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Indoor Wintering Small Honey Bee Colonies

R. L. Wilson, C. A. Abel, L. L. Lockhart and M. H. Huss
Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society
Vol. 72, No. 3 (Jul., 1999), pp. 289-296
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25085912
Page Count: 8
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Indoor Wintering Small Honey Bee Colonies
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Abstract

The USDA-ARS North Central Regional Plant Introduction Station (NCRPIS) in Ames, IA (USA), uses honey bees (Apis mellifera L.) for the pollination of germplasm accessions grown under cages for seed Increase. From 700 to 1000 cages are required each growing season. Each cage is provided a nucleus hive of honey bees containing about 6000 worker bees plus a queen. These hives are too small to overwinter outdoors in Iowa. To provide enough bees for April plantings, we purchase bees from shipping companies located in the southern USA. Package bee purchases are expensive and risk importing unwanted diseases or pests. To reduce costs and overwinter our nucleus colonies locally, we remodeled an existing building to provide an environmentally controlled chamber. Earlier studies demonstrated that four or more frames of physiologically young honey bees are optimal for indoor wintering. Our method has been successful and provides an economical way of wintering small honey bee nucleus colonies for use the following year.

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