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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Breeding, Genetics, Stock Improvement and Management of Russian Honey Bees for Mite and Small Hive Beetle Control and Pollination

Location: Honey Bee Breeding, Genetics, and Physiology Research

Title: The effects of hive color and feeding on the size of winter clusters of Russian honey bee colonies

Authors
item Rinderer, Thomas
item De Guzman, Lilia
item Wagnitz, Jeremy
item Frake, Amanda

Submitted to: Bee Culture
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: January 31, 2011
Publication Date: March 1, 2011
Citation: Rinderer, T.E., De Guzman, L.I., Wagnitz, J.J., Frake, A.M. 2011. The effects of hive color and feeding on the size of winter clusters of Russian honey bee colonies. Bee Culture. 3(1):5-8.

Interpretive Summary: Having larger colonies of honey bees in February is important for renting colonies for almond pollination. This study determined the effects of hive color (black or white) and feeding on colony growth of Russian colonies through the winter. In a large field experiment, hive color made no difference in the size of colonies in February. However, colonies that were continuously fed a small trickle of sugar syrup and pollen substitute from mid-November to mid-February were 2.8 frames of bees larger than colonies that were given only minimal feed. The fed colonies were sufficiently large to meet requirements for almond pollination. Beekeepers that deliver Russian honey bees to almond pollination from wintering locations in the southern states can help assure they have adequate size for almond pollination.

Technical Abstract: This study determined the effects of hive color (black or white) and its interaction with feeding on colony growth of Russian colonies through the winter. One hundred and forty two colonies with pure-mated Russian queens were established. One half of them were in hives painted white and one half of them were in hives painted black. One half of each group was only given one gallon of sugar syrup to help assure survival. One half of each group was continuously fed a small trickle of sugar syrup and pollen substitute from mid-November to mid-February. Colonies that were fed throughout the winter were 2.8 frames of bees larger than colonies that were minimally fed (Fed: 8.6 frames of bees, Minimally fed: 5.8 frames of bees) . There was no difference in the size of colonies that were housed in black hives (7.3 frames of bees) and colonies that were in white hives (7.1 frames of bees).

Last Modified: 4/21/2014
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