Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Cell Size and Hygenic Behavior submitted by beekeeper Jon

I just finished watching an interesting YouTube video about hygenic behavior in bees.  See link below.   It is rather long (1 hour) and is slightly dated (2013).    It expresses some controversial ideas about how foundation cell size may be a factor in triggering hygenic behavior naturally.  Hygenic behavior is where the workers bees remove brood from the comb that has been infected by varroa mites.   The video also indicates that raising bees on small cell foundation (4.9mm) shortens the maturation time of the brood by up to one day and thus shortens the time varroa can reproduce inside the capped cell.  This results in a lower total mite population.    The “standard “ cell size sold is typically 5.4mm.  4.9mm cell size is closer to “natural” cell size.   The smaller cell size results in more cells per hive frame. 

I also did a little internet searching on the topic and see several “experts” recommend going this route.

Do any club members utilize 4.9mm cell foundation?  Do you feel you losses are lower than other beekeeper’s losses?  Please send in your experiences.

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