Well, I tried it and it didn't kill them, and it may have helped them. Noticed some brown splashes on the hive that might have been nosema. So I added about 1/4 capsule of Solaray Multidophilus 12 to a gallon of 1.5/1 syrup (with my usual chamomile/sage tea and sea salt). It has 20 billion micro organisms from 12 strains: b. lactis, b. bifidum, b. infantis, b. longum, l. acidophilud, l. brevis, l. bulgaricus, l. paracasei, l. planatarum, l. rhamnosus, l. salivarius, and streptococcus thermophilus.
I did it twice, about 4 weeks ago and again about a week ago. I based it on this info:
"We feel the evidence presented here also supports the potential of using nonpathogenic bacteria as probiotic diet additives to spur the immune responses of bees. First instars showed a substantial increase in abaecin transcript levels beginning 12 h after exposure to food containing the probiotic mix relative to controls. This increase reached a 20-fold difference after 48 h of feeding, whenlarvae were inthe third instar, indicating that the response can be maintained for the
long term. Although caution should be taken in an yÞeld assays, the history of known bee pathologies suggests that these bacteria pose little risk for honey bee (or human) health and that they are good candidates as Þeld treatments for bee colonies. The probiotic bacterial spores used are readily available as veterinary and human dietary supplements, suggesting that it would be relatively easy to generate a supply of probiotic treatments for bees."
Two probiotics, Biogen-N and Trilac, were used as supplements to pollen substitute in feeding honey bees, Apis mellifera. The probiotics were given either throughout the entire 14-day experiment or only for 2 days, just after bee emergence. The midgut of worker bees was colonized by bacteria present in probiotics, including Lactobacillus spp., Pediococcus acidilactici, Bifidobacterium bifidum and Enterococcus faecium. Advantages of probiotic supplementation include better bee survival and higher dry mass and crude fat level in comparison with bees fed with pollen substitute only."
Although I can't find it now, I read another study that showed a very significant increase in Spring brood.
My bees seem to be healthy and doing fine, and there have been no more signs of nosema. I'm hoping that I've treated the winter bee larvae and that this will help them winter better.
In my humble view, from all that I've read and presentations that I've heard, a colony has and cultivates all the biology that it needs provided the beekeeper doesn't come in and indiscriminately kill the native microbes with antibiotics or in this case, offset the natural balance with microbes from the outside.
In the Treatment-Free Forum, we strive to learn how to keep bees without treatments whatsoever and not to find newer softer more 'natural' treatments. This whole thread is missing the point.
Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline
Well, I do use probiotics and kefir often enough (on myself). But, it isn't cheap.
While you could call using probiotics environmentally responsible, I'm not sure that it's sustainable since you can't say which strains that you do put in your hives will persist.
It's a different kind of treadmill. It could get expensive too.
Last edited by WLC; 10-20-2011 at 06:27 PM.
"IMMUNIPROTECT™ probiotic—B. lactis and nutrition to help strengthen a healthy immune system"
Last edited by Barry; 10-21-2011 at 02:25 PM.
While I agree that letting the bees set up the natural biological balance in the hive and trying to avoid disrupting it is best, I wonder if spritzing with a bit of probiotic (like kefir whey or something similar) mixed into the water when you install a new package of bees would be beneficial. Could it possibly give the weakened by stress bees a bit of a jump start towards building the right hive balance?
My wife and I make our own kefir, and for several years we have each drank a large glass every day. There's no way that I would pay close to $100 for a package of bees and introduce the 42 various probiotics (bacterias and yeasts) in kefir to them. To actually do a safe scientific study would cost a lot of money.
It's great for humans though, but we are mammals that start life with milk; kefir is a product made with milk.
If anyone's interested in drink kefir, see: KEFIR http://users.sa.chariot.net.au/~dna/Makekefir.html (many pages of information)
Watch all ten of this guy's presentations: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MELveoRjK8M