4.5.3. Steps for maintenance of an artificially established multiple-queen social organisation
The method that follows was described by Zheng et al. (2009b).
Supply the multiple queen colony with sufficient food at regular intervals.
- The strong egg laying capacity of a multiple queen colony results in most of the combs being occupied by brood, decreasing the space available for food storage and increasing the need for food to rear the brood. Consequently, these colonies must be fed more frequently compared to single queen colonies when there is decreased nectar flow, especially when no supers have been added.
- Prevent robbing of the multiple queen colonies and drifting by placing food away from other colonies. Regularly monitor the occurrence of robbing.
- Destroy newly built queen cells.
This is to ensure that one or more queens are not killed after the occasional production of young queen(s).
- Abandon foragers before migration.
The agitation of old bees resulting from the transport during migration may lead to queen elimination. To reduce the possibility of queen losses, these old workers must be removed before migration. For this, the hive hosting the multiple-queen colony should be moved during an active foraging period a short distance away from its original location two days before the migration takes place. A hive with one comb should be placed at the original location to collect the old forager bees that will fly back.