The effect of surface area of pollen patties fed to honey bee (Apis mellifera) colonies on their consumption, brood production and honey yields
Dorit Avni, Arnon Dag and Sharoni Shafir.
Beekeepers may feed colonies with pollen supplement patties during times of pollen shortage. We tested whether the surface area of pollen patties fed to honey bee colonies affects their consumption, brood production and honey yields. We compared three pollen-patty sizes, of equal weight, and found that consumption increased with surface area. Consequently, brood production tended to increase with pollen-patty size, and colonies fed the patty with the largest surface area produced significantly more brood than those fed a carbohydrate-only control patty. The colonies in the large surface area treatment also tended to produce more honey, though the differences were not statistically significant, probably due to the time gap between the pollen deficiency period and the time honey was harvested. We conclude that pollen patties with greater surface area are more readily consumed by honey bee colonies and may contribute more to colony development and subsequent honey yields.