Weight watching and the effect of landscape on honeybee colony productivity: investigating the value of colony weight monitoring for the beekeeping industry

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Over the last few decades, a gradual departure away from traditional agricultural practices has resulted in alterations to the composition of the countryside and landscapes across Europe. In the face of such changes, monitoring the development and productivity of honey bee colonies from different sites can give valuable insight on the influence of landscape on their productivity and might point towards future directions for modernized beekeeping practices. Using data on honeybee colony weights provided by electronic scales spread across Denmark, we investigated the effect of the immediate landscape on colony productivity. In order to extract meaningful information, data manipulation was necessary prior to analysis as a result of different management regimes or scales malfunction. Once this was carried out, we were able to show that colonies situated in landscapes composed of more than 50% urban areas were significantly more productive than colonies situated in those with more than 50% agricultural areas or those in mixed areas. As well as exploring some of the potential reasons for the observed differences, we discuss the value of weight monitoring of colonies on a large scale
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0132473
JournalP L o S One
Issue number7
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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