Indoor wintering of honey bee colonies in Manitoba

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Gruszka, John.
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An insulated indoor wintering facility was built to accommodate up to five hundred and twenty single brood chamber hives. The building contained four separate chambers, each individually heated and ventilated. Two hundred and twenty-five colonies were prepared and wintered indoors; seventy-five colonies in each of the three chambers during the winter of 1976-77. A variety of treatments were used to test the effects of colony size, time of requeening, and food supplies on winter survival of honey bee colonies. Data were collected on colony weight loss and colony mortality during the winter. Treatment did not have a significant effect on mortality. There was no significant difference in morality among the six treatments performed. There were significant differences in weight loss among the treatments and groups prepared. Differences were attributed to treatment and indoor conditions caused by the building construction and position of the hives within the building. Comparisions were made between indoor wintered colonies, outdoor wintered colonies, and package bee colonies in the following spring and summer of 1977 on the basis of brood production, adult population and honey production... Outdoor wintered colonies had the highest brood production, largest adult populations and produced the most honey... Samples of adult bees were taken from indoor wintered colonies, outdoor wintered colonies and package bee colonies during the spring and summer and were analyzed for Nosema disease. Indoor wintered colonies were found to have substantially higher levels of Nosema disease than outdoor or package colonies during the early spring. The level of Nosema disease decreased dramatically as the season progressed.