A study of the development and performance of package bees in Manitoba

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Smirl, Calvin Bruce
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An analysis of package bee colonies was done in order to determine the growth patterns of the colony and how certain variable factors can influence the colony's growth pattern. In this study two approaches were used: (1) An analysis of commercial honey bee colonies for populations of adults and brood along with trials on a large scale to test the effects of package size and time of hiving of the packages on the honey production of a colony, (2) the use of forty-eight colonies of bees to investigate, over a three year period, the changes in brood areas, adult numbers, flight activity and hive weights. The forty-eight colonies consisted of two and three pound packages established on three dates at twelve day intervals during April and early May. This arrangement allowed for the testing of the effect of package size and date of package hiving by comparing periodically brood and adult numbers as well as flight activity... The six groups consisted of two package sizes hived on three different dates showed that the effects of package size and hiving date varied from year to year; the three pound packages supported larger brood areas at least up to 43 days after hiving and the two pound packages used adult bees more efficiently during the rearing of the first brood. Hiving date had a greater effect than did package size on the production of adult bees. This date effect varied yearly; the tendency of the later hived packages to reach equal adult and brood population levels appeared to be governed by springtime food or forage supplies and air temperature levels. The growth and performance of the colonies are analysed in this thesis.