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SEASONAL MANAGEMENT

Beekeeping activity depends for its success on the execution of a series of coordinated operations determined by the cycle of the seasons and successive flowering of plants. Combination of various operations – routine, seasional and special are collectively reered to as “ Bee colony Management”. The general porpose of colony coincides with the major nectar flow in order to obtain maximum honey production. Colony multiplication is generally at the cost of honey production, protecting existing hived colonies and maximum sacrifice of honey may be the theme of seasonal colony management.

For multiplication of colonies, production of queen cells is essencial. In nature, queen cells are reared in a bee colony nuder three impulses namely

  1. Swaming
  2. Supersedure
  3. emergency

Circumstances under which these impulses develop in a colony are described earlier. Swarming is an impllse under which large scale colony multiplication takes place in nature. A beekeeper must know the basic conditions under which queen cells are raised in a colony i.e. environment within and outside the colony and exact responseds of honeybee to these. Movable frame hive enables the beekeeper to determine when the production of queen cells is initiated. This takes place well ager the bees have begun to rear worker brood on large scale and have begun constructing drone cells. This is the first sign that a colony is becoming congested and that congestion leads to swarming. The period and duration of swarming season varies from place to place and this also must be determined. Knowledge of all these factors is necessary for a beekeeper in planning his seasonal management scheme. Following practices may be the round the rear colony management for protecting the existing hived colonies and multiplication of colonies with out sacrificing much of the honey production. As most of the colony losses occur in mansoon. If the colonies are well strong with young bees, this pays rich dividends during following swarming and honey flow seasons.

Off season management

At the end of main honey flow season, enough honey may be left in the hive to keep colony alive during the prolonged monsoon and rainy dearth that follows. The colony must be well protected from rain and wind, from enemies attempting to enter the hive and from unhygienic conditions that can present great problems later. A reversible bottom board is very useful in monsoon period. After evitted with comb foundation sby wired frame fery weak the bottom board should be dried and reversed. This reduces wax moth infestation and unhygienic conditions.

The major wet spell of the monsoon has generally finished by mid of August and there are intermittent sunny days. Many weeds, wild plants, grasses appear and the bees start colletting pollen. Then on a clear sunny day, the colonies should be quickly inspected. One or two old dark removed and replaced by wired frame fitted with comb foundation strips. Nectar is generally not available during this period and hence colonies should be given 300 to 500ml warm sugar syrub in the evening. With availability of fresh pollen and this stimulative feeding, bees start constructing new combs. Quick colony inspection, removal of old, black combs, giving wired frames with comb foundation strips and stimulative sugar feeding should be continued at 7 to 10 days interval.

Complete comb renewal can thus be accomplished by mid or end of September, also ensuring presence of fresh worker bees and sealed and unsealed worker brood in the combs in the colony. Under normal conditions there is a population of old and exhausted worker bees in a colony. But with above comb renewal method, queen commences egg laying and population of young foragers increases which is useful for taking advantage of post monsoon minor flow season. This management procedure prevents post –monsoon desertions and absconding. This indirectly means additions of colonies with freshly drawn out combs, with brood of all stages and plenty of young bees.


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