Bee nutrition---Probiotics for bees??
Randy Oliver's articles this month are very timely and offer very valuable information as we begin to grow the most important bees of the year.
There is an additional area of honeybee nutrition that I feel warrants further study, and that would be the area of probiotics and bees. The intestinal floras of most organisms play a crucial role in nutrient assimilation and immune function. For honeybees this starts with specific microorganisms that are added to the beebread when they store it on the comb and continues in their digestive tract. These cultures of microorganisms could be a very beneficial addition to our pollen supplements. What affect do antibiotics have on these beneficial microbes and intestinal flora? Is it possible to maximize the beneficial gut flora in honeybees enough to prevent dysentery infections? Some bee viruses have been found only in the guts of Nosema infested bees. Is it possible to culture enough beneficial intestinal floras to effective block bad guys like Nosema out? How do the bacterial cultures of the guts of extremely healthy bees compare to stressed or sick bees?
interesting question and the idea would seem to have great possibilities? I am not certain bee nutrition (or beekeepers understanding of bee nutrition) is far enough along at this time to propose an answer???? but....
one of the several questions I have had since day one of the cdc thingee john is what part did the shift from terramycin to tylan play in this little drama. I have inquired with folks about 'why' it was recommended almost from day one to return to feeding terramycin but I have never obtained one answer. quite obviously both products should interact in the bees qut to modify the micro flora that abides there (although I would suspect each would effect different flora). I have also inquired with beekeepers who state that they were directly effected by cdc and asked what afb treatment they employed and again silence.
For those who collect pollen and feed back to the bees in spring......
Can these micro-organisms survive a winter in the freezer? I would suspect not but I don't know. Would this have any detrimental effect on the bees when fed back in the spring without these organisms?
Just a question from someone who is fairly nutrition ignorant but wants to learn.....
I thought that artical was very interesting. It is hard to pick what type of pollen patties to feed. I was happy to hear that they are still working on a new formula. In the meantime, I would like to get a pollen trap and see if there is any difference.
Chef, I've done no real scientific experiments but here where my observations this past spring.
Originally Posted by Chef Isaac
I fed straight collected pollen and the bees took it very fast....
I fed a pollen mixed with a pollen substitute and they took it very fast....
I fed straight pollen substitute and it was consumed very slowly in comparison to the pure pollen and pollen mixed with substitute.
At a minimum I'll mix pollen with substitute before feeding straight substitute again.
>For those who collect pollen and feed back to the bees in spring......
Dan, the fall is the biggest bag for your buck when feeding pollen sub.
We have already started here in Calif with the first round.
Last edited by Keith Jarrett; 08-06-2007 at 08:13 AM.
I planned on feeding pollen this fall on some hives to compare.... However they are bringing so much pollen in at the moment that some of my hives are plugged out. My particular locations seem to supply such an abundance of pollen that I have problems (in the spring especially) of getting pollen bound hives.
Originally Posted by Keith Jarrett
I still may try fall feeding on a few hives but they have so much already and goldenrod isn't even blooming yet.. (other than a few early plants)
Dan Williamson . . .
>they are bringing so much pollen in at the moment . . .
From what plants do you think "this" pollen is coming from "now"?
Dan: what pollen patties do you recomend and from whast company assuming you havent collected any pollen?
Originally Posted by Dave W
I have no idea. There do appear to be some asters blooming. The pollen is mostly dark orange with a little yellow mixed. I don't see alot of blooming plants and there seems to be alot of pollen given the amount of bloom I'm seeing. I wish I knew for sure where it was coming from. I didn't get this much pollen this time last year. Though I did get alot of pollen from goldenrod last year but virtually no nectar from them.
I literally have some frames that are 90% pollen.
Originally Posted by Chef Isaac
I've tried pollen substitute from Brushy, Kelleys and Mann Lake (Bee Pro) and some from other individuals. I really didn't notice a difference in the speed at which bees have taken them down straight. They all seemed to work well with real pollen mixed in.
I think the key to commercial pollen is the nutrition available in them. Others here are much more knowledgeable about pollen and nutrition than I am. I've just found that real pollen mixed in seems to increase the attractiveness.
This is just my experience. Others may have had different results.
Dan . . .
>The pollen is mostly dark orange with a little yellow mixed . . .
Sounds like "spring" pollen
I don't see alot of blooming plants . . .
I dont see ANY!
>there seems to be alot of pollen given the amount of bloom I'm seeing. I wish I knew for sure where it was coming from . . .
Hmmm . . . Your no help
>pollen from goldenrod . . .
I see some blooming, but not enough to make "frames that are 90% pollen".
Are you feeding syrup now?
"Can these micro-organisms survive a winter in the freezer? I would suspect not but I don't know. Would this have any detrimental effect on the bees when fed back in the spring without these organisms?' Dan Williamson
Dan, it is my understanding that these microbes actually begin to culture when the bees make the bee bread from the pollen in the comb. According to The Hive & the Honey Bee; freezer "...stored pollen gradually loses its attractiveness and nutritive value for bees." This was due to the degradation of two amino acids, lysine and arginine. I think the storage time they used was three years so it may not bee a issue if used the year it was collected.
It has been found that honeybees live longer on pollen removed from combs than on trap collected. This could be due to the three genera of bacterial flora found so far in stored beebread: Pseudamonas, Lactobacillus, and Saccharomyces. This study was done in 1966.
I feel that beneficial microorganisms in the beebread and digestive tract may prove to extremely important. In most other organisms they play a crucial role in nutrient availability and uptake which have profound implication for the immune system. I would like to see this subject studied further. What are the intestinal flora of extremely healthy untreated bees? These organisms are easy to culture and could be supplemented to the bee diet.
"I'm mentioning probiotics in the next article (in press)--will likely be a "big thing" in the future." Randy Oliver
Cool, looking forward to some additional fresh perspective and research.
tecumseh's point about Tylan is worth researching. The microbiology of the hive seems to be an area needing some new research for the current conditions of modern beekeeping. They very long half-life of Tylan is bound to affect microbe ecology in the hive and the bees digestive tract. I would love to know the affects on the beneficial microorganisms. All of the research I can find on the beneficial microbes is 30 -40 years old.
Im a bit confused... are we talking probiotics or pollen??
Most properly prepared probiotics should be kept in refrigeration or can be frozen if prepared in a dry powdered form and depending on the bacteria and methods.
Many of my bacterial samples are dissicated and are kept refrigerated for years without degradation. Colostrum supplies, live vaccines, etc. are best kept refrigerated.
As far as pollen, I would assume the protein/vitamins and amino acids degrades over time but probably most stable when frozen as well. Refrigeration would allow for mold and some bacterial growth, freezing is the best way to preserve it for low cost. The biggest problem in storage is oxidation, so a vacuum sealer is beneficial as well as keeping it in a dark place. I also recommend nitrogen flushing.
Does anyone have a complete list of the bacterial intestinal flora of bees that would allow growing pure cultures for probiotic use?
I am talking about probiotics, the beneficial microbes in the bee bread and digestive tract of the bee. All I know of species/ genera wise are the three mentioned earlier. I think it is time to survey and culture. It would be neat to compare what is growing in robust untreated hives to sickly or ccd hives.
Here is a study of isolates taken from hives in the US.
At the bottom youll see a list of genera. Its important that each strain (type, species) of bacteria be isolated and identified before cultures are produced for use, so as to not use pathogens.
Note; Lactobacillus is not on the list.
Last edited by Church; 08-14-2007 at 12:34 PM.
The species that I cited were listed in The Hive and the Honeybee. The Bendel study is interesting, however it did not deal with the digestive tract specifically. I assume the species added to the bee bread may help the pollen become more digestible and help preserve it for later use.
"The scientists' trawl revealed a diverse cargo even in healthy colonies. Eight types of bacteria appeared to be present in all bees, suggesting they perform some function useful to their hosts."
Anybody know the effect of tylan on these beneficial microbes? Perhaps the bee gut will benefit from recolonization after treatment. This could make a very big difference in the bees immune system and how it copes with viruses.