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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Alameda County, CA
    Posts
    93

    Default Killing perfectly good bees for perfectly good reasons?

    A PhD from a local medical research institution who is starting a project related to CCD is asking for help from some local beeks. They want to gather bees from local hobbyist hives now, and then repeatedly over time to analyze what viruses they carry and how their immune systems fight them. Their particular area of expertise is immunology; the pitch was very professional and the science interesting. Its nice to know that sort of work is under way. Naturally I signed up to volunteer some of my girls.

    My question: Its not like they need THAT many bees..... but might removing a chunk of the bees at the right time actually be beneficial to the hive?

    I've often wondered if anyone has ever physically removed bees from their hives after the local flows stop. Once the queen gets the message there's no more food coming in, she lays fewer eggs, and over 2 months the populations declines to a sustainable level where they wont burn through the winter food too fast. But in the meantime, in theory they use up a lot more of their stores feeding workers they no longer need. If you culled some of the bees, one might get them to a smaller population faster and give them a better chance of surviving the dearth/winter. Anyone ever done that? The flow here is winding down and will be done for the year within a few weeks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Greensboro, N.C.
    Posts
    5,080

    Default

    As for reducing population, many commercial keepers move their bees in the middle of the day after a flow, in order to leave the foragers and reduce the headcount at the dinner table.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Orlando, FL
    Posts
    1,313

    Default

    I have heard that some beeks here in FL will shake swarms into packages (and add queens) after the Orange Blossom flow in FL.

    This does two things. 1) it reduces the population after the flow as you suggested and 2) it produces packages for resale in Mid to late April in time for sale to more northern beeks. It is sort of the same thing you are suggesting.
    Troy

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Massillon, Ohio
    Posts
    3,404

    Default

    Do you raise your own queens? If you do, this might be a good time to split the bees up and raise some replacement queens. If you're going to reduce their numbers and dispose of them, you may as well get a few queens out of them first.
    To everything there is a season....

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