There are many factors influencing the productivity of honey bee colonies. Although some of these factors are environmental and beyond the control of the beekeeper, some of them can still be improved. Beekeepers can increase the productivity by controlling the productivity of the colony, individual productivity of the worker bees and synchronization of flight activity and honey flow.
In order to increase the productivity of honey bee colonies and enable the production of natural swarms and rearing the queens Professor Dr. Muhsin Dogaroglu from Turkey developed the innovative solution on the colony support management system.
The colony support management system is a method based on setting pair colonies which produce honey from each colony in every pair. Of this colony pair, one is called the supporter and the other is called the producer. Observations showed producer colonies able to produce honey more than any other usual colonies in all varying conditions and the system is able to increase total honey production of the apiary. By changing tasks during the next period of honey producing, supporting colony becomes the producing colony and the producing colony becomes the supporting colony. The system targets approximately 75.000 bees in the production colonies and 50.000 bees in support colonies at the beginning of main nectar flow and these numbers are reversed for the end of the season. The number of colonies in the system depends on the economic status of the beekeepers and it is optional.
The system is basically based on individual productivity enhancement. It aims to increase brood production in all colonies in the apiary 6 weeks before the main nectar flows. The brood produced in this period will increase the number of foragers that will work efficiently in honey production during main nectar flows. These eggs become adults after 3 weeks and the colonies are divided into two parts, supporters and producers. So that two groups work as a team, supporting each other alternately.
Brood transfers to the production colony should be started 3-4 weeks before the main honey flow, and it should be completed 1 week before the main nectar flow. Every week 1 or 2 frames with sealed broods of support colonies are transferred to production colonies. When the production hives begin to produce honey, the young broods are transferred to the supporter colony to reduce honey consumption. The supporter colonies can be fed to the required amount.
This method gives excellent results especially for 2 consecutive main nectar flows (each of which lasts for an average of 3 weeks) or longer main nectar flows. Traditionally, the brood production will be decreased after the first main nectar flow, the number of consumers increases in colonies that makes almost impossible for colonies to accumulate honey. In the new system, for the next honey flow, the support colonies are prepared as production colonies and this time the production colonies of the previous period support them by passing to the support position. Thus, for both nectar flows, support colonies will be able to survive and collect enough nectar and pollen for brood production.
As a result, for the honeydew honey producers, this system allows to increase the production 4 times more as well as provides warranted honey production from their colonies especially in autumn.
The method was tested successfully by a few hundred Turkish beekeepers. Colony support management systems applied by beekeepers have effective roles in maintaining the increase in colony size and productivity, given that it is applied in a correct way. Incorrect applications may cause decreases in crop production and lead to winter losses.
Solution budget: The system has no additional cost to normal production methods.
Professor Dr. Muhsin Dogaroglu
Telephone: +90 532 496 22 59