foundation wax and cell size

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hedgerow pete 

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I used to run 25 hives up untill 3 years ago, I had a slight family issue and had to clear the lot. I learnt my bee keeping basics at school, when i was there late 70s onwards we used to be taught farming, I used to live in south warwickshire, country side lovely!!!! I am running two hives this winter which i will split late in the year to make four and i have two nucs on order as well . but to me its a hobby not a thing to throw money away i have evan made my own bee jacket and veil, so far my only costs are 20 extra deep broad frames and foundation sheets and 60 super frames and sheets, but this year i will need to produce four sets of supers and frames and the wife has seen how easy it is to make wax sheet candles rather than pouring so the order just got bigger, plus where i keep my bee's there are two other people who want bee hives ( me to supply) and there are over thirty allotment plots in a 7 mile radius of me all are capilble of running ten hives, I am not in the country side so i can concenrate the numbers we have loads of flowers in gardens ans as for the trees ,well if i wanted to i can collet 3 supers of lime in just one street let alone else where. all you lot out in the country side , been there done that no thanks i am a country boy at heart but all of my bee's are townies
 

hedgerow pete 

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I would suggest to everyone that they try spending the day evan if it is just watching a proffessional bee keeper it is one massive differance compared to what we do, I used to live in wales and free of charge used to work for a proffessional just for the love of it. He used to have 100 trailers made from caravan trailers each one would hold 30 hives and he used to tow them to where ever he wanted them depending what was in flower. rape , tree, heather,orchards ect. we used to strip on a good day all the supers and replace the lot with new supers thats over 120 supers at a time loaded in to his van and then back to the yard to extrac them he used to made all his own frames and boxs and was the only bloke i have ever meet who built his own wax prosesssing plant , we used to go from used frame wax to a finished framebut it does your head in when you are looking at a mountain of frames to deal with
 

Hivemaker. 

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Sounds really interesting,100 trailers,did he keep the hives on them all the time,and just tow them to the crops.So what did he run,about 3000 hives.
 
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hedgerow pete 

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he used to have each trailer kitted out so the hives were screwed to the frame and the only the supers would shift, that was the idea that rather than picking up 100 hives and putting them down again you just drove up and parked upcut down his set up time to about 10 mins not ten days, the other thing is it cuts down the labour required all he used to do was go to each trailer in turn strip the full supers and a quick chech of the brood box, easy to do thirty in a day, and all on a ten day cycle or if there was several together we could do two or three in a day, his poor wife would be spinning frames for months at a time from summer onwards.
 

Hivemaker. 

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Think i would keep those caravan chassis as caravans,and keep the bee's in them,and a spare bed for me.mobile bee houses.like on the continent.
 
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tony350i 

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Hi,

Firstly I think cell size does have an affect on varroa numbers and once I have a couple more years under my belt I will willingly argue that point until the cows come home.

As for trying to very the cell size when making wax sheets, I think this has been tried before with out a lot of success.
The way I have gone about getting back to a more but not totally natural brood nest is regress the bees so they draw 4.9mm to a good standard and let them have a good two or three brood turn over with these smaller cell frames,
You can see the difference in the size off the older bees as new smaller bees take over the hive.
I?ve kept five to six 4.9mm frames in the centre of the brood box and let the bees build
Natural cell, drone cell and storage cell in the empty frames with starter strips. I then tend to work these frames to the outer edge of the brood box.

If you are going to make two types of wax sheets one embossed and a blank wax sheet I think the embossed sheet will out perform the blank and the frame with a starter strip will out perform both.
If you are going to make wax sheets to sell then I think embossed would be the way to go.

As all ready said you can read a lot of info on the net and it can seem a bit mind boggling but I think one should have a go before they dismiss it and try to keep it simple as they can.

TC
 

hedgerow pete 

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thank you tony , but may i ask several more questions of you, what is the thinking behind a starter strip out performing an embossed sheet, you would think that having the whole base of the cell structure ready they would be happier, the other point is the idea behind a plain rolled sheet is the bees would be able to size the cells to what ever type or size they wanted. This is where i realy struggle with bee's they dont do what is blindingly obious to the bee keeper but do the complete opposite
 

tony350i 

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This is where i really struggle with bee's they don't do what is blindingly obvious to the bee keeper but do the complete opposite
---------------------
i know what you are saying they are little buggers,

you all ways get better results when bee hives are strong and on some kind of flow, as for embossed over starter strip, do i little test with two strong hives and put a frame with embossed in one and a starter in the other and do it between two fully drawn frames with brood in them. i think the bees work the starter strip frame sooner coz they can hang from the top bar in a ball and stay in contact better, as for a sheet of wax they have to work from both sides.

another advantage starter strips has is the bees put cell sizes where they want them not where we think they should be,plan wax sheet would get drawn but again you get better results with embossed and starter strips over the plain wax. have you noticed that with wax sheets the bees seem to all ways chew the wax away from the bottom and the frame sides although there is still a bee space between the frame and side wall of the brood box.

in my opinion the best and cleanest and cheapest wax frames are the ones the bees draw from starter strips. i am a little suspicious of the 4.9mm wax sheets that i use but i can only get them from one place.

TC
 

tony350i 

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>the only place i have heard that i can get 4.9mm cell from is thornes

yes it's the only one i know of,

>which leaves the quest what have i been using for all these years

i think the standard cell size that most beekeepers are using is 5.4mm in the brood box, i haven't got any to check, maybe some one could run a tape over some to see if it has change or very much.


TC
 

blackbrood 

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a very old thread I know but I am just wondering, I know Pete is still active, I dont know about tony350i.

1/ Pete how did you go with the home made frames?
2/ tony350i, did going small cell size have any impact on varroa levels?

Thanks BB
 

Onge 

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From what i've heard you have to regress bees via 5.1 then to 4.9 it takes a few years and you get losses.(or something like that)

I'm going to try foundation less and let them regress at there own pace to what they want to draw.

Never heard of using a flat sheet of foundation.

Im sure you will keep us posted. :)
 

blackbrood 

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I was just looking for some feedback on small cell use from a couple of forum users that tried it. just curious
 

Mike a 

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Nature versus Nurture ?

I've always been a bit sceptical about some of the claims made about the benefits of small cell bees, part of this due to the fact that not many beeks are prepared to put in the time and effort to allow their colonies to "naturally regress" and partly the cynic in me thinks some of the claims made are just a laughable marketing gimmick to sell their colonies to the gullible. In my mind if you take any animal, for instance a cat or dog who has a litter the smallest of the litter is a runt, in the wild it would not survive. As far as I understand this is caused by a lack of growth space in the womb and or a lack of nutrition or the mother rejects it.

I would be interested to learn more from those who have achieved small cell bees and have been able to compared them against other colonies and learn why they believe small cell bees are worth the effort required in the first place. I am a strong believer in working with the colonies I have unless they become to aggressive or are diseased but after reading some of the claims made on the net over the years I don't see any benefits of why smaller bees are a way forward other than perhaps a means to try and combat varroa in the short term. Varroa haven't needed to adapt to cause the problems they have in Apis mellifica so trying to achieve small cell bees seems to me a step in the wrong direction as is the need to use ever stronger forms of chemical control.

Perhaps someone would be good enough to enlighten me please?
:confused:
 

blackbrood 

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read that

more about cell size and regression on dave cushman site:

http://website.lineone.net/~dave.cushman/cellsize.html
not read that (will do now)

http://www.ent.uga.edu/bees/documents/m08138.pdf

The research which seems to say no it is no use.

PH
thats only one research paper (worth reading dont get me wrong), now several research papers claiming the same thing might convince me.

I was looking for opinions from people who have used it and their thoughts on the success/failure, specifically from people who post here. articles are interesting (and research papers) but I am looking for some one with hands on experiences who can remark, some one who stopped talking and started doing.
 

Poly Hive 

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Possibly the names don't mean anything to you Blackbrood but one of the researchers on that paper is one of the most respected in the USA.

Memory says Cornell Uni but I may be mistaken on that.

PH
 

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