Treatment with synthetic brood pheromone (SuperBoost) enhances honey production and improves overwintering survival of package honey bee (Hymenoptera: Apidae) colonies.

Abstract

We evaluated a year-long treatment regime testing synthetic, 10-component, honey bee, Apis mellifera L. (Hymenoptera: Apidae), brood pheromone (SuperBoost; Contech Enterprises Inc., Delta, BC, Canada) on the productivity and vigor of package bee colonies in the lower Fraser Valley of British Columbia, Canada. Fifty-eight newlyestablished 1.3-kg (3-lb) colonies treated three times with SuperBoost at 5-wk intervals starting 30 April 2009 were compared with 52 untreated control colonies. Treated colonies produced 84.3% more honey than untreated control colonies. By 8 September 2009, SuperBoost-treated colonies had 35.4% more adults than untreated colonies. By 28 September, net survival of treated and control colonies was 72.4 and 67.3%, respectively. On 5 October, treated and control colonies were divided into two additional groups, making up four cohorts: SuperBoost-treated colonies treated again during fall and spring build-up feeding with pollen substitute diet (BeePro, Mann Lake Ltd., Hackensack, MN; TIT); controls that remained untreated throughout the year (CCC); colonies treated with SuperBoost in spring-summer 2009 but not treated thereafter (TCC); and original control colonies treated with SuperBoost during the fall and spring build-up feeding periods (CTT). There was no difference among cohorts in consumption of BeePro during fall feeding, but TTT colonies (including daughter colonies split off from parent colonies) consumed 50.8% more diet than CCC colonies during spring build-up feeding. By 21 April, the normalized percentages of the original number of colonies remaining (dead colonies partially offset by splits) were as follows: CCC, 31.4%; CTT, 43.8%; TCC, 53.59%; and TTT, 80.0%. The net benefit of placing 100 newly established package bee colonies on a year-long six-treatment regime with SuperBoost would be US$6,202 (US$62.02 per colony). We conclude that treatment with SuperBoost enhanced the productivity and survival of package bee colonies and hypothesize that similar results could be achieved with established colonies.

Cite this paper

@article{Lait2012TreatmentWS, title={Treatment with synthetic brood pheromone (SuperBoost) enhances honey production and improves overwintering survival of package honey bee (Hymenoptera: Apidae) colonies.}, author={Cameron G. Lait and John Borden and Ervin Kov{\'a}cs and Onour E Moeri and Michael Joseph Campbell and Cristina M Machial}, journal={Journal of economic entomology}, year={2012}, volume={105 2}, pages={304-12} }