Honeybee colony populations and foraging rates on onion seed-fields in Arizona
G. D. Waller, N. E. Gary, S. T. Chester, Jr., M. S. Karim, J. H. Martini and B. E. Vaissiere
Data collected during 2 years showed that the frequency with which honeybee (Apis mellifera) foragers were caught on onion flowers (Allium cepa) and tagged was proportional to colony population. In each year, 3 sizes of population were studied by using hives with single, double or triple brood chambers. Nearly 3000 metal tags were recovered each year from foragers returning to the test colonies after having been tagged at stations within each of the onion fields. The number of tags recovered per colony was proportional to colony population in one year and almost proportional in the other. Colony weight gains and bees/min flying from hive entrances were also proportional to colony populations. Thus, it is concluded that the rate of remuneration for beekeepers providing honeybee colonies for onion pollination in Arizona should be directly proportional to the strength of the colony.