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Bee Behavior and Biology

I’ve ordered these articles to help you better understand bee behavior.


Understanding Colony Buildup and Decline: Part 9a

First published in: American Bee Journal, January 2016

The Regulation Of Bee Longevity Randy Oliver ScientificBeekeeping.com CONTENTS The Business Model Of The European Honey Bee The Phases Of Colony Life Cycle It’s All About Most Efficient Use Of Resources Reversing The Question The Regulation Of Aging The Honey Bee As A Model For Gerontological Research Bee Female Phenotypes The Two Paths Next Acknowledgements […]

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Understanding Colony Buildup and Decline: Part 8

First published in: American Bee Journal, October and November 2015

The Main Honey Flow Randy Oliver ScientificBeekeeping.com The moment has now arrived for our honey bees to earn their name. Unlike other insects in temperate climates, the honey bee maintains an elevated body temperature throughout the frigid winter. It does so by forming a cluster and metabolically burning honey to produce heat. Thus, survival of […]

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Understanding Colony Buildup and Decline – Part 7b

First published in: American Bee Journal, September 2015

Minimizing Swarming Randy Oliver ScientificBeekeeping.com CONTENTS The Beekeeper’s Dilemma The Reproductive Urge It’s Not Just Crowding Cues And Thresholds Involved In The Swarming Impulse The Condition Of The Broodnest And Amount Of Open Comb Backfilling Availability Of Empty Drawn Comb Volume Of The Cavity And Crowding THE AGE OF THE QUEEN And Queen Pheromones FAVORABLE […]

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Understanding Colony Buildup and Decline – Part 7a

First published in: American Bee Journal, August 2015

The Swarming Impulse Randy Oliver ScientificBeekeeping.com CONTENTS The Swarming Impulse Terminology Reproductive Swarming And Emergency Swarming The Effect Of Swarming Upon The Colony Predicting Swarming Issuance Of The Swarm Acknowledgements References One of the main challenges of keeping bees for honey production is to manage one’s hives to reach maximum strength by the start of […]

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Understanding Colony Buildup and Decline – Part 6

First published in: American Bee Journal, July 2015

Hiccups in Colony Linear Buildup Randy Oliver ScientificBeekeeping.com CONTENTS Return To Playing Catch Up Real World Hiccups The Effect Of Cold Weather The Effect Of Rainy Weather Spring Starvation From Too Little To Too Much Brood Survivorship Adult Survivorship Take Home Message Acknowledgements Citations and Footnotes Under ideal conditions, colonies grow in a linear manner […]

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Understanding Colony Buildup and Decline – Part 5

First published in: American Bee Journal, June 2015

Egglaying, Adult Survivorship, and Modeling Colony Growth Randy Oliver ScientificBeekeeping.com CONTENTS Some Questions Begging For Answers Survivorship Of The Workers A Simplified Mathematical Model Question: Why Does The Population Stop Growing After 10 Weeks? Population Top Out Playing Catch Up Next Acknowledgements Citations and Footnotes I could wax poetic about the wonder of the honey […]

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Understanding Colony Buildup and Decline – Part 4

First published in: American Bee Journal, May 2015

The Linear Growth Phase Randy Oliver ScientificBeekeeping.com What got me going on this series is the question of at what rate can I expect my colonies to build up. I’ve now discussed the concepts of “recruitment” and “attrition,” the constraints on the critical “spring turnover,” and pointed out the reason why it is important to […]

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Understanding Colony Buildup and Decline – Part 3

First published in: American Bee Journal, April 2015

The “Spring Turnover” Randy Oliver ScientificBeekeeping.com CONTENTS Late Winter Broodrearing The First Springtime Pollen Notes On The Population Demographics Chart The Spring Turnover The Limit Of The “Shell” The Beneficial Effect Of A Young Queen The Limiting Effect Of Nutrition The Limiting Effect Of Pathogens Acknowledgements Citations and Footnotes Even if a colony survives the […]

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Understanding Colony Buildup and Decline – Part 2

First published in: American Bee Journal March 2015

Randy Oliver ScientificBeekeeping.com CONTENTS Recruitment and Attrition Looking At The Numbers The Annual Cycle Late Winter Equilibrium Visualizing Colony Demographics Acknowledgements Citations and Footnotes My sons are in the slow process of learning how to take over more responsibilities in our beekeeping operation. This then leads them to ask me a myriad of questions, for […]

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Understanding Colony Buildup and Decline – Part 1

First published in: American Bee Journal February 2015

Randy Oliver ScientificBeekeeping.com CONTENTS How Populations Grow Measured Population Growth of Colonies A Question on Methodology A Case of Unfettered Egglaying Acknowledgements Citations and Footnotes 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 […]

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The Economy of the Hive – Part 1

First published in: American Bee Journal January 2010

Inside the hive there functions a vibrant community, with an economy similar to that of any other society. The bee economy is based upon the harvesting and processing of resources, the trade of products, doting care for the youngsters and parents, wise savings, deficit spending, a hierarchy of jobs, national defense, and an exquisite communication […]

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The Economy of the Hive – Part 2

First published in: American Bee Journal February 2010

Last month I described the functions of the main players in the hive economy—the queen, the nurse bees, the foragers, and the “resting” bees. Now let’s look at the main driver for the bee economy—the supply of food. The honey bee economy is based upon the gathering and consumption of four resources (nectar, pollen, propolis, […]

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An Adaptable Workforce

First published in: American Bee Journal March 2010

I’d like to return to the analogy of the honey bee colony as being similar to a medium-sized mammal.  The combs are analogous to the skeleton, the queen to the ovary, drones to sperms, honey to body fat, and the workers to the individual cells that make up organs. The honey bee superorganism (minus the […]

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The Primer Pheromones and Managing the Labor Pool – Part 1

First published in: American Bee Journal April 2010

We humans tend to anthropomorphize animal behavior, which is often just plain silly. The most caring, gentle, nurturing beekeeper can pamper a hive to no end, yet will still have her friendship rewarded with a volley of stings to the face should she move a bit too quickly.

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The Primer Pheromones and Managing the Labor Pool – Part 2

First published in: American Bee Journal May 2010

In the first part of this article, I explained how the allotment of the hive labor pool was largely controlled through communication via the process of sharing protein-rich jelly via trophallaxis, plus non-feeding interchange of low volatility “primer” pheromones. I now continue with a summary of our current state of knowledge of the complex process […]

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