Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

1 - 3 of 3 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
373 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I am an undergrad at the University of Wisconsin. One of the requirements for a Biology class I'm taking next semester is doing an Independant Project. I can spend some time this summer observing, testing, etc. in the field with honey bees, also I can spend some time in a lab conducting research on campus in the fall if needed. After I finish the project, I must present the results and give a presentation.

Luckily, I just started work in an USDA Entomology lab on campus. The lead researcher is Johanne Brunet and has agreed to take me on next semester in her lab. She has done a lot of research with Bumble bees and Hawk moths in the past few years - pollination and gene flow in different plant species. The following link is a study recently done by Johanne looking at the different success rates of bees pollinating alfalfa, if anyone is interested.

http://downloads.hindawi.com/journals/psyche/2010/201858.pdf

My bees are back home, on Washington Island in Lake Michigan. As of this writing there are only 4 other colonies on the Island other than mine. Currently, I have two yards - one in the middle of my grandma's 70 acre orgainc farm and the other is about 2 miles away on my dad's 40 that is mixed wetlands and organic fields. There is very little conventional farming and no commercial orchards. My family does organic cash crop farming - mostly wheat and flax. I manage to talk dad into planting a few acres of buckwheat for the bees every year. The biggest flow is wildflowers/clover with another golden rod flow later.

I should have 18 colonies that made it though the winter. I realize this isn't enough to make any concrete judgements, I can't afford to buy any more, but may be able to split if I can build some woodenware cheaply.

They are either russian/italian hybrids from Hardeman packages or splits made with NWC queens from Tim at honey run apiaries that I bought last spring, or queens from OWA in Washington that I started in Nucs at the end of August.

I have them in polystyrene hives and nucs, but have access to some wood equipment. I am thinking about comparing the success of making honey in two different hive materals (wood, polystyrene). I would make everything else equal, colony strength, SBB's, hive color, etc. Maybe have them in two different locations, each with all three different populations.

I don't treat them in any way, except a little spring feeding of sugar water and pollen substitute.
I'm still not sold on this idea, and I am looking for any other suggestions that aren't too complex and have something quantifyable.
If I use your idea - and you don't have honey coming out your ears - I'll send you a bottle in the fall.

Thanks for your time,

Jesse
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
53 Posts
I would be interested in objective data comparing hives with foundation to hives that are foundation-less (bees build their own comb from scratch). It would be interesting to look at mite load, nosema levels, productivity (both honey and wax), and winter survivability. I'm also interested in research on the performance of narrow frames (e.g. 11 frames in a 10 frame box or 9 frames in an 8 frame box). I'm doing these things for my hives now because it is natural, but I'm always interested in objective research on how these ideas perform. Good luck on your project.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,097 Posts
My suggestion parallels Logan's a bit. I'd love to see some well-controlled studies comparing colonies subjected to drone comb culling (as opposed to drone BROOD culling) to those without. The main criticism that the practice evokes is supposed loss of honey production from drawing the comb repeatedly. But I find it a promising element of my IPM strategy due to ease of use and effectiveness, and I'd love to see whether the colony's benefits from reduced mite load (as well as not using chemotherapeutics and the stressors they produce) overcomes the nectar sacrificed in the practice. There's my hypothesis. Good on you and good luck!
 
1 - 3 of 3 Posts
Top