Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Each measure of the colony is actually an after-the-fact evaluation of how the colony responds to a number of situations. Over-winter survival is determined in part on the genetic traits of the colony. Was the colony healthy the previous fall? Did the queen produce brood into the fall? Was the colony prone to tracheal mites? Does the colony exhibit hygienic behavior? Over-winter survival is also determined by at least as many factors that are the result of the beekeeper’s efforts. Did the beekeeper help control Varroa mites? Did he provide ventilation of the hive? Did he leave adequate stores of honey? Was the stored honey in the proper location within the hive? Did the beekeeper take steps to control Nosema disease? Did the beekeeper provide emergency feeding if necessary? Today’s picture shows Big Dan Newton’s bees breaking from their winter cluster to feed on dry sugar, used as an emergency feeding.