From Large to small cel

Basic beekeeping, this is beekeeping after the first winter until about the third or fourth year. You are a beekeeper, but you still have a lot to learn. Talk about normal everyday beekeeping here.
Oranjedal
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From Large to small cel

Postby Oranjedal » Thu Feb 09, 2017 9:20 am

Hello,

How do I go from large celsize to small?

In my first year as a beekeeper I got bees from a local breeder with Large cell. I have made some nuc's the last two years with older combs with Large cell and put in new frames with small strips of foundation. This year I would like to continue this proces of putting small strips in. Am I going the right way towards small cell, or do I have to alter my course?

The first winter one of my colonies died and this year untill now I have lost 3 out of 10 colonies. I haven't treated against Varroa.
In our region there is almost no support for beekeepers that don't treat. So I will ask my questions here for a bit of confidence.

Kind regards,

Marcel Bergmeester
The Netherlands

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SiWolKe
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Re: From Large to small cel

Postby SiWolKe » Thu Feb 09, 2017 10:28 am

Welcome Marcel!

The best way to regress in my eyes is to use plastic comb small cell ( this must be taken out before winter) or a drawn small cell comb to start the bees.
You must have smaller beespace between frames, too. ( 32-33mm)
My large cell co- workers will use natural comb or 5.1 foundation, because our bees will draw smaller then and afterwards they will use 4.9 foundation or natural comb still.

Your losses are not very high, so fingers crossed this will go on.
Good luck!
Sibylle
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moebees
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Re: From Large to small cel

Postby moebees » Thu Feb 09, 2017 8:48 pm

How do I go from large celsize to small?


I am sure Michael Bush will weigh in on this and he is the expert. I am starting out this year and what I am intending to do is start out on Mann Lake PF100 frames which are 4.9 and since they are plastic the bees cannot resize them as easily as wax foundation. Once my original package bee die off my bees should theoretically be 4.9 bees so I will then begin checker boarding the brood nest with foundation less frames.

In your case I don't know if checker boarding with PF100 frames might be an option? Then as the old comb gets back filled with nectar and honey you could pull those out. I think that would be the quickest way. Putting foundation less in with the large cell will take a long time to regress.
Sam Droege, a biologist for the U.S. Geological Survey—“bees are not optional."

moebees
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Re: From Large to small cel

Postby moebees » Thu Feb 09, 2017 8:50 pm

My bad. I didn't see you are from the Netherlands so you probably cannot get Mann Lake PF100. There may be a European equivalent, I don't know.
Sam Droege, a biologist for the U.S. Geological Survey—“bees are not optional."

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SiWolKe
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Re: From Large to small cel

Postby SiWolKe » Thu Feb 09, 2017 9:21 pm

ROVERGARDEN Via Boccaccio 11 - 21023 Besozzo
Tel: 0332-970.000 e-mail: roverabesozzo@rovergarden.com

I´ve never ordered from them but I hope this helps
Civility is strength. http://www.VivaBiene.de

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Ferdi
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Re: From Large to small cel

Postby Ferdi » Fri Feb 10, 2017 1:43 pm

Hi Marcel,

Welcome! More or less I'm in the same situation as you. My plan is to first use smal-cell foundations I have and then let my bees build their own comb. If you choose to go foundationless you can use nucs as comb drawers to some degree because they generally tend to build nice combs with mostly worker cells.

hivefivebees
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Re: RE: Re: From Large to small cel

Postby hivefivebees » Fri Feb 10, 2017 4:37 pm

SiWolKe wrote:Welcome Marcel!

The best way to regress in my eyes is to use plastic comb small cell ( this must be taken out before winter) or a drawn small cell comb to start the bees.
You must have smaller beespace between frames, too. ( 32-33mm)
My large cell co- workers will use natural comb or 5.1 foundation, because our bees will draw smaller then and afterwards they will use 4.9 foundation or natural comb still.

Your losses are not very high, so fingers crossed this will go on.
Good luck!
Sibylle

...you may have identified an issue I am having. I use small cell and the comb sometimes gets wavy and cross combed. Do you think this might be caused by to large of a bee space?

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SiWolKe
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Re: RE: Re: From Large to small cel

Postby SiWolKe » Fri Feb 10, 2017 6:42 pm

hivefivebees wrote:...you may have identified an issue I am having. I use small cell and the comb sometimes gets wavy and cross combed. Do you think this might be caused by to large of a bee space?
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Could be.
And:
When I fix the foundations to the frames I am careful only to fix it at the top and leave some space (1-2cm) around.
The bees will fix the foundations to the frames in their own style and the comb is able to work with heat and cold.
When I fix the foundations it´s very warm in my workshop. It´s very warm in a beehive too and this starting makes the wax relax more.

The comb is a living thing. It´s the liver of the beehive. It´s important. That´s why I want to change to small cell natural comb.

Here you can see how the combs look:
http://www.vivabiene.de/g20-Arbeitsweise-SiWolKe.html
Civility is strength. http://www.VivaBiene.de

hivefivebees
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Re: From Large to small cel

Postby hivefivebees » Sat Feb 11, 2017 12:18 am

SiWolKi,
Thanks for the link! You have a very fine apiary. Are you making your own foundation with a press.

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SiWolKe
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Re: From Large to small cel

Postby SiWolKe » Sat Feb 11, 2017 7:12 am

Thanks.

Yes I have a 4.9 press.
I´m doing foundations for others too who want to be tf.
Just send me wax and I send back the foundations.
I think it very important to use only the wax of your own location.
So far I had to use foreign wax foundations mostly because of starting without my own wax.
But now this changes.

Call me Sibylle! :)
Last edited by SiWolKe on Sat Feb 11, 2017 2:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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hivefivebees
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Re: From Large to small cel

Postby hivefivebees » Sat Feb 11, 2017 12:58 pm

Sibylle,
I have never seen a foundation press before, only a roller, that is nice! Unfortunately I think you're a continent and an ocean away, so you can't make foundation for us. Could you tell us a bit more about your press?

Call me Jeff
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ohiohiker
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Re: From Large to small cel

Postby ohiohiker » Sat Feb 11, 2017 1:24 pm

Jeff,

Don the Fat Bee Man has a video on making foundation.

https://youtu.be/5lU3C4f2Xfc

If you have a large operation it may be worth it but the presses aren't cheap.
Chris Blank

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SiWolKe
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Re: From Large to small cel

Postby SiWolKe » Sat Feb 11, 2017 2:20 pm

hivefivebees wrote:Sibylle,
I have never seen a foundation press before, only a roller, that is nice! Unfortunately I think you're a continent and an ocean away, so you can't make foundation for us. Could you tell us a bit more about your press?

Call me Jeff
Hivefivebees.com


Sorry I mistaked you for Marcel from the Netherlands.
:shock:

The press was build by a friend of mine and supplied with the matrize I got from Stephan Braun:
http://www.resistantbees.com
Maybe Michael Bush can put in a link if he knows about a supplier.
Civility is strength. http://www.VivaBiene.de

moebees
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Re: From Large to small cel

Postby moebees » Sat Feb 11, 2017 7:08 pm

Don the Fat Bee Man has a video on making foundation.


The problem with wax foundation is that they can remodel it so you may not end up with small cell.
Sam Droege, a biologist for the U.S. Geological Survey—“bees are not optional."

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SiWolKe
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Re: From Large to small cel

Postby SiWolKe » Sat Feb 11, 2017 7:15 pm

A remodeled comb is a natural comb.
Just look at the worker brood area if it´s around 5.0mm and shift the bad comb to be honey comb.
The bees know best and a slightly remodel comb is the least problem they have.
Civility is strength. http://www.VivaBiene.de

moebees
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Re: From Large to small cel

Postby moebees » Sat Feb 11, 2017 9:57 pm

The question Jeff asked was not how to get natural comb. The question was how to go from large cell to small cell.
Sam Droege, a biologist for the U.S. Geological Survey—“bees are not optional."

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SiWolKe
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Re: From Large to small cel

Postby SiWolKe » Sun Feb 12, 2017 5:32 am

Oranjedal wrote:Hello,

How do I go from large celsize to small?

In my first year as a beekeeper I got bees from a local breeder with Large cell. I have made some nuc's the last two years with older combs with Large cell and put in new frames with small strips of foundation. This year I would like to continue this proces of putting small strips in. Am I going the right way towards small cell, or do I have to alter my course?

Marcel Bergmeester
The Netherlands


Marcel, as you already use natural cell in your nucs, please measure the cell size in the worker brood area in spring. If the bees build 5.0-5.1mm already in broodnest area and you want to regress to 4.9mm go on with the foundations I will make for you.
If they build big cell size they will not make good 4.9 comb. Better stay with natural comb then for some time until the cells are smaller.

If you want to change to foundations put in one foundation 4.9mm at a time to see how they do, or checkerboard with small cell natural comb they already build. The best drawn comb small cell I got when putting one foundation in the middle or side of the broodnest end of may when it is warm and a good flow comes. Sometimes they build a number in one week.
This you can do with an empty frame too, but only put in one at a time because otherwise you will have burr comb.
End of may or in june they will not build too much drone cells on this combs or if they do put in an empty frame at the sides for them to build drone cells into.
I cut out 10% of foundation to have space on every comb for drone brood. That´s how Dee Lusby does it.

The first winter one of my colonies died and this year untill now I have lost 3 out of 10 colonies. I haven't treated against Varroa.
In our region there is almost no support for beekeepers that don't treat. So I will ask my questions here for a bit of confidence.


I´m in the same situation and now I realize that small cells, which my bees use for 5 years, are no guaranty for them to survive.
It´s a learning process for us because every location has it´s own problems. I´m orienting my self now on Tom Seeley, and a strategy using pest control managements, this without chemical and organic treatments.
Sibylle
Civility is strength. http://www.VivaBiene.de

Oranjedal
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Re: From Large to small cel

Postby Oranjedal » Mon Feb 13, 2017 9:01 am

Hello,

Glad to see I am not the only one, who has issues with cellsize. :D

I would like to thank you all for your ideas and answers. I think I have an idea now how I am going to continue.
Special thanks to Sibylle for the opportunity!

Marcel

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Michael Bush
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Re: From Large to small cel

Postby Michael Bush » Mon Feb 13, 2017 3:32 pm

The cheapest, easiest and fastest way to regress is PF120s or PF100s from Mann Lake. Other options are wax dipped PermaComb, Honey Super Cell or foundationless spaced at 32mm (1 1/4").
"Everything works if you let it"--James "Big Boy" Medlin
http://www.bushfarms.com/bees.htm

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GregV
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Re: From Large to small cel

Postby GregV » Mon Feb 13, 2017 5:18 pm

SiWolKe wrote:I´m in the same situation and now I realize that small cells, which my bees use for 5 years, are no guaranty for them to survive.
It´s a learning process for us because every location has it´s own problems. I´m orienting my self now on Tom Seeley, and a strategy using pest control managements, this without chemical and organic treatments.
Sibylle


Maybe this is just me but I think any standardized artificial foundation amounts to a "special treatment" also (let us call it mechanical treatment).
SC is a treatment, a "pill", a "quick fix" that is claimed to help against mites.

Well, it maybe a lucky mix of bee features that produce a mite-resistant hybrid is really the key (not the SC).

A frame is a treatment too, but in my locality a movable frame is required by law and so this makes it for an easy decision - must have the frames.
But foundation is not required by law in my place and so I decided I will avoid foundation altogether (regardless of the size, this is just an attempt to standardize bee sizing - UP or DOWN).

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SiWolKe
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Re: From Large to small cel

Postby SiWolKe » Mon Feb 13, 2017 5:35 pm

GregV wrote:Well, it maybe a lucky mix of bee features that produce a mite-resistant hybrid is really the key (not the SC).


Yes, that´s right.
But don´t get me wrong: I still believe in small cell, natural or foundation, and narrow frames. Narrow frame spacings in brood area are even more important to me than small cells.
Civility is strength. http://www.VivaBiene.de

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GregV
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Re: From Large to small cel

Postby GregV » Mon Feb 13, 2017 6:07 pm

SiWolKe wrote:
GregV wrote:Well, it maybe a lucky mix of bee features that produce a mite-resistant hybrid is really the key (not the SC).


Yes, that´s right.
But don´t get me wrong: I still believe in small cell, natural or foundation, and narrow frames. Narrow frame spacings in brood area are even more important to me than small cells.


Based on my limited observations (a couple of feral bee cut-outs), I tend to believe that narrow frame spacing is, in fact, more natural; this seems to be what bees "want". I was surprised to observe how tight and narrow the combs and the spaces were arranged in the particular nests that I removed. The origin of those feral hybrids was, naturally, unknown.
But I reused the combs and need to measure them retroactively (did not think to measure at the time but still can do it now for the record, fortunately).

So the next batch of frames I will build will be 1.25 inch (again, this is a standard width as I do not know the optimal frame width that should server best the every bee hive I have; but at least I will let them build the combs naturally and will not suggest anything by some foundation).

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Dustymunky
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Re: From Large to small cel

Postby Dustymunky » Fri Feb 24, 2017 7:22 am

Small cell foundation is not a treatment or quick fix. It is a tool to aid in regressing bees to their natural size. I plan on going to foundationless once the bees are regressed, then they can build whatever size combs they desire.

The "economics" of smaller cell bees are some of the biggest reasons I think it is beneficial. Faster brood capping times, earlier emergence of bees, and longer lived bees are huge advantages.

On a different note....Greg, you have made the statement multiple times "uneducated Americans" in your rants. I don't appreciate this and frankly it is an ignorant statement. This forum is for supporting each other's treatment free efforts, not criticizing others to boost our own egos.

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GregV
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Re: From Large to small cel

Postby GregV » Fri Feb 24, 2017 3:15 pm

Dustymunky wrote:On a different note....Greg, you have made the statement multiple times "uneducated Americans" in your rants. I don't appreciate this and frankly it is an ignorant statement. This forum is for supporting each other's treatment free efforts, not criticizing others to boost our own egos.

If I sounded so - I apologize.
If I made some false statements somewhere, call them out.
This is cool with me and I will learn from it.
Otherwise, why not learn from the others indeed?

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Dustymunky
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Re: From Large to small cel

Postby Dustymunky » Fri Feb 24, 2017 4:45 pm

Thanks Greg. Glad to clear the air :)


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