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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Overwintering of Russian Honey Bees in Northeastern Iowa

Authors
item Villa, Joseph
item Rinderer, Thomas
item Bigalk, Manley - GOLDEN RIDGE HONEY FARMS

Submitted to: Bee Culture
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: April 1, 2009
Publication Date: May 1, 2009
Citation: Villa, J.D., Rinderer, T.E., Bigalk, M. 2009. Overwintering of Russian Honey Bees in Northeastern Iowa. Science of Bee Culture 1(2):19-21; supplement to Bee Culture 137(2).

Interpretive Summary: The survival, tracheal mite infestation, worker population and weight loss of colonies from Russian test lines were evaluated during three winters (2001, 2002 and 2003) in Cresco, Iowa. Overall, 90% of the colonies survived the period from November to April with all lines showing good survival. The percentage of bees infested with tracheal mites in most Russian colonies in August, November and April were below the economic threshold of 20%. Surviving Russian colonies had good populations at the end of the overwintering period. Colony weight loss from November to April was on average less than 20 lbs. The use of a screened bottom board increased weight loss by 20% compared to a standard wooden bottom board while additional top insulation had no effect. Russian bees provide a viable alternative for beekeepers needing to overwinter colonies in northern states.

Technical Abstract: The survival, tracheal mite infestation, worker population and weight loss of colonies from Russian test lines were evaluated during three winters (2001, 2002 and 2003) in Cresco, Iowa. Overall, 90% of the colonies survived the period from November to April. The percentage of bees infested with tracheal mites in most Russian colonies in August, November and April were below the economic threshold of 20%. Surviving Russian colonies had good populations at the end of the overwintering period. Colony weight loss from November to April was on average less than 20 lbs. The use of a screened bottom board increased weight loss by 20% compared to a standard wooden bottom board. Russian bees provide a viable alternative for beekeepers needing to overwinter colonies in northern states.

Last Modified: 11/24/2014
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