Author(s): Akinwande KL, MA Badejo
Modification of feeding activity, nursing care and undertaker behaviour were carried out among some colonies of honey bees Apis mellifera adansoni L to know the effect on honey production. Apiaries Numbers 1, 2 and 3 contain three replicates of experimental hives while apiary Number 4 contains control hives. All the hives were baited with honey to attract bees. In Apiary No. 1 (Hives A1, A2 and A3)the bee colonies were fed with banana paste which contains amino acid dopamine. The foragers population count was 9324 ± 256 (± s.e.) and the honey produced weighed 16.24 ± 0.71 kg (± s.e.).In Apiary No.2 (Hives B1, B2 and B3), some young nursing care worker bees were removed from the bee colonies, thus making the old foraging worker bees to perform nursing care duty. The foragers population count was 6714 ± 256 (± s.e.) while honey produced weighed 6.03 ± 0.71 kg (± s.e). Dead bodies of insects and dirt were introduced into the hives in Apiary No.3 (Hives C1, C2 and C3) to induce undertaker behaviour in the colony. Some of the old foraging worker bees assumed undertaker duty in these hives where the population count of the foraging workers was 5466 ±256 (± s.e.) and the honey yield weighed 7.02 ± 0.71 kg (± s.e.). In the control Apiary (Hives D1, D2 and D3), where the bee colonies were baited with honey only, foraging worker bees population count was 8670 ± 256 (± s.e.) and honey produced weighed 13.13 ± 0.71 kg (± s.e.). The differences between the mean foraging worker bees’ population and consequently honey yield in the different treatments were statistically significant with the apiary where banana paste was introduced containing the highest. When pollen and nectar is abundant, the number of foraging worker bees determines the honey yield. Feeding of the bee colonies with banana paste slightly increased the population growth of the foraging worker bees and the honey yield.