The productivity of honey bee colonies and the quality of hive products may be greatly influenced by colony management. In beekeeping, shaking of the worker bees together with the queen into a clean empty hive is known as the shook swarm technique. In this study, the shook swarm technique was compared to standard beekeeping methods in relation to colony productivity and honey quality, including adult worker bee population, wax production, comb area, brood area and honey yield. In addition, the honey was examined to determine the content of water, proline, hydroxymethylfurfural, glucose, fructose, sucrose, diastase, electrical conductivity, invert sugar, fructose/glucose ratio, maltose, vitamin C and potassium. The naphthalene and pesticide contents were also measured. Shook swarm group colonies were smaller than those of the control group in terms of worker bee population, brood area and honey yield (P<0.01),were similar in built comb area (P>0.05) and greater in terms of wax production (P<0.01). Ninety five per cent of the comb needed by the colonies was built within 45 – 50 days, at an average cost of 19 – 20 kg of honey. Control colonies used an average of 79g of wax to build comb on each frame of foundation, compared to 183g in the shaken colonies. Honey production to comply with pure blossom and organic standards may be possible using the shook swarm technique, but the productivity level is 55 – 60% lower than with standard beekeeping methods.
Honey bee, Apis mellifera, colony, shook swarm, productivity, honey, quality