And it’s implications to beekeeping and Varroa mites Natural Cell Size
Presentations online • Before you take copious notes, all these presentations are online here: http://www.bushfarms.com/beespresentations.htm
Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick “Everything works if you let it”
Small cell has been purported to help control Varroa mites. Small Cell is 4.9mm cell size. Standard foundation is 5.4mm cell size. What is natural cell size? Small Cell = Natural Cell?
Made bees larger by using larger cells. Pinchot, Gontarski and others got the size up as large as 5.74mm. But AI Root’s first foundation was 5 cells to an inch which is 5.08mm. Later he started making it 4.83 cells per inch. This is equivalent to 5.26mm. (ABC XYZ of beekeeping 1945 edition page 125-126.) Baudoux 1893
“The leading cause of problems is solutions.” Severide’s Law
What I’ve done to get natural comb • Top Bar Hives
What I’ve done to get natural comb • Top Bar Hives • Foundationless Frames
What I’ve done to get natural comb • Top Bar Hives • Foundationless Frames • Blank Starter Strips
What I’ve done to get natural comb • Top Bar Hives • Foundationless Frames • Blank Starter Strips • Free Form Comb
What I’ve done to get natural comb • Top Bar Hives • Foundationless Frames • Blank Starter Strips • Free Form Comb • Empty Frame Between Drawn Combs
When you figure this in one dimension, diameter, it doesn’t sound like much. But how much is it in 3 dimensions? Standard 5.43 = 157.464 Small cell 4.93 = 117.649 Natural 4.63 = 97.336 How much difference between natural and “normal”?
Cell Width Cell Volume 5.555 mm 301 mm3 5.375 277 5.210 256 5.060 237 4.925 222 4.805 206 4.700 192 From ABC XYZ of Bee Culture 1945 edition pg 126 Dimensions of cellsAccording to Baudoux
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
What is Regression? • Large bees, from large cells, cannot build natural sized cells. They build something in between. Most will build 5.1mm 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.
Regressing • To regress, cull out empty brood combs and let bees build what they want (or give them 4.9mm foundation) • After they have raised brood on that, repeat the process.
Observations on natural cell size • First there is no one size of cells nor one size of worker brood cells in a hive. Huber’s observations on bigger bees from bigger cells was directly because of this. The bees draw a variety of cell sizes which create a variety of bee sizes. Perhaps these different castes serve the purposes of the hive with more diversity of abilities.
Observations on cell size • The first “generation” of bees from a typical hive (artificially enlarged bees) usually builds about 5.1mm cells for worker brood. This varies a lot, but typically this is the center of the brood nest. Some bees will go smaller faster.
The next generation of bees will build worker brood comb in the range of 4.9mm to 5.1mm with some smaller and some larger. The spacing, if left to these “regressed” bees is typically 32mm or 1 ¼” in the center of the brood nest Observations on Cell Size
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”). It is necessary that this last measure should be accurate; François Huber 1806 1 ¼” spacing agrees with Huber’s Observations
Cell Size mm Comb width mm 5.555 22.60 5.375 22.20 5.210 21.80 5.060 21.40 4.925 21.00 4.805 20.60 4.700 20.20 ABC XYZ of Bee Culture 1945 edition Pg 126 Comb Width by Cell SizeAccording to Baudoux
Workers space comb based on their intended use. Workers perceive the intended use based on spacing. Worker brood area will be 1 ¼” (32mm) Worker mixed with drone to will be 1 3/8” (35mm) Honey storage 1 ½” (38mm) to 2” Comb spacing
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. Pre and Post capping times and Varroa
Capped 9 days after egg layed Emerges 21 days after egg layed Accepted days for capping and Post Capping(based on observing bees on 5.4mm comb)
Capped 8 days after egg layed Emerged 18.5 days after egg layed 3(egg)+5(vermicular)+1.5(capping)+3(capped larva)+6(nymph)=18.5 If the day the egg is layed is the first day then this would be half way through the twentieth day. Huber’s Observations on Natural Comb
“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.” FRANCIS HUBER 4 September 1791. Huber’s Observations on Natural Comb