Comparisons of pollen substitute diets for honey bees: consumption rates by colonies and effects on brood and adult populations.
Gloria DeGrandi-Hoffman, Gordon Wardell, Fabiana Ahumada-Segura, Thomas Rinderer, Robert Danka and Jeff Pettis.
Commercially available pollen substitute diets for honey bees (Apismellifera L.) were evaluated for consumption and colony growth (brood and adult populations) and compared with pollen cake and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Two trials were conducted; the first for 3 months during the fall and winter and a second for 2 months in the summer. Three diets were tested in Trial 1 (Diet-1, Diet-2, and Diet-3 (liquid and patty form)) and Diet-2 and Diet-3 (patty) in Trial 2. In both Trials, Diet-2 and Diet-3 patty were consumed at rates that were comparable to pollen cake. Colonies consumed significantly less Diet-1 than the other diets. There was a significant relationship between the amount of diet consumed and the change in brood area and adult population size in both Trials. Colonies fed Diet-3 patty produced significantly more brood than those fed pollen cake or any other diet in Trial 1. The lowest brood production occurred in colonies fed Diet-1 or HFCS. Adult populations in colonies fed Diet-3 liquid or patty did not differ from those fed pollen cake, and were significantly larger than colonies fed Diet-1 or Diet-2. In Trial 1, when some pollen was being collected by colonies, Diet-2 and Diet-3 did not differ from pollen cake in brood or adult population growth.