Comparing weight dynamics between urban and rural honey bee colonies in Latvia
¹Department of Computer Systems, Faculty of Information Technologies, Latvia University of Life Sciences and Technologies, Liela iela 2, Jelgava, LV-3001, Latvia
²Institute of Plant Protection Research ‘Agrihorts’, Latvia University of Life Sciences and Technologies, Paula Lejina iela 2, Jelgava, LV-3004, Latvia
Beekeeping is an important agricultural industry in Latvia, which has an area of 64,589 km2 and is largely mixed forest. The natural foraging base does not provide the honey yield evenly throughout the whole season, thus the average honey yield in Latvia is about 20 kg per colony. The objective of this research was to compare the weight dynamics of colonies placed in rural and urban environments. As urban beekeeping is becoming more popular, it is important to understand whether there are enough foraging resources within the city for the bee colonies. To do this, the weight changes of ten honey bee colonies was remotely monitored and analysed during the summer period. Five colonies were located in the rural environment in Vecauce and five in the urban environment in Jelgava city. Colonies were assessed using the precision beekeeping approach and developed scale systems. It was concluded that for rural colonies in Vecauce, the main weight increase occurred in June – from 41.02 to 54.68 kg – which resulted in 94% of the total increase for the summer period. Data analysis from the urban apiary revealed that colonies increase weight during the entire monitoring period, indicating that there are foraging resources available throughout the summer period within the city.