Practical science - research helping beekeepers 2. Colony manipulations for honey production
Keith S Delaplane
Because they are good pollinators, honey bees contribute profoundly to world food production. Because they flourish in hives, they provide hours of fun and relaxation to hobby beekeepers. Because they are social and manageable, honey bees are a favoured laboratory animal for scientists and educators. But for most people, honey bees are what their name says - bees that make a lot of honey. Optimizing honey production has been the focus of much research over several decades, and there are many success stories in which scientists and beekeepers identified a principle of bee biology and developed it into a profitable practice. I describe some of these success stories here. Honey production is a function of local weather, flora, bee densities, bee genetics, colony health, and colony manipulations by the beekeeper. I limit this discussion to colony manipulations.