Understanding Colony Buildup and Decline Part 1

Scientific Beekeeping.com   By Randy Oliver   First published in February 2015

During my recent trial of the pollen subs, I was able to watch small colonies recover and rebuild the moment that natural pollen became available. But there are intrinsic limits to how rapidly a colony can grow. An understanding of the factors involved can help us to manage colonies most effectively.

At my last writing, I was freshly returned from an inspection of our five worst yards. We had left those yards thoroughly depressed, and I feared that we’d need to change our name to “Diminished Expectations Apiaries.” Luckily, after I sent the article off for publication, we checked the next 35 yards, which were in far better shape, leaving us in the state of being “guardedly optimistic” (my sons’ new favorite term).

There being no time to waste, we immediately hopped on mite management (a combination treatment of...

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