How to measure cell size

Wondering if your natural comb bees are small cell or large cell size? Here’s how to measure.

Harvest some uncapped worker-sized comb or honey comb. (Drone comb is naturally larger than worker comb. Most comb in the hive is worker comb.)

Using a metric ruler, place “Zero” on the side wall of a cell. Cout to the right 10 cells and measure. This set of 10 cells pictured measures 4.9 cm. Thus, each individual cell is 4.9 mm. (This conversion makes it easy, right?)


Small cell comb is when cells are less than or equal to 4.9 mm, which is the threshold for varroa mite control. Therefore, we say that this comb is small cell comb.

Most brands of plastic foundation have cells between 5.3 and 5.4 mm. Cells on Pierco foundation measure around 5.2 mm.

Posted in Beekeeping, the Honey Company and tagged , .

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