We are beekeepers who have had enough of the current methods of combating varroa mites. We think it must be possible to achieve the same goal through other means. Some members of our group have already started to select bees for the varroa resistance trait. So-called Primorsky bees have been used for this for several years.
In 2014, one of us came into contact with beekeepers who successfully use the small cell method. In the same year he also started doing this, together with a few colleagues.
In the winter of 2015, it was decided to use the original West European honey bee (Apis mellifera mellifera) as the starting point for this. Hence the chosen name small black bee. We hope to be able to set this up more broadly in the coming years.
The western honey bee Apis mellifera started colonization of the Middle East, Africa and Europe 6 million years ago from Asia. That happened in different groups. Each group followed a unique route and started to differentiate itself into new subspecies according to the law of natural selection. The group of western honey bees that colonized Europe along the northern route today bears the name "Group M", the group of subspecies that colonized Europe along the southern shores of the Mediterranean bears the name "Group C".
Switching to small cells is one of the steps in a working method based on the well-being of the bee. This means that we try to eliminate as many stress factors as possible for the bees. We do this by looking at how the bees work "in the wild" and what we can learn from history.
Among other things, it appears that bees build smaller cells under natural conditions and that the cell size in the past was between 4.6 mm and 4.9 mm, that combs are built closer together and in a certain coherence.