Colony Performance Standards
A strong colony has these characteristics:
Disposition: Gentle bees that are easy to work with; very little tendency to sting under good flight conditions.
Low-level Swarming Instinct: Very few or no swarm cells. Swarm prevention can be a major problem. Colonies with a low-level swarming instinct are most desirable.
Honey Production: Colonies that produce 100 pounds or more of surplus honey are most desirable. This is above the 4O~60 pounds of stores for their use. Double cropping of productive colonies is definitely recommended for increasing your honey production per colony.
Bee population in a hive:
A. One queen (prolific layer)
- Full brood pattern on frames
- Few skipped cells
- 8-14 frames with brood by beginning of honey flow
B. Worker bees
- 25,000 older workers
- 25,000 young workers in the hive rearing brood and housekeeping
- 9,000 larvae requiring food
- 6,000 eggs from which larvae will hatch
- 20,000 older larvae sealed in cells which need to be kept warm
C. Drone bees
- 300 large male bees
- Appear in March*
- Disappear in October *
- Seasonal (45 day life span) for individual drones
*dates vary by climate