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Worker size

 
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Cosmicwillow
Guard Bee


Joined: 07 Oct 2015
Posts: 82
Location: U.K. Notts/Lincs/Yorks border

PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2016 11:58 am    Post subject: Worker size Reply with quote

In has taken a few weeks from colony swarming ( 3 times in space of couple of weeks ) to actually seeing new brood, which I must admit I thought was not going to happen. The bees continued to be very active, pollen and water collecting even though it appeared there was no queen activity, following advice on this forum I've waited and things are now proceeding normally, I think. The question is, the foraging bees appear to me to be slightly smaller, Could this be the case or is my short term memory on the blink?
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1582
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2016 1:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi

Pleased to hear your hive did end up queenright.

Bees vary in size throughout the season in my experience. The bees that are being produced now for winter will probably be bigger as they have less flying to do but need the larger body mass to survive the cold, so in a months time you may notice that they appear bigger again. Size will also vary according to breeding too, so it may be that your new queen has mated with drones that are smaller and the new offspring are exhibiting that characteristic.

Regards

Barbara
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AndyC
Scout Bee


Joined: 04 Jul 2014
Posts: 304
Location: Uk/Horsham/RH13

PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2016 1:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There does seem to be a lot of variation in worker size.

One of my colonies are tiny compared to its neighbor but it doesn't seem to affect their efficiency.
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Cosmicwillow
Guard Bee


Joined: 07 Oct 2015
Posts: 82
Location: U.K. Notts/Lincs/Yorks border

PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2016 3:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for that, thought my memory was going. In passing, if there are varying sizes of workers does it follow that the cells they emerge from are of minute variation. I know there is a difference between drone/worker cell size. If it is the case then preformed 'man made' combs can't be good, just a thought.
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AndyC
Scout Bee


Joined: 04 Jul 2014
Posts: 304
Location: Uk/Horsham/RH13

PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2016 4:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I guess they build what they need.

There has been some research on varying foundation size and I believe there are suppliers who stock the smaller sizes.

I havent got into that depth as yet so can't comment from experience.
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Cosmicwillow
Guard Bee


Joined: 07 Oct 2015
Posts: 82
Location: U.K. Notts/Lincs/Yorks border

PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2016 6:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

With thoughts about foundation size and varying sizes available is something we don't need to think about as from the offset we opted for TBhives wanting to just keep bees for bees sake, so much to find out, so much to marvel at and a little too much to sometime worry about, but in the end the bees will do what they do. Lots of help and information on here, thankfully.
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AndyC
Scout Bee


Joined: 04 Jul 2014
Posts: 304
Location: Uk/Horsham/RH13

PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2016 7:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My comment about foundation was to highlight that various sizes can be sourced but I have no idea if the bees actually follow the sizing of the foundation when they build their cells or do they do their own thing anyway?
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JGW07
Scout Bee


Joined: 06 Apr 2010
Posts: 270
Location: USA, GA, Hephzibah

PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2016 6:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think it has to do with the prominence of the cell imprint. I've read about bees going off the pattern when the imprint was negligible. That would be a good thing in a top bar hive since we want the bees to do things their way (although I don't know anyone with a hTBH using foundation except as starter strips/guides). I still see the idea floated that small cell is better for varroa control than large cell despite the research disproving it, so that's not something we have to concern ourselves with any more. The bees know best and shape the cells according to their needs.
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Beeblebrox
Guard Bee


Joined: 25 Sep 2010
Posts: 64
Location: UK - north Oxfordshire

PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2016 2:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Foundation irrelevant. CosmicWillow's profile / messages show they use TBH's so thus using natural comb.

Natural comb cell size is arguably smaller than most foundation's so, yes, the bees don't grow as big before they emerge. Which can be a good thing - a day less to grow means one less varroa mite breeding cycle.

Bottom line: don't worry about the bee size. They vary from various factors - cell size, race (genetics), maybe other things. Smaller isn't necessarily worse anyway. The original British Black Bee is on the small side, I think, but perfectly adapted to our climate unlike the Zeppelin-sized Italian bee.
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