Productive Management of Honey-Bee Colonies – Support Material

Figure 1.-lnfluence of colony populations on colony yields and production per bee. (Colony gain at each population level divided by the yield at 60,000 equals the percentage yield; colony gain divided by its population equals the production factors per bee or relative production per unit number of bees.)


Figure 2.-lnfluence of colony populations on daily egg-laying rate and brood rearing. (Cells of sealed brood divided by 12 equals average daily egg-laying rate; cells of sealed brood divided by the number of bees equals the relative brood production per bee.)


Figure 3.-Time required for development of package, single-, and two-queen colonies.


Figure 4.-Quality of brood from different stocks: A, brood of good quality; B, brood of poor quality.


Figure 5. Two 50-colony apiaries providing sun exposure and shelter from wind: A, winter; B, summer. The arrangement of 12 to 13 colonies in each of four widely separated blocks is used to avoid drifting of bees between colonies of different stock lines under test for production and behavior characteristics.


Figure 6. A, Diagram of the winter cluster as seen through a vertical section of a two-story hive cut across the middle of the cluster. B, Face view of frames of upper hive body. The numbers indicate the position of the frames. Note how the bees concentrate between combs and in open cells to form a compact insulating shell around a much less compact heat-producing center. The band of pollen covered with honey indicates an accumulation of reserve pollen before the honeyflow.

Figure 6 expanded view.


Figure 7. Photograph through center of the winter cluster showing brood in all stages of development when temperatures were subzero. The bees were removed from the top two frames to expose the brood. The cluster extended through all comb inter-spaces of the top three chambers and encompassed full or nearly full combs of sealed honey on both sides of brood in the top two chambers. Note: To photograph the colony, it was killed with a heavy charge of cyanide to prevent the bees breaking cluster.


Figure 8. Desirable organization of stores in fall: A, 4-story shallow hives; A1, 3-story standard hive. Note: pollen in upper chamber is under sealed honey; honey in ends of center frames does not show in cross section.

Figure 8 expanded view.


Figure 9. First-class colony in early March that had brood in five shallow depth combs and a cluster that encompassed most of the combs in three chambers. Third (left) and fourth or top chamber (right) stood on end above second chamber. The cluster just extended to the top of frames in bottom chamber (not shown).


Figure 10. Pollen trap over hive entrance with pollen tray and 8-mesh screen cover removed. Five-mesh pollen grid is shown diagramatically. Variations in design of the pollen trap have been described by Barnes, Nye, Townsend, Makar and Harp, and commercial traps may be purchased from bee supply houses. All utilize the principle of forcing the bees to pass through a 5-mesh hardware-cloth grid, preferably two layers 1/4 inch apart, with a suitable collecting tray covered with 7- or 8-mesh wire cloth to catch the pollen the bees scrape off their legs as they enter the hive. Choice of the mesh used as a cover for the tray is a compromise since some pollen pellets are too large to pass through 8-mesh and the 7-mesh cover will allow a few bees to get into the tray. The 8-mesh size is more generally available and is usually satisfactory. Most designs employ a double verticle grid but others provide a large horizontal grid beneath the hive within a special bottom board.


Figure 11. Feeding cakes of pollen supplement with 3 parts of soybean flour; At left, colony feeding on cake showing large population; At right, cake showing feeding channels after the bees were smoked down and the cake was turned over for photographing.



Figure 12. Bees preferred coarse to fine pore cellulose sponges when gathering water. The elevated translucent plastic cover prevents flying bees from dropping feces onto the watering surface. Bees prefer to gather water without getting their feet wet. The water vat need not be more than 1-1/2 inches deep, but the float control should be located and set to maintain 1/4- to 1/2-inch water in the vat to wet the sponges by capillary action.


Figure 13. Organization of brood in relation to stores before (A) and after (A1 and B1) manipulation in the spring (A and A1 4-story shallow hive; B1 3-story standard hive). Note: Some honey will be in ends of frames shown empty in cross section.

Figure 13 expanded view.


Figure 14. Method of feeding colonies: A. filling combs with sugar sirup; B, inverted pail or pepper-box feeder (the lid is perforated with small holes about 1/16 inch in diameter); C, division board feeder.


Figure 15. Organization of the brood nest and space for honey st.,rage before manipulation (A) and after (Aland B I) during the honeyflow. (A and A I, 8-story shallow hives; B I, 6-story stand~rd hive.)

Figure 15, expanded view.


Figure 16. Diagram of two-queen colony management with 12-frame shallow equipment showing organization after manipulation.

Figure 16 expanded view.


Figure 17. Difference in size and quality of queen cells as influenced by method and age of grafting larvae. In top picture, top bar, 12-hour larvae grafted into cells from the swarm box; center, 24- to 30-hour larvae regrafted; bottom, 20- to 30-hour larvae from single graft in swarm box and transferred directly to cell-finishing colony. In bottom picture, every other cell is a double graft, as compared to a single graft, the larger cells being double grafted. Queens developed from 12-hour larvae transferred to pregrafted cells are larger and more uniform than those developed from older larvae, especially those produced by a single graft.


Figure 18. Industrial vacuum and blower powered by portable generator.


Figure 19. “Knifing” the bees from between the combs with air blast from nozzle of blower. The hose nozzle orifice is about 3/8 inch wide by 1 to 1-1/2 inches long; also, the supers should be placed on end on a support behind the row of colonies so the blown bees will return to the hive entrance instead of the supers.


Figure 20. This commercially available bee blower weighs just 45 pounds and is operated by a 3-hp, 4-cycle gasoline engine. It requires only 8 or 9 seconds to remove the bees from a 6-5/8-inch super, and about 12 seconds from a 10-frame body.

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