Effect of brood rearing on honey consumption and the survival of worker honey bees
John R Harbo
The cost of rearing a worker honey bee (Apis mellifera) was measured in terms of honey lost by the colony and the lifespan of the adult worker bees. Test colonies for each experiment were created by collecting bees from many different sources into a large cage and then subdividing those bees to make a group of uniform colonies. Colonies were evaluated outdoors in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA, during February when there was pollen but no nectar for bees to collect. Brood production did not have a significant effect on adult survival during the first cycle of brood rearing, but colonies that reared more brood during the first brood cycle had greater adult mortality during the next brood cycle. Bees used 121 g of honey to produce 1 000 cells of mixed-aged brood (eggs, larvae and pupae in a normal brood nest) and about 163 mg of honey to rear one worker bee to the pupal stage. In colonies containing brood of all stages, the weight of brood was nearly equal to (about 25% less than) the weight of honey that was used to produce it.