Hive components

Sufficient space for colony development must be provided. Super(s) are added when bees occupy most combs in the brood box (at least ¾). Super(s) should be removed when bees occupy less than two thirds of the combs in lower super.

It is recommended that hives in the testing apiary be equipped with screened bottom boards (Fig. 10). They guarantee good ventilation and allow for easy varroa mortality control. The size of the hive entrance has to be adjustable according to colony strength, and time of the year. During winter, a metal mesh / comb should be placed across the entrance as a protection against rodents. The size of the landing board is not important. It is recommended that landing boards should be the same size, but in different colours within the apiary. Regular maintenance of the landing board is important, since it is the place where disturbances to the colony can be noticed and recognized (e.g. to prevent robbing). The use of a queen excluder is not recommended, but if used, it should be placed / removed on all test colonies at the same stage of development. Feeders do not have to be in the hives all the time. If feeding is needed, feeders should be placed in all colonies at the same time and of the same capacity.

Fig. 10. Screened bottom boards ensure good hive ventilation and allow for easy control of mite mortality. Photo: B Binder-Köllhofer.

Figure 10