A comparison of strength and survivability of honeybee colonies started with conventional versus northern requeened packages

2012 Annual Report for FNE12-756

Project Type: Farmer
Funds awarded in 2012: $14,997.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2014
Region: Northeast
State: Maine
Project Leader:
Erin MacGregor-Forbes
Overland Apiaries

A comparison of strength and survivability of honeybee colonies started with conventional versus northern requeened packages


The project will compare package started honeybee colonies headed by queens from local sources with commercially raised package bee colonies. The project proposes to demonstrate that colonies headed by a queen that comes from local sources have a higher survival rate than commercially raised package bees. The project will compare thirty-six new honeybee colonies. Eighteen of the colonies will be traditional commercially raised honeybee packages, and Eighteen will be packages in which the queen is removed and replaced with a New England raised queen. All colonies will be managed by an experienced beekeeper and assessed multiple times over the season for health, strength and winter survival.

This is a continuation of work started in FNE09-665 and FNE10-694 comparing commercially raised packages, requeened packages, and northern raised nucleus colonies, which showed promising results and substantially higher rates of winter survival survival in both nucleus and requeened package colonies. Additional exploration of requeened packages compared to commercial packages will increase the statistical significance of the prior year results and further demonstrate the value of this option when starting or replacing colonies.

Objectives/Performance Targets

36 colonies will be started with packages in May 2013. In June 2013 we will requeen half of the colonies with northern raised queens. Our project will then track the progress of all colonies through until April 2014 when the colonies will be rated for strength.


Due to the timing of project approval (March 2012), we opted to build in a “planning year” which allows us plenty of time to order the necessary colonies and build the equipment for the project. In 2012, we have secured an order for our colonies, ordered Northern Raised queens for delivery in June 2013 and purchased the majority of our equipment. We are now building the equipment, preparing the bee yard location, and developing systems for our data collection and outreach. The package colonies will be picked up in Georgia on May 2, 1013 and that will begin the active bee work of the project. The project yard will be located at The Jackson Farm in Jefferson Maine


Anthony Jadczak

Technical Advisor
Maint Department of Agriculture
Division of Plant Industry
28 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0028
Office Phone: 2072873891
Website: http://www.maine.gov/agriculture/pi/apiary/index.htm
C. "Bee" Bee

Master Beekeeper
Overland Apiaries
188 Capisic Street
Portland, ME 04102
Office Phone: 2077723380
Website: http://overlandhoney.com