Effect of colony strength on colony build up and foraging activity of Apis mellifera L.
Divya Chaand, Devinder Sharma, Suheel Ahmad Ganai, Thanlass Norboo and Sonika Sharma
The studies were carried out in Division of Entomology, SKUAST-Jammu to assess the effect of varied colony strength (6, 8 and 10 frames hive) on colony performance parameters viz. brood development, pollen and honey stores by Apis mellifera from June, 2013 to May, 2014 under Jammu conditions. The colony parameters in respect of brood, pollen and honey area fluctuated in all the test colonies with varied bee strength. The maximum brood development was recorded from October to June month with highest in 10-frame beehive. The maximum pollen area in all the three colonies was recorded from January to June month with maximum in 10-frame beehive. The maximum honey area in all the three colonies was recorded from March to August month. The brood development was positively correlated with maximum temperature negatively correlated with minimum temperature positive and significant for maximum relative humidity, negative and significant for minimum relative humidity and negative and significant for rainfall. The correlation coefficients between pollen area and weather parameters were found to be negative for maximum temperature, negative for minimum temperature negative for maximum relative humidity, negative for minimum relative humidity and negative and significant for rainfall. The honey reserves were found to be positive and highly significant for maximum temperature, positive for minimum temperature positive and highly significant for maximum relative humidity, negative and highly significant for minimum relative humidity and negative for rainfall. The foraging activity showed a rhythmic pattern depending upon the level of adaptation and colony strength. The incoming and outgoing bees at any point of time were not in equilibrium. The study clearly revealed that there should be adequate amounts of brood, pollen and honey reserves in the colonies initially for maximum honey production and the increase of colony strength.