Presentation on theme: "Small Cell Hive Management for Disease and Pest Control Copyright 2007 by Michael Bush."— Presentation transcript:
Small Cell Hive Management for Disease and Pest Control Copyright 2007 by Michael Bush
Presentations online Before you take copious notes, all these presentations are online here:
For info about Natural Cell Size groups.yahoo.com/group/Organicbeekeepers
Synopsis of reasons for small cell beekeeping Standard foundation is 5.4 mm cell size. Turn of the Century foundation was 5.08 mm Small Cell foundation is 4.9 mm cell size. In my experience natural cell size for worker brood is between 4.4 mm and 5.1 mm
Current cell sizes Cell sizes of natural comb and common foundation Natural worker comb 4.4 mm to 5.1mm Lusby 4.8 to 4.9 mm average 4.83 mm Dadant 4.9mm Small Cell 4.9 mm Honey Super Cell 4.9 mm Wax dipped PermaComb 4.95 mm Mann Lake PF100 & PF mm 19th century foundation 5.0 to 5.08 mm Dadant 5.1mm Small Cell 5.1 mm PermaComb 5.1 mm Pierco foundation 5.2 mm Pierco deep frames 5.25 mm Pierco medium frames 5.35 mm RiteCell 5.4 mm Standard worker foundation 5.4 to 5.5mm 7/ mm HSC Medium Frames 6.0 mm Drone 6.4 to 6.6 mm
Pre and post capping times Hubers observations on capping and emergence on Natural Comb. Keep in mind that on the 1st day no time has elapsed and on the 20th 19 days have elapsed. If you have doubts about this add up the elapsed time he refers to. It adds up to 18 ½ days. "The worm of workers passes three days in the egg, five in the vermicular state, and then the bees close up its cell with a wax covering. The worm now begins spinning its cocoon, in which operation thirty-six hours are consumed. In three days, it changes to a nymph, and passes six days in this form. It is only on the twentieth day of its existence, counting from the moment the egg is laid, that it attains the fly state." François Huber 4 September 1791.
Pre and post capping times My observations on Carniolan and Italian bees on 4.95 mm cell size in the observation hive: Capped 8 days after layed Emerged 19 days after layed
Pre and Post capping times and Varroa 8 hours shorter capping time halves the number of Varroa infesting a brood cell. 8 hours shorter post capping time halves the number of offspring of a Varroa in the brood cell.
How to get small cells Use 4.9 mm foundation Use 4.9 mm starter strips Use Mann Lake PF100 or PF120 frames Use Honey Super Cell fully drawn 4.9mm comb Use PermaComb and wax dip it Use foundationless frames Use narrow frames (32mm)
Things that Affect Cell Size Worker intention for the comb at the time it was drawn: Drone brood Worker brood Honey storage The size of the bees drawing the comb The spacing of the top bars
Comb spacing 30-34mm
Baudoux on Comb thickness Cell Size Comb width mm mm mm mm mm mm mm mm mm mm mm mm mm mm ABC XYZ of Bee Culture 1945 edition Pg 126
Huber on Comb spacing "The leaf or book hive consists of twelve vertical frames… and their breadth fifteen lines (one line= 1/12 of an inch. 15 lines = 1 ¼ = 32mm). It is necessary that this last measure should be accurate." François Huber 1806
Hubers Leaf Hive
Regression Large bees, from large cells, sometimes cannot build natural sized cells. They build something in between. Most will build 5.1 mm worker brood cells. The next brood cycle will build cells in the 4.9mm range. The only complication with converting back to Natural or Small cell is this need for regression.
Instant Regression Either wax dipped PermaComb or the Honey Super Cell will provide small cell comb and the need to regress is eliminated. The bees will use the smaller comb, even though they wouldnt have drawn it that small in the first generation, and the generation that emerges from that comb will draw small cell comb.
Quick Regression Im having very good luck getting commercial large cell packages to draw the PF120s from Mann Lake out to 4.95mm cells on the first try.
Other ways to get quicker regression Some people do shakedowns. That means shaking all the bees off of all the combs and essentially making them into a package of bees. This is then installed on 4.9mm foundation. Sometimes they abscond, so its common to put an excluder on the bottom board so the queen cant leave.
Gradual Regression If you simply feed 4.9mm foundation into the hive and remove the large cell combs every chance you get youll eventually get regressed. If you have some program of comb rotation simply rotate the small cell in and the old combs out. Every time you find a large cell comb empty, remove it. Every time you find one full of stores and the colony can spare it, harvest it. Move capped large cell brood above an excluder to let the brood emerge without the queen laying in it again.
How do swap out combs Whatever you are swapping (4.9mm, foundationless, etc.) you are trying to swap out either comb that is empty or not being used for brood at a time when they are drawing comb. In other words, early in the spring when a lot of combs are already empty, or a little later when there is a good enough flow that losing a comb of honey or pollen wouldn't be a setback. If you have several boxes all the same sized comb brood can also be moved above an excluder until it emerges and then swapped for 4.9, foundationless etc.
What combs to remove? You're trying to replace larger cells (5.2mm or so) with the chance for them to get smaller combs. So measure the core of the combs and keep trying to leave the smaller (4.9mm or smaller) and remove the largest ones
How small? You may find in your geographical location with your genetic stock that 5.0mm is about as small as they will go. I think 4.9mm is a good goal, but in the end what they are willing to build should be sufficient. The size at the core of the brood nest is what I would be concerned about. In my experience, not every cell in the hive has to be 4.9mm or below to handle mites.
What to do while regressing Monitor mite levels Sugar shake Natural mite drop Uncap some drone brood
What if my mite levels are up? Ways to control mites while regressing without contaminating the combs Drone removal Sugar shake Oxalic acid
When the mites stabilize Once the core of the brood nest is 4.9mm or below, the mite levels have always stabilized for me. If yours do, you can now focus on beekeeping instead of mites.
Other Issues Genetics Survivor stock
Other Issues Feed Sugar is a different pH from honey and missing many micronutrients as well Pollen substitute is inferior to real pollen Nutrition severely impacts the colonys ability to cope with any stressors including mites and diseases
Unbiased assessment of my hives State Health Certificates From 2004 to 2007
2008 Health Certificate
2009 Health Certificate
2010 Health Certificate
2011 Health Certificate
2012 Health Certificate
More information concerning natural cell size and Varroa, observation hives, top entrances, lighter equipment, horizontal hives, queen rearing, general beekeeping, and many other topics. Information on on natural cell size is in the Pests category under the item Natural Cell Size. Many classic queen rearing books. Hubers New Observations on the Natural History of Bees