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Late winter feeding stimulates rapid spring development of carniolan honey bee colonies (Apis mellifera carnica)

Zlatko Puškadija, Lejla Spiljak, Marin Kovačić  (original scientific paper)


Unfavourable weather conditions after the queen starts with intensive oviposition during early spring may cause an imbalance in the division of tasks among worker bees in the bee colony. This can lead to slow spring development and poor exploitation of the main spring nectar flows. In order to accelerate the spring development, it is necessary, as a technological measure, to feed supplemental candy to bee colonies. In this research, the necessity of supplemental feeding, as well as the
composition of candy (pollen and protein substitute) were analysed. Three groups of ten bee colonies each were formed – the control, unfed group, pollen candy fed and protein substitute candy fed. In the period from 22/02/2016 and 04/04/2016 three control measurements were performed during which the number of bees, the number of brood cells and weight of the bee colonies were determined. The research has shown that supplemental feeding of the bee colony in late winter in order to encourage the rapid spring development is justified. Namely, at the final measurements in April, the results showed differences between groups. The treated colonies had higher net hive weight, a greater number of bees and statistically significantly more brood cells. The results of this study confirm that the technological measure of supplemental feeding in late winter should be performed on all commercial apiaries for the production of honey, pollen, royal jelly, queen bees and bee venom.

Correspondent author:
Zlatko Puškadija, Josip Juraj Strossmayer University of Osijek, Faculty of Agriculture in Osijek, Vladimira Preloga 1, 31000 Osijek, Croatia,