Evaluating the effects of Feeding Protein Patties to Honey Bees

by James Bailey on October 06, 2020

Nutritional Considerations in Choosing Protein and Carbohydrate Sources for use in Pollen Substitutes for Honeybees

Small colonies of honeybees (Apis mellifera) were fed for 6 weeks on diets of protein concentration increasing from 5% to 30%, using soya flours and a Torula yeast product, the commonly available pollen substitutes. Either honey or sucrose was used in formulating the diets; sucrose enhanced protein utilization. While no statistical difference was found in brood production at different protein levels, the 5% level of protein may not be as good as the others. All tested supplements and pollen gave the same efficiency of protein utilization at all concentrations. The Torula yeast product sustained brood-rearing longer than the soy flours. Addition of proteolytic enzymes to soya-flour diets had no effect on protein utilization. Colonies fed pollen raised more brood than those fed the test diets, and on the average produced populations about twice as large.

Yolanda Lehner (1983) Nutritional Considerations in Choosing Protein and Carbohydrate Sources for use in Pollen Substitutes for Honeybees, Journal of Apicultural Research, 22:4, 242-248, DOI: 10.1080/00218839.1983.11100594

 

Effect of Supplemental Feeding of Honeybee (Hymenoptera: Apidae) Populations and the Economic Value of Supplemental Feeding for Production of Package-Bees

In an attempt to determine the effect of feeding on Apis mellifera L. populations and the economic value of feeding colonies for spring production of package-bees, a feeding experiment was conducted to evaluate the effect of feeding time and feeding treatments on the A. mellifera population, and to compare the cost with the benefit of feeding. Colonies produced significantly more bees from fall feeding than from spring feeding or continuous feeding from fall to spring (P < 0.01; analysis of variance). Colonies fed with protein supplement containing 21% protein from Torula yeast and/or syrup also produced significantly more bees than unfed control colonies (P < 0.05; Duncan’s multiple range test). Colonies fed with ⅓ the amount of protein supplement in the fall had the potential to yield high adult bee populations and a net gain in production of package-bees. Feeding sugar syrup in spring was less profitable than feeding protein supplement in fall.

Ying-Shin Peng, Jerry M. Marston, Osman Kaftanoglu, Effect of Supplemental Feeding of Honeybee (Hymenoptera: Apidae) Populations and the Economic Value of Supplemental Feeding for Production of Package-Bees, Journal of Economic Entomology, Volume 77, Issue 3, 1 June 1984, Pages 632–636, https://doi.org/10.1093/jee/77.3.632

In summary, These result and recommendations of these studies are worth considering:

The use of pollen was considerably better than either torula yeast or soy flour, and that yeast was better than using just soy alone.

Sucrose was better than honey for the sugar portion of the patties.

Protein concentrations between 5 and 30% seemed to be equally efficient, however below 5%, the effect was declining.

It was also is considered that twice as much patty was required at 10% than at 20%, to achieve a similar result, however adding enzymes to the soy did not seem to help.

It is not specified specify what type of pollen was used, but it is also known that pollen loses its nutritional value over several years of storage.

  • Using Fumigil-B did not help
  • Using old soy flour alone made matters worse.
  • Bad pollen supplement was worse than nothing
  • Adding yeast helped
  • Feeding combs of pollen had a good effect

Nothing is learned here about fresh soy flour, and we are not told the age of the yeast or pollen.

Although conditions and requirements there are different from Alberta, we can see that the effects of Fall feeding carry on until Spring.  In fact, to quote "Colonies fed with 1/3 the amount of protein supplement in the fall had the potential to yield high adult bee populations and a net gain in production of package-bees. Feeding sugar syrup in spring was less profitable than feeding protein supplement in fall".  This seems significant and indicates that we need to evaluate this effect.

 

BACK TO TOP
Cookies are important to the proper functioning of a site and we use them to help us offer you the best online experience. By using our website and/or clicking OK, you are agreeing to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookies policy. Find Out More
I Agree