CORRELATIONS AND INTERACTIONS BETWEEN POPULATION, LENGTH OF WORKER LIFE AND HONEY PRODUCTION BY HONEYBEES IN A TEMPERATE REGION
An investigation of the factors influencing honey production was conducted using 12 colonies of honeybees (Apis melli/era), with 3 replications in time. Brood areas, colony populations and weights of honey produced were measured. On the average, adult worker populations amounted to only 40--60% of the numbers that should have emerged, based on brood-cell estimates for the preceding 42-day period. Correlation coefficients (r) between numbers of brood and resulting numbers of adult bees varied from +0'20 to +0'86, and values of r for population and length of worker life from -0' 39 to +0'92. Average length of productive life of workers varied from 21 to 25 days and average number of larvae reared per worker bee from 0'8 to 1'5. Workers rearing more brood were shorter-lived (r = -0'71 to -0'94). Individual colonies produced between 4 and 26 kg honey. Production was related in varying degree to number of brood reared (r = +0'20 to +0'85) and to colony population (r = +0'38 to +0'70). Individual productivity of workers had a greater influence than colony population on the amount of honey produced, as evidenced by the high coefficients of non-determination obtained for regression of weight of honey on population and the large standard deviations of the regression coefficients, as well as the highly significant values of X2 for inter-colony comparisons of honey production per 1000 bees. Because of their higher brood production, colonies headed by queens 1 year old produced 19-27% more honey than those with queens 2 years old. It is concluded that honey production is governed by the interaction of 3 primary factors: average daily brood production, length of worker life and individual productivity of workers. The relative contributions of these factors vary.