3.3.1. Honey productivity and feed consumption

  • honey harvested within one season from an individual hive is recognized as the honey production of the test colony. A potential crop of swarms or permanent splits, coming from the test colony, is not regarded.
  • Honey stored in the brood nest is not considered toward honey production.
  • The supers filled with honey combs are weighed before and after extracting and the difference is noted as the honey harvest. If the extraction procedure does not allow following individual combs, an average net weight of extracted supers can be used instead of weighing individual supers after extraction.
  • The result is noted in kg.
  • The balance should ensure an accuracy of 100 g.
  • Repeated honey harvests during one season are totalled to calculate the total honey production.
  • The honey harvest of different periods, however, should be reported separately in order to document the colony’s development and adaptability to different crops.
  • For more accurate investigations of colony development and food consumption, the total weight of the hives has to be checked in regular intervals. The net weight of all added or replaced equipment has to be noted to calculate the net weight development in defined control intervals, for example during overwintering. See the BEEBOOK paper on miscellaneous research methods for techniques associated with weighing full colonies (Human et al., 2013).
  • Programmable hive scales are on the market. Some models store the total hive weight in short intervals and can transfer the data via cell phone to central computers. This allows a continuous real-time monitoring of the honey production and food consumption of test colonies.