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  Sunday, 28 August 2016
  4 Replies
  157 Visits
Do people hear use small cell foundation or drawn comb on open frames around here? When starting with bees it was an interesting idea that use of small cell could curb the varroa mite numbers. Went ahead and purchased three cases of medium frames.

This spring two of three hives started from nucs had issues with drawing out the foundation. Decided to swarm then went on to bound the deep with honey. Moving a deep frame up and letting hang down from medium more or less forced one of the two to start drawing the medium small cell foundation. It didn't occur to me until last week the reason for their reluctance to the task. 5.4 mm cell to 4.9 mm cell is a huge reduction in size. The nucs purchased were (obviously?) on standard 5.4 mm foundation.

I needed to step them down in size and my hope is there will be a good golden rod flow this year to accomplish this to get one struggling hive to strength pre winter. I have some open frames with popscle sticks glued in top groove as starter strip. Put these together for a bee lure box late in year. I knew to use them in conjunction with foundation for a bee trap but somehow couldn't make the leap to what was going on right in my own hives. Sigh, wisdom is to be revered as it can be very taxing to gain.

What are your guys thoughts on small cell vs. standard? I'd purchased some frames last week and when comparing them to what I have is when the light bulb went on. So now I do have some standard sized medium frames and could just put those in. Somehow I'm still sold on the natural bee size and possible control aid in mite numbers by using cells 80% standard size. Believe I'll put open frame between small cell for intended brood area. Idea being they'd sooner draw natural comb which would be smaller than 5.4 but still larger than 4.9 as the bees are larger being grown in the larger cells. The problem there is maybe only half the box would be used . Maybe I should sandwich the open frame between the recently accidental purchase of standard cell and finish the transition in spring.
5 years ago
Thanks for the insight Mike. I'm guessing your suggestion is to pull any and all undrawn foundation and replace with standard cell. Sounds good. Was going to sandwich open frame with small cell tomorrow but either way works. Hoping for a good golden rod year for the weak hive to get up to strength by fall.

Thanks for the compliment Julie. I worked on that sentence for a minute as it made me smile. In hind sight "valued" would work better in place of "revered". One liners like Mark Twain would write crack me up. My favorite line is by Charles Warner-

"Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it."
5 years ago
I know nothing about what you write, but I think you wrote one of my favorite sentences ever. "Sigh, wisdom is to be revered as it can be very taxing to gain." Too true!!
5 years ago
Small cell and popsicle sticks and unicorns and fairy dust.

I think you've been spending too much time on the internet, listening to Michael Bush, et al. Rather than listening to those with no credible science, that never post numbers, why not read Seeley and Berry, et al. They've done the good science and shown that small cell is rubbish. And popsicle sticks instead of foundation? More bologna. Colonies with "natural comb" are no better at fighting varroa than colonies using foundation.

Of course, if you read what Bush says on the matter, small cell only works if you believe it will. He states on BeeSource, Seeley's experiments didn't show positive results because Tom didn't believe in it.

More faith based beekeeping.
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