Last modified on 2 November 2016, at 10:03

Early Summer

June management is a complex period with A. m. mellifera bees, because the colony development rhythm is fundamentally different from that of other subspecies. The main problem is the timing of when to give room for the bee colony. Either you do not have enough bees or you are too late with your management. The biggest task is to improve and develop the management techniques for brown bees for June.

Strong development in May and June is essential for good harvesting capacity, but it also induces swarming. In light of that, it is important to know that environmental factors amplify the genetic predisposition for swarming behavior. In other words, the swarming tendency of bees with a certain genetic origin can vary in different environments and weather conditions. Moreover, A. m. mellifera bees aspire to complete their swarming behavior, once it has started. Because of this, the management to handle the swarming has to support the Nordic brown bee’s natural behavior. Otherwise, the bee colony can end up in disorder or even end up collapsing.

Between spring and summer flowering, most of the Nordic biotopes have some periods without flowers. These periods last from a few days to more than one week in early summer. The following interruption in foraging possibilities also strongly induces swarming behavior. As a result, the annual swarming tendency varies depending on these food pauses. It is possible to follow the amplitude of nectar flow by monitoring the weight changes of a so-called scale hive. These hives are set on top of scale so that daily changes in the beehive’s weight are measured. In every Nordic country, this information is also available online. For Finnish data, for example, check here. Following this data allows beekeepers to somewhat predict the swarming tendency.

In addition, there have been reports of A. m. mellifera strains with very low swarming tendencies in southern Norway.