Project objectives from proposal:
The project participants will manage the colonies “as a new beekeeper would”, feeding and maintaining the colonies to maximize survival and strength, not necessarily honey production. The colonies will be assessed several times throughout the year and the project participants will document the progress of the project not just in data collection, but also through a series of ongoing articles in the Maine State Beekeepers Association newsletter.
The project colonies’ success will be measured by regular use of an assessment form evaluating hive health and survivability. Ultimate colony strength and survival through their first winter will be the final evaluation, but honey production, disease load and overall colony strength will also be measured. The “hive assessment tool” used in the previous related SARE projects; FN09-665 and FN10-694 will be used for this purpose, and will provide continuity in the data between the three project years.
This data will be compiled and reviewed by the participants as well as with our Cumberland County Beekeeping Association cooperators. Appropriate data analysis will be conducted and findings will be discussed and integrated into a draft report. We hope to demonstrate that colony survival can be improved by requeening with locally raised queens, and teach this relatively simple but underutilized management practice.