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small cell

 
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pdb
New Bee


Joined: 27 Apr 2016
Posts: 7
Location: newport south wales uk

PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2016 5:34 pm    Post subject: small cell Reply with quote

hello every one i am building my own hives nucs etc in the rose hive way and want to know have any one used the small cell foundation what are the benitfits of it and do you use oils to treat your bees any recipes please thank you paul Smile
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Barbara
Site Admin


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

PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2016 7:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi and welcome to the forum

Personally I haven't tried small cell foundation but I believe Bernhard (Zaunreiter) tried small cell foundation and small cell drawn plastic comb a few years ago. From what I can remember he wasn't overly convinced by them.

From my experience with natural comb the bees build a variety of sized cells even amongst the worker brood and therefore limiting them to any single size in a given part of the hive just doesn't seem right to me.

I know there was a recipe for essential oil strings here on the forum although we lost quite a lot of old posts a few years ago, so not sure if it is still here....you could try a search. I think it was Gareth's recipe but he decided that the thymol in the thyme oil had a tendency to cause dysentery, so I think he stopped using it.

Good luck with your Rose hive.

Regards

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

PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2016 7:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For your information, quite a few of us on the forum are now treatment free and without forcing the bees to use small cells.... of course whether they are naturally getting smaller is another matter.... it's a while since I got a tape measure out!
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trekmate
Golden Bee


Joined: 30 Nov 2009
Posts: 1125
Location: UK, North Yorkshire, Bentham

PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2016 8:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Copy of Gareth's original post (I copied it at the time):
Quote:
I've put the recipe up before, but will happily repeat it here. The treatment is a combination of some info posted by Gary along with other gleanings from here and there, plus a bit of fiddling on my part. The current mix is:

10g of thymol crystals
10 drops of tea tree oil
Olive oil, say 25 ml
Sunflower oil, say 50 ml
One or two pieces of bees wax (walnut sized)
Two or three teaspoons of fine sugar (icing sugar)
Thirty 50mm (2 inch) lengths undyed garden string (eg. hemp)

The only things I measure accurately are the thymol and tea tree. The rest is a bit like my cooking; never comes out twice the same.

Gently warm the oil and beeswax until the beeswax dissolves and then add the thymol crystals. Stir to dissolve these. (They smell strongly, so do not touch them with your hands.) Cool and add the tea tree (it will evaporate if the mix is too hot). Then add the sugar and stir. The mix will turn lumpy and sticky at this stage. The consistency should be that of soft butter (the spreadable from the fridge sort). Place the pieces of string in the mix and coat them thoroughly. Use enough string to soak up all the mix.

This makes enough to treat 3 hives once each provided that they are not heavily 'mited'. I generally repeat after about 10 days and will do a third 10 days on again if the mite drop is still high. (The ten day timing is not crucial.) The treatment is most effective when the bees are active and the weather warm. The dosage rate is about 1/4 that of commercially available thymol treatments and much more effective in my experience.

To apply, move the top bars apart enough to push two pieces of string down between each. The string, being sticky, will catch on the face of the comb. That's fine. Do this for 5 or so bars in the centre of the brood nest (10 strings in total). If the mite load is very heavy, a double dose will still be less than that in commercial treatments.

Over time the bees will chew at the string and throw it out of the hive entrance or push little pieces (finely chewed) through the mesh floor (looks like brown candy floss).

In addition to the direct effect of the oils on the mites, I suspect that the bees also groom each other, as they don't like the smell of either tea tree oil or thymol. In this regard, I suspect that the olive oil and sunflower oil also play a role as they contain oleic and linoleic acids which in insect terms is the smell of death and is what triggers the undertaking response in bees. The sugar is there to give the gunk some substance that the bees can get their mandibles around - I've tried it without and it is much less effective.

Remember that the aim is not to knock out all the mites, but to keep the numbers from spiralling out of control. I would be cautious about using the mix if I was due to be harvesting honey. Although thymol is said to break down fairly quickly in wax, I'd want to be sure of avoiding contamination of the comb. (Thymol does not dissolve in water.)

Note added Aug 2011: Looking back through my notes for the last few years and talking to beekeepers who are totally treatment-free, I am beginning to wonder if OE's affect queen and/or drone fertility. For various reasons, 2011 has been a low varroa year for me and I have not treated any of my bees this season. I intend to continue the non-treatment regime in 2012, using shook swarms and nucs but nothing else and will report further on progress with regards to both varroa and bee fertility.
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Tavascarow
Silver Bee


Joined: 24 Jun 2008
Posts: 962
Location: UK Cornwall Snozzle

PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2016 8:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The science behind small cell is sound & makes sense to me, but like most here I use top bar hives or foundationless frames & let the bees determine their own cell sizes.
I'm not organised enough to study the cell size of my bees but from what I've read on this forum some claim the bees produce different size bees at different times of year.
Nature is complex & man tries to shoe horn it.
Often the shoe horn is good intentions.
Natural beekeeping has taught me it's the subtle & often unobserved differences that determine between success & failure.
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Barbara
Site Admin


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

PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2016 8:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very nicely put!
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AugustC
Silver Bee


Joined: 08 Jul 2013
Posts: 613
Location: Malton, North Yorkshire

PostPosted: Fri Apr 29, 2016 11:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't really see the benefits of small cell foundation over just allowing them to build natural comb.

As for oils, "natural" isn't natural. Oils in that concentration do not occur in nature and would not be found in a hive so this is still a chemical treatment.
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rays
House Bee


Joined: 09 Jul 2012
Posts: 24
Location: Vaud, Switzerland

PostPosted: Fri Apr 29, 2016 8:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tavascarow wrote:
The science behind small cell is sound ...


Not all would agree with that, by any means, but that's all part of the fun of debates in fora! [url=http://www.bee-api.net/#!cell-size/ccdd]View article[/url] or About cell size, Varroa control and a "fatal error" (American Bee Journal, 154 (10): 1049-1050.)

I work with top-bar hives so cell size is of the colony's own choosing. "Bees know best" approach, or just easier to let them decide for themselves what they need at any moment.

If I did ever move to frames, I would certainly wish to use Rose hives over any other because of the reduction in multiple frame size overload experienced with others. Very persuasive so I wish you well with yours.

Tim Rowe, in his book "The Rose Hive Method", advocates the gradual introduction of foundationless frames between existing foundation-built frames to act as guides. Quite sound advice from the designer. He doesn't advocate the use of small cell foundation, as I recall, although he probably didn't speak out against them either.[/url]
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ingo50
Scout Bee


Joined: 30 May 2014
Posts: 311
Location: Newport, Gwent, Wales, UK

PostPosted: Thu May 05, 2016 11:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dee Lusby and her late husband did most of the pioneering work on small cell after the tracheal mite infestation then followed by Varroa. Her thoughts over time an be found on Beesource.com, under the articles heading and subheading of Point of View. The other strong supporter of small cell with decades of experience in Michael Bush, his website is Bushfarms.com. All the info of his book the Practical Beekeeper is there for free to read. Both Michael and Dee are based in the USA. A lot of what they say makes sense, I am aware of studies for and against. I will be measuring my natural comb this year and keeping records as I go completely foundationless.
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