I've been looking into a point made in one of Paul's podcasts about how bees grown in smaller cells breaks the varroa mite life cycle, and others' claims that small cell bees are more efficient - meanwhile others say that small cell doctrine in a myth, and standard size cells are the way to go. So, what's the truth?
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John Polk wrote:IMHO, each hive will regulate its size IF we leave it alone.
We need to quit messing with the bees, AND their environment.
Nature pretty well had it under control before we tipped the scales.
I'm with John. in feral hives and beekeepers' hives without foundation, bees build cells in a variety of sizes to suit different uses (drone, worker, honey, pollen, bridge, ...), different architectural purposes, and different shapes of cavity.
the scholarship on whether small cell foundation makes a difference or not is almost exactly evenly split. could depend on the methodology of each study, I suppose. point is, there isn't anything close to consensus on the issue.
fortunately, just about any hive can be managed without foundation, and the bees will build whatever size(s) of cell suits them.
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
Lately, you have posted in various "Bee" threads. I gather that you are interested in starting a (some) hive(s) by the questions you are asking. Here are some links to some good downloadable (free) info.
These first 2 are from CNG (Certified Naturally Grown). They are a grass roots, 'poor man's' Certified Organic organization. The first link is an explanation of their standards, which make sense for organic/sustainable bee keeping. The next is a newly published "Guide". The 3rd link is to a guide from Penn St (which I have not yet read, and wonder about since they are partially funded by BayerAg, who manufactures a prime suspect [Gaucho] in the CCD syndrome).
We are newbie beekeepers, and I have found loads of helpful info by joining this group on Yahoo! http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/Organicbeekeepers/?yguid=370403239 It is moderated by Dee Lusby who is just an incredible force behind natural beekeeping. Michael Bush is also a great resource: http://www.bushfarms.com/bees.htm Just last week we added a box to our hive, and added in frames without foundation, to allow the bees to form and build their own foundation naturally. I am very interested to see how they do with this. HTH
"Creating the world we want is a much more subtle but more powerful mode of operation than destroying the one we don't." ~ Marianne Williamson