It is absolutely necessary that the bees know how to build the small cells well.
The most difficult part of the work to gain a bee, which defends herself by herself against the Varroa mite and other diseases is that the bee can build the small cells well.
If a hive can build the small cells, it is very likely that he can defend itself, without the use of chemicals.
It seems that the level of 4.9 mm represents a limit below which the bees can defend themselves against the diseases.
A bee that is born in a 4.9 mm cell, can build very likely again this measure.
This we can achieve very quickly through the use of fully drawn plastic combs.
But in practice several hives will have problems to build this size good.
The problems encountered in building the small cells occur mainly at times of strong nectar flow. We must always consider and prepare our management that the bees may not need to build many combs if there is a strong nectar flow. Here our biggest problem was during the almond bloom. It seemed that the bees had suddenly forgotten everything they had learned, but once this bloom was over, everything normalized immediately.
We must also reckon with, that small cells can be built best IN the brood nest. So have to add new foundation frames alwayss right next to a broodcomb, or if the hive is very strong, we can also give them right into the brood nest.
There are various degrees of defects in the development of small cells.
|This is a comb that shows light defects in the upper part . The center is well built and we can use this comb.|
|this comb also has light defects and can be used.|
|this comb has different faults in several places
These badly drawn cells are much bigger than 4,9mm and the problem will be that the Varroa mites will settle there because they think that these are drone cells, instead of settling only in the drone brood, where they do no harm to the bee brood.It is advisable to take these combs out and change them for new foundations in order to see if they are drwan better then.
|here we can see something similar to the last photo|
|here we can see a very badly drawn comb. The only small cells that are somehow drawn well are marked green In this comb there will settle a lot of Varroa mites and will multiply a lotWe have to cull this comb and change it with a well drawn small cell comb from another hive. Probably we also have to change the queen.|
|On this comb we can see different kinds of errors. Though the cells are drawn pretty well, however do show some mistakes (marked red) we have to much drone brood on this frame.Here you can read about this problem Very important: You have to get used to cull in every inspection all the frames that show more than 10% of drone cells and put them to the sides und when filled with honey, take them out.
|Here you see a perfect drawn 4,9mm comb|