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Colony Performance Standards

A strong colony has these characteristics:

Disposition: Gentle bees that are easy to work with; very little tendency to sting under good flight conditions.

Low-level Swarming Instinct: Very few or no swarm cells. Swarm prevention can be a major problem. Colonies with a low-level swarming instinct are most desirable.

Honey Production: Colonies that produce 100 pounds or more of surplus honey are most desirable. This is above the 4O~60 pounds of stores for their use. Double cropping of productive colonies is definitely recommended for increasing your honey production per colony.

Bee population in a hive:

A. One queen (prolific layer)

  1. Full brood pattern on frames
  2. Few skipped cells
  3. 8-14 frames with brood by beginning of honey flow

B. Worker bees

  1. 25,000 older workers
  2. 25,000 young workers in the hive rearing brood and housekeeping
  3. 9,000 larvae requiring food
  4. 6,000 eggs from which larvae will hatch
  5. 20,000 older larvae sealed in cells which need to be kept warm

C. Drone bees

  1. 300 large male bees
  2. Appear in March*
  3. Disappear in October *
  4. Seasonal (45 day life span) for individual drones

*dates vary by climate

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