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.