with a grain of salt I feel- remember a year ago it was much talked about how the scientists were looking for a mysterious virus as the cause of CCD, but within these past few months new Harvard studies and other scientific confirmation studies are pointing much more strongly to neonicotinoid pesticides as being the main contributor to CCD. (big surprise there....not)
    Weakened bees certainly will fall prey to more disease and parasites, including varroa.