🏆Roger Patterson “Colony Assessment and Selection for all Beekeepers”- BIBBA
Beekeepers are often advised by speakers and books to have a long list of characteristics they should consider when selecting colonies from which to rear queens. This is usually far too long for all but the serious breeder, so understandably gets ignored.
This presentation will cover a few simple criteria that should suit both bees and beekeeper. They are within the capabilities of all beekeepers, however many colonies they have. Some well tried and tested colony selection techniques will also be discussed.
John currently maintains about 20 colonies. When starting with locally-caught swarms, he was struck by their diverse behaviours. A busy town-living professional with children, he loves how his bees immediately draw him into the vibrant ecological network on his doorstep. He attempts to interpret rather than inspect, believing observant beekeepers can predict what they will find next time with reasonable accuracy. He does not feed his colonies during nectar dearth and is frugal with syrup after the honey harvest. Likewise, believing angry, weak or underproductive colonies to be so for reasons that have no place in his apiary, he does not spare the queens or unite such colonies. He rears more queens than required and chooses which of these to keep. By these means, he believes that he is developing a frugal, gentle, hardy and productive survivor stock that overwinters well.