The often-heard question is: What should I do if I find no place where there are no large cell hives near? Does it make sense then to switch to the small cells?
The experience and also a scientific study from Austria show, that a massive Varroa entry of foreign, large cell collapsing hives can take place.
Fortunatelly we were able now to establish a new concept, through the help of experienced small cell beekeepers, how you can start sucessfully with small cell hives where other hives are nearby. The problem radicates in migration and reinfection by Varroa mites.
It is quite clear on the one hand that it is much easier when you’re far away from other beekeepers.
But on the other hand, there is no reason, I think, to continue the over-sized cells. This gives even more problems, as can be seen at the present disastrous situation of the bees.
If you do the possible changes in the hives (small cells, comb arrangement, 10% drones etc etc) you will bring the bees in a decidedly better health condition.
You will see that they will defend themselves against the Varroa mite by VSH and that is something that very few have achieved so far. But if reinvasion comes, you can cope with powdered sugar and help your bees. If you use once per month 200g per box of bees, you can always see on the ground floor board what is going on there. To have a complete success, you will need to have many hives and the others remain simply overwhelmed
There are experiments with a mixture of small cell and large cell hives at a stand – just tests
it is definitely not advisable in practice to mix small cell and large cell hives at one beeyard.
They put eight small cell to two large cell hives – all survived. Why? The bees interchange between the hives in a bee yard and therefore also the mites. Thus the small cell hives cleared of the varroa mites that came from the large cells. Then 8 large cell were put tgether with 2 small cell hives and all of collapsed. The two small cell hives had to clear too much.
But as I said, you just have to help your bees. So it works.
But one big problem I see is, that the beekeeper must first be incorporated in the new situation. The system by Dee Lusby of handling the bees no longer has much in common with today’s conventional beekeeping.
Our first principle is that we DO NOT treat.
The beekeeper must learn above all to recognize signs of crisis in the very first stage in the hive and must also learn to respond to it properly.
This is purely a matter of experience and can be learned within a few years.
The advantage is, that by Dee Lusby and other beekeepers, who have been working with small cells, very much pioneering work was done so far and we can base our work on it.