The effect of indoor wintering on honey bee colonies in Manitoba
Fingler, Barry Gordon.
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The wintering of honey bee colonies in an environmentally controlled building was undertaken using various hive preparations. The size of the hive to be wintered, the age of the queen and the food given to the bees in the fall were examined. No significant differences were found in the rate at which food was consumed by the bees between treatments with single chambered hives or between treatments with double chambered hives. However, the bees in double chambered hives consumed more food over the winter storage period than did the bees in single chambered hives. Syrup appeared to be a good substitute for honey as a winter food for the bees. Nosema disease occurred in many of the wintered hives, with the majority of the hives sampled having infections ranging from 0-10%. No correlation was found between the hive treatments and the occurrence of Nosema apis. Dead bees infected with N. apis were found to contaminate a water supply. especially if the bees were heavily infected. Water consumption by the bees during the winter storage period was extremely variable. It was found that many colonies consumed water, but that the level of nosema infection in the colonies had no bearing on the amount consumed. Honey bees wintered indoors yielded colonies the following year which were similar in population to those wintered outdoors. The requeening of some of the colonies was done too late in the year to be successfully evaluated. The drifting and loss of honey bees after they were removed winter quarters was examined. Drifting occurred in both an eastward and westward direction, with no pattern being evident. The loss of bees from the hives was initially quite substantial, but lessened with time.