Food consumption and winter mortality in bee colonies wintering in hives made from different materials with lattice and solid bottom

I. Zhelyazkova*, S. Lazarov

Department of Animal husbandry – Non-ruminants and other animals, Faculty of Agriculture, Trakia University, Student’s campus, 6000 Stara Zagora, Bulgaria

(Manuscript received 10 June 2021; accepted for publication 2 August 2021)

Abstract. The objective of the present study is to examine the changes in some indicators characterizing the winter hardiness of bee colonies settled in hives made of different material (polystyrene, wood, ceramics) and with different type of bottom (lattice or solid). Some parameters which characterize the wintering of bee colonies (amount of dead bees and quantity of food consumption in winter) have been investigated. The bee colonies were housed in 10-frame Dadant Blatt hives with a lattice and solid bottom situated at the Training Apiary of the Faculty of Agriculture, Trakia University, Stara Zagora, Bulgaria. Two inspections of the bee colonies were carried out (during wintering in November 2020 and at the beginning of the active season in March 2021). Amount of bees in the bee hive (strength) and amount of capped honey in the honeycombs were reported. In bee colonies wintering in hives with a lattice bottom, the consumption of food per 1 kg of bees was 1.639 kg (50%) higher than in hives with a solid bottom. Winter mortality of bees in hives with a lattice bottom was higher compared to this indicator in the hives with a solid bottom, 16.19±10.72% and 12.59±3.57%, respectively, which can be considered excellent wintering below 15% and good wintering in the range of 15.0-19.99%.