Honeyflow.com | FAQ's | Community |

Bee real ... Does size matter? Small Bee, Medium Bee...or Large Bee's


As a NewBee is there a size that is easier to care for?


Are you referring to the bee or the hive? The size of the hive makes a difference especially if you are beekeeping on your own, have a bad back or are not very good at lifting heavy boxes.


Most bee races are about the same size with little variation. I have one hive where the Italian bees are slightly smaller than the hive of Italian bees next to them. I have found that when the population in a hive gets crowded the bees get cranky. That is a good time to split the hive into two and they turn gentle again.
If you were referring to the size of the hive hardware, for Langstroths you have a choice of 8 frame hives or 10 frame. I prefer the 8 frame, it is lighter to lift and the smaller size helps the center of gravity when moving the boxes. A 10 frame hive can weigh 10 to 15 pounds heavier and it is harder to balance the larger size. If I didn’t quite answer your question please let me know.


It is all helpful when you know nothing of the subject :smiley:
I was meaning body of the bees in size though.
I read something that small body bees don’t get those mites "voil??? Type mites??
So I was wondering what others thoughts were!
Thank you.


aaah, now I understand. Better than size look for hygienic bees which is a trait. The bees chew on the mites of hivemates and they search the drone brood for mites. If the drone brood has mites the bees haul the brood out and discard it. I have such hygienic bees that they clean the mark off my queen! There are many theories regarding the varroa mite. One is to keep your hives in the hot sun because the higher temperature in a hive seems to reduce the numbers of mites.


Varroa mites. No, that is not true, all bees can get Varroa regardless of size. Thankfully I have no experience of Varroa and I pray it will stay this way. Dread the day.

Small bee size is also a factor of the size of the foundation used in Langs. It’s said that larger cell sizes provide more space for Varroa mites and pests like Small Hive Beetles, in addition to the bee larvae.

I’m waiting to see what Flow provides. I’m pretty sure I will end up cutting out any provided foundation and only leaving a little strip for the bees to start on.


My bees are foundationless. They use their own wax to fill the frames with comb. When the hive is thinking of swarming they will make the larger cells for drones. All bees make 3 sizes of cells regardless of foundation: Smaller for workers, larger for drones(mites go for large drone cells), and the largest is the swarm or supersedure cell for queens. We might try to manipulate them but in the end the bees will do what they want in spite of our best efforts.


I have noticed a considerable size difference between the Italian and Caucasion bee varieties with the Italians being the smaller. They are both using the same size foundation in identical hives next to each other of the same age. I can only put it down to genetics. I haven’t noticed any change in the foraging habits but who knows?


The size of the bee depends a lot on the size of the cells in the comb. That is one argument for allowing them to build natural comb rather then use foundation with a set cell size. A natural sized bee is going to be the best in my opinion, and each variety will have it’s preferred size cell. Just let the bees do what they do best and go foundationless.


I don’t think size matters all that much. Whatever size comb the bees start off with, whether it be natural or foundation, the cell size will shrink over time anyway. One day I did a count of natural cells vs foundation, I think from memory the cells from foundation were 4% bigger than natural cells. I used foundationless frames, starter strips over the years. Now I wont use anything but fresh foundation. It’s probably the most inexpensive part of beekeeping, especially when you can swap your wax for foundation with no money changing hands. My bees might be big bees but man they’re bringing in some honey, maybe size DOES matter. Bigger bees bringing in bigger pay loads. Bigger bees being better defenders. Bigger bees being able to air condition the hive more efficiently.


But are they going to live as long?
Larger then normal , normally don’t!:scream_cat: