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northernbee

small cell vs large

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i remember reading a while ago someone was getting some small cell frames to experiment with, not sure where.

I guess a top bar is small cell comb as the bees drawing it to suit themselves,? is there any one having and results with lower mite rates or noticed shorted brood hatching timess.

i see plenty from america diong it but not much here

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41 minutes ago, northernbee said:

I guess a top bar is small cell comb as the bees drawing it to suit themselves,? 

 

Probably not, if you measure it. Easy to do, just put a ruler on the comb and measure along 10 cells, then divide by 10. You will find most natural brood comb is around 5.2 or 5.3. I have been surpised though, depending what the season is they may build it 5.5.

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My bees drew out a few foundationless frames (without starter strips) during a good flow and the cells are much larger than what they would draw out normally with foundation. Didn't measure it yet but it is very obvious just looking.

If that was used for brood would they bee big bees or used for Drones? 

 

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They would be drones. It's because hives that have frames built on comb foundation do not have as many drone cells as a natural hive. So if you give them an empty space they will build drone comb. Until they have what they think is enough, after that they will build worker comb again.

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15 hours ago, Alastair said:

 

Probably not, if you measure it. Easy to do, just put a ruler on the comb and measure along 10 cells, then divide by 10. You will find most natural brood comb is around 5.2 or 5.3. I have been surpised though, depending what the season is they may build it 5.5.

correct me if im wrong but arent you meant to measure the internal diameter of the cell, by that method you will be measuring the cell as well as 11 cell wall thicknesses. i just assumed it would be the internal?

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45 minutes ago, northernbee said:

correct me if im wrong

 

Sure. B|

 

Because of the thinness of the cell wall which most folks don't have the technology to accurately measure, plus small variations from one cell to another, the way everybody does it is measure 10 then divide by 10.

 

Realise we are not talking the thicker, reinforced top of the cell, we are taking about the actual wall.

Edited by Alastair
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aha, always wondered, my engineering brain taking over.

so has anyone had any impact on varroa or managed to get their bees to small cell size

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There is a ton about this on the google machine. It seems that the answer is yes and that big cells are good for varroa. Here is the first google hit (from 2003). It wasn’t done here, was done with Africanised bees and was only 6 colonies - your mileage may vary.

 

Varroa mite infestations in Africanized honey bee brood are clearly affected by comb cell width. When compared in the same colony, the largest brood cells, those in Carniolan combs (mean of about 5.3 mm inside width) were about 38% more infested than the Italian comb brood cells (mean of about 5.15 mm), which in turn were about 13% more infested than the self-built Africanized combs (mean of about 4.8 mm”

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17 minutes ago, cBank said:

There is a ton about this on the google machine. It seems that the answer is yes

Right, pass me that Tui

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32 minutes ago, cBank said:

There is a ton about this on the google machine. It seems that the answer is yes and that big cells are good for varroa. Here is the first google hit (from 2003). It wasn’t done here, was done with Africanised bees and was only 6 colonies - your mileage may vary.

 

Varroa mite infestations in Africanized honey bee brood are clearly affected by comb cell width. When compared in the same colony, the largest brood cells, those in Carniolan combs (mean of about 5.3 mm inside width) were about 38% more infested than the Italian comb brood cells (mean of about 5.15 mm), which in turn were about 13% more infested than the self-built Africanized combs (mean of about 4.8 mm”

 

cBank that is a good answer, but I think there is a problem with that study. They found that the bigger the cells, the more infested. Problem is, the mites had a choice. If there was no choice, such as if all cells were the same size, then the mites would just have to use those cells regardless.

 

A proper trial would be some large cell hives against some small cell hives.

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There has been a trial in the UK by Reading University which apppears to have successfully produce a plague of varroa in our area.  The problem in the UK is that bee keepers don't have to be registered which is absolutely rediculous, and anyone can do trials and tests on anything they like without telling anyone.  One of their trials was 100m from our apiary and we did not know until we went on a visit.  They have lost 4 of their 6 colonies this "winter" but the details as to why i do not know. 

Edited by Norm
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You would think that doing anything too nutty would leave one open to legal action. In my experience universities are very risk averse and spend a fortune considering unlikely outcomes and liabilities. Maybe that was just the place I was at.

Edited by cBank

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This may be simplistic of me but why would we not just ask the folk who use Top Bar hives all the time? Some folk may even have both Langstroth and Top Bar so the comparison could be made - apples with apples as it were. I feel if we compare hives in different situations there may be other unknowns affecting the bees.

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I imported small cell frames from Mann Lake to put into my first ever hive.

They were put in late spring early summer, so, probably too late to make much of an impact.

Hive is still alive and doing well with minimal treatments.

No crawlers of any sorts for ages which has been my trigger to do something.

Mite levels per sticky board are next to nothing.....yes I have already been told its not reliable.

 

Still too early to tell how it will end, especially being a newbie.

 

Apparently you need to be at it for three years to stabilize them and have shaved the shoulders of the frames down to at least 32mm. The ones in the hive at the moment havent been cos I wanted to make sure the existing Queen could actually get to the cells.

 

I have components for two other hives now to start up next spring that do have frames with the shaved down shoulders.

It will be interesting to see how it pans out.

 

I'll come back next year bragging that they are still alive or with my tail between my legs if they die so you can all growl at me again.  

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Have you measured the cell size (by measuring 10) so you know if they are small cell size? 

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46 minutes ago, mischief said:

I imported small cell frames from Mann Lake to put into my first ever hive.

They were put in late spring early summer, so, probably too late to make much of an impact.

Hive is still alive and doing well with minimal treatments.

No crawlers of any sorts for ages which has been my trigger to do something.

Mite levels per sticky board are next to nothing.....yes I have already been told its not reliable.

 

Still too early to tell how it will end, especially being a newbie.

 

Apparently you need to be at it for three years to stabilize them and have shaved the shoulders of the frames down to at least 32mm. The ones in the hive at the moment havent been cos I wanted to make sure the existing Queen could actually get to the cells.

 

I have components for two other hives now to start up next spring that do have frames with the shaved down shoulders.

It will be interesting to see how it pans out.

 

I'll come back next year bragging that they are still alive or with my tail between my legs if they die so you can all growl at me again.  

My first year changing over was so labour intensive making sure the frame, brood cycle made the frames and cell correct, now three full seasons later, cells are frames are very nicely made 4.9mm. Take the time to get good frames. Treat in March, and then you can miss spring, well that is what I do anyway on the majority of them, have three methods or more going on now. Lost none in spring 2017. Lost some autum 2017 due to robbing, and starved. See my other post re the two year old treatment free hive and now a split from it. The biggest issue I have is keeping other drones out in spring. I run really small, ie general opinion, entrances all year, regardless of colony size, that seems to help with drift and drones.

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Hi Matthew,

What size do you keep the entrances at?

Are they round holes? Upper or lower entrances?

Thanks.

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17 minutes ago, mischief said:

Hi Matthew,

What size do you keep the entrances at?

Are they round holes? Upper or lower entrances?

Thanks.

Less than half width of box for a large colony,60-80k plus of bees. Smaller for smaller colonies down to 10mm. All slot holes.

all lower entrances, some hives I use vented meshed holes on front of boxes on second box upwards. meshed floors, mostly, only two solid as I ran out of mesh. Not all frames of small cell wax do they make small cell and nicely, when the flow is on they can make some really strange cells, so I rotate out asap, replace brood frames all the time.

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