Timing supplemental feeding of honey bees for improved crop pollination
THE VALUE OF A CORRECTLY TIMED supplementary feeding of honey bees with natural pollen, or with a combination of drivert sugar and natural pollen, has been demonstrated in Fresno County during four field-scale experiments. Each of these experiments included 60 bee colonies which were rented for crop pollination of almonds and alfalfa seed during 1968 and 1969. The provision of a pollen and sugar source two and a half to three weeks prior to the occurrence of the first natural bloom in the area caused a rapid increase in the queen bee's egg laying activity. A 2-lb feeding of drivert sugar and a 1 per cent pollen was adequate to maintain the rapidly growing colony population for the three weeks prior to natural bloom. The timing of the stimulant feeding is important, since it takes 21 days for a brood cycle of worker bees to mature.