We evaluated a year-long treatment regime testing synthetic, 10-component, honey bee, Apis mellifera L. (Hymenoptera: Apidae), brood pheromone (SuperBoost; Contech Enterprises Inc., Delta, BC, Canada) on the productivity and vigor of package bee colonies in the lower Fraser Valley of British Columbia, Canada. Fifty-eight newlyestablished 1.3-kg (3-lb) colonies treated three times with SuperBoost at 5-wk intervals starting 30 April 2009 were compared with 52 untreated control colonies. Treated colonies produced 84.3% more honey than untreated control colonies. By 8 September 2009, SuperBoost-treated colonies had 35.4% more adults than untreated colonies. By 28 September, net survival of treated and control colonies was 72.4 and 67.3%, respectively. On 5 October, treated and control colonies were divided into two additional groups, making up four cohorts: SuperBoost-treated colonies treated again during fall and spring build-up feeding with pollen substitute diet (BeePro, Mann Lake Ltd., Hackensack, MN; TTT); controls that remained untreated throughout the year (CCC) ; colonies treated with SuperBoost in spring—summer 2009 but not treated thereafter (TCC); and original control colonies treated with SuperBoost during the fall and spring build-up feeding periods (CTT). There was no difference among cohorts in consumption of BeePro during fall feeding, but TTT colonies (including daughter colonies split off from parent colonies) consumed 50.8% more diet than CCC colonies during spring build-up feeding. By 21 April, the normalized percentages of the original number of colonies remaining (dead colonies partially offset by splits) were as follows: CCC, 31.4%; CTT, 43.8%; TCC, 53.59%; and TTT, 80.0%. The net benefit of placing 100 newly established package bee colonies on a year-long six-treatment regime with SuperBoost would be US$6,202 (US$62.02 per colony). We conclude that treatment with SuperBoost enhanced the productivity and survival of package bee colonies and hypothesize that similar results could be achieved with established colonies.
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Vol. 105 • No. 2