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  1. #1
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    Default Honeybee research. Help needed

    Hello all.
    This Is my first post. I am an amateur beekeeper and an academic researcher. My field is microbiology but I recently had an idea that would improve the use of milk as a pollen substitute. I am new to this forum and, despite sifting through the massive amount of information, so far I haven’t been able to locate threads that address my problem. Please, feel free to address me to existing threads.
    OK, here is my problem. There is published evidence that the milk sugars can be toxic to honeybees and I say that I can make milk safer even when fed in high quantities. I further say that milk is superior to soy flour and yeast extract because it does not contain solids which are detrimental to honeybees’ intestine. And this is where the whole hell brakes lose, because the reviewers tell me that this is not scientifically proven. Technically, I have to concede that I couldn’t find anything in the scientific literature proving that honeybees’ intestine cannot easily handle solids especially when they cannot take cleansing flights. And, yet, many of us know that this is the case.
    The reviewers also tell me that protein feeding is not necessary on the ground that honeybees are perfectly happy with sucrose syrup, which not only goes against actual experience, logics and thermodynamics but also against current published experimental evidence (DeGrandi-Hoffman, Alaux etc etc). In other words when the experimental evidence is lacking, it is absolutely required, whereas, when it is available, it is irrelevant. Go figure! They also told me that my 2.0 line-long, vague, incidental statement that varroa plays a role in CCD is false … but I digress!
    The reviewers admitted that my preliminary data are rock solid and that there is no question that I would be able to complete the project *IF* my postulates were true (but, according to them, they aren’t). So my next idea would be to tackle the problem by saying that, despite the lack of “scientific” evidence, it is known that solids are not optimal pollen subs and, thus the need for the use of milk.
    Any comment, pointer, idea, experience, greenbee manifesto … anything would be much appreciated.
    Thank you for your time.
    Maddmax1

  2. #2
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    Gainesboro, Tennessee, USA.
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    Default Re: Honeybee research. Help needed

    Sounds like the typical way it goes when trying to create some progress. Several beekeepers are doing what is scientifically not proven. We don't care to wait for them to catch up with what does work.

    That being said milk is one of the biggest allergy problems for humans due to the mutated proteins caused by pasteurizing. I wonder if the proteins would in a way cause bee issues also. Sounds like you have your work cut out for you.

    Best of luck.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Honeybee research. Help needed

    Not sure what this is for but, based on your post it sounds like you are one step too far. If the postulates for your argument and work are not proven/known then you need to prove/disprove your postulates first. If this is a research project then maybe you should focus your work on whether bees can utilize the above mentioned solids in their diet and what effects these solids have. Could even include your milk stuff as a variable--compare milk solids vs soy solids vs pollen solids in the bee diet.

    Milk does have solids--that's what makes cheese--they are just in solution. From your description (soy flour and yeast extract) perhaps what you mean is that adult bees can't utilize protein from solid sources because their gut is built to process fluids like nctar and honey (know this is the case for ants--not sure about bees). I know protein patties are fed to bees for brood production and usually not for adult nutrition--not sure if the adults themselves actually feed on it. Can adult bees even aquire additional protein in the adult stage or do they need to put on sufficient stores while in the larval form? I' don't know.

    Anyway, sounds like your roadblocks may not be that bad, just needs to be more thought out.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Honeybee research. Help needed

    Welcome to Beesource!

    > The reviewers also tell me that protein feeding is not necessary on the ground that honeybees are perfectly happy with sucrose syrup ....

    This is quite variable, based on the age/role of the bees in question. Older bees primarily consume carbohydrates. Nurse bees need protein to be able to produce royal jelly to feed brood (and the queen). I find this document a useful reference:

    http://www.beeccdcap.uga.edu/documen...Article10.html


    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Honeybee research. Help needed

    I am no help, but I do have a question, what is the point?? is milk cheaper easier or better than what we currently have??

  6. #6
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    Cleveland, OH, USA
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    Default Re: Honeybee research. Help needed

    The primary problem some humans have with milk comes from lactose intolerance; lactose is not affected by pasteurizing at all. Pasteurization does break down some proteins, although not any that exist in enough abundance in raw milk that pasteurized milk can be called practically less-nutritious to humans by virtue of the reduced amount of these specific proteins; and it has not been proven by any scientific study to make milk more allergenic.

    Quote Originally Posted by Maddmax1 View Post
    OK, here is my problem. There is published evidence that the milk sugars can be toxic to honeybees and I say that I can make milk safer even when fed in high quantities. I further say that milk is superior to soy flour and yeast extract because it does not contain solids which are detrimental to honeybees’ intestine. And this is where the whole hell brakes lose, because the reviewers tell me that this is not scientifically proven. Technically, I have to concede that I couldn’t find anything in the scientific literature proving that honeybees’ intestine cannot easily handle solids especially when they cannot take cleansing flights. And, yet, many of us know that this is the case.
    To me, it looks like this is the one big hurdle you'll have to scale before you can make progress on your research. Being a scientist, you already know how this game works - what we just "know" is the case doesn't cut it, because we could simply be wrong, or we could be misidentifying an effect or cause, or we could be engaging in confirmation bias. If the truth of something has a practical, real-world impact, that impact can be measured and quantified.

    Is it true that bees' guts can't handle solids as well? What do we actually "know"? We know that they can eat solids - pollen is a solid after all; we can feed fondant, dry sugar and dry pollen substitute and if bees need it they will eat it. We also know that bees definitely seem to prefer non-solids when given the choice, so we only tend to offer solids when liquid varieties of the feed are unavailable or impractical. But why don't they prefer solids? Is it because they in fact have internal trouble with the solids, or are there other possible reasons? Consider for instance that bees that take feed bring it into the hive for collection and storage. Perhaps they prefer liquid feed because they can suck up and spit out larger quantities of liquids per-load, while solids must be hand-carried (for lack of a better term), necessarily in smaller grain-sized quantities, making the liquid feed a more efficient resource for them to deal with. What is the evidence for bees having gastro-intestinal difficulties with solids?

    Quote Originally Posted by Maddmax1 View Post
    The reviewers also tell me that protein feeding is not necessary on the ground that honeybees are perfectly happy with sucrose syrup, which not only goes against actual experience, logics and thermodynamics but also against current published experimental evidence (DeGrandi-Hoffman, Alaux etc etc). In other words when the experimental evidence is lacking, it is absolutely required, whereas, when it is available, it is irrelevant. Go figure! They also told me that my 2.0 line-long, vague, incidental statement that varroa plays a role in CCD is false … but I digress!
    Not sure about that last one. Did you include a cite about the varroa? I too was under the impression that the latest scientific research was suggesting that varroa may play a role in CCD because they are a disease vector and stressor for the bees. Of course CCD research is a frontier of sorts and studies are in progress, not too many well completed. I suppose you'll have to either find a cite, or amend your statement to something less declarative - varroa are considered a possible or plausible contributor to CCD by (the USDA, this or that state bee lab, the CCD working group, or whatever, as appropriate) as opposed to simply "varroa contribute".
    Beeless since 2012; coming back in 2014. Suffering from apicultural withdrawal!

  7. #7
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: Honeybee research. Help needed

    this might be a good place to look for info regarding bee nutrition:

    http://scientificbeekeeping.com/

    i would consider a personal communication to randy outlining your ideas for the research project, he's usually pretty good with input about that kind of stuff.
    beekeeping since june 2010, +/- 20 hives, tf

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Honeybee research. Help needed

    Thank you for your input.
    When I said "solids" I meant non-digestible substances such as cellulose, hemi-cellulose, yeast cell walls stuff and the like. Milk doesn't contain such compounds so I hold that it would be a better source of protein. I know that honeybees can use milk as a pollen substitute but it is kept at 2% and at higher concentration the toxic sugar content kicks in. Part of my project would be to prove that -following the proposed experimental procedure, I can increase that amount by at least 10 times. I apologize if I don't give too many details.
    I rephrase and shorten my main question: "What kind of prove are there (if there are) that non-digestible matter in pollen substitute is detrimental to honeybees, particularly when they canno take cleansing flights?"
    Thank you again.
    Maddmax
    Maddmax

  9. #9
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    syracuse n.y.
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    Default Re: Honeybee research. Help needed

    You might want to try the resident expert on Bee source about feeding bees, contact him with an p.m. or email his id is
    Keith Jarrett you can pm him by going to his profile.

    here is link to an article about "stuff" that is not good for bees, any of the compounds you are worried about in the list?
    http://jn.nutrition.org/content/107/10/1859.full.pdf

    ABSTRACT Carbohydrates in some pollen substitutes (galactose, lac
    tose, raffinose, stachyose, glucuronic acid, galacturonic acid, polygalacturonic
    acid, and pectin ) were toxic to caged adult Apis mellifera L. These
    toxins can be diluted to safe levels by sucrose. Collected nectar apparently
    dilutes the toxic sugars in pollen thus permitting assimilation of essential
    nutrients from pollen. J. Nutr. 107: 1859-1862, 1977.
    mike syracuse ny
    I went to bed mean, and woke up meaner. Marshal Dillon

  10. #10
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    New Albany, Ohio, USA
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    Default Re: Honeybee research. Help needed

    Just a couple of thoughts...

    Bees primarily consume protein when they are raising brood. They generally raise brood when the temperatures are warmer, which would allow cleansing flights.

    While milk is a source of protein it does contain a lot of water. How do you propose the bees deal with the excess water if feeding milk during poor weather conditions that do not allow cleansing flights?

    Casein was a common ingredient in some of the earlier pollen supplements.

    Best,
    Joe
    Breeder Queens & Honey Bee Nutritional Supplements
    www.latshawapiaries.com

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Honeybee research. Help needed

    I would add dry milk to the syrup or to the patties.
    Maddmax

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Honeybee research. Help needed

    American Bee Journal, March 1957:

    http://www.tc.umn.edu/~reute001/pdf-...Haydak%201.pdf
    Article on pollen sub with milk powder as a significant component.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Honeybee research. Help needed

    It does certainly sound like a fascinating idea. I hope you are able to clear up the problems and get your research project underway.
    Beeless since 2012; coming back in 2014. Suffering from apicultural withdrawal!

  14. #14
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    New Albany, Ohio, USA
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    Default Re: Honeybee research. Help needed

    I have not calculated the numbers on this, so I am just thinking out loud on this one.

    Why not use one of the isolates such a soy or corn and make a solution that way? Powdered milk is in the upper 30's for percent protein. Soy or corn isolates are in the 70% plus range. Egg products are also a good protein source, but can be cost prohibitive as I suspect milk might be too.

    Joe
    Last edited by JSL; 12-09-2013 at 04:50 PM.
    Breeder Queens & Honey Bee Nutritional Supplements
    www.latshawapiaries.com

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Honeybee research. Help needed

    Soy flour has 15% fiber and 6% ashes (which is what I am trying to find if it's good or not) and corn protein content is qualitatively poor. It is particularly deficient in lysine and tryptophane. Thanks for the link.
    Maddmax

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Honeybee research. Help needed

    I recently fermented a milk and syrup feed with lactic acid bacteria (LAB) and fed it to my bees.

    All that I can say is that it didn't kill them.

    Since LAB are a main component of the Honeybee gut, I felt that it would be 'probiotic'.

    (I was also able to use honey, which contains LAB, to ferment milk.)

    So, I probably improved the nutritional content of the mix by growing LAB in it.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Honeybee research. Help needed

    The ingenuity of the out-of –the –beaten-path beekeepers never ceases to amaze me. My whole idea is very similar … just a little “geekier”
    Maddmax

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Honeybee research. Help needed

    Quote Originally Posted by Maddmax1 View Post
    I rephrase and shorten my main question: "What kind of pro[of is] there (if there [is any]) that non-digestible matter in pollen substitute is detrimental to honeybees, particularly when they canno[t] take cleansing flights?"
    Thank you again.
    Maddmax
    Maddmax
    Good question. I bet there have been studies on such things. Have you talked directly to the folks who study bees at the level you are interested in? I'm sure someone could come up w/ a list. I'm not sure if Dennis van Engelsdorp is the right person, but he would know who is. Dr. Larry Connor could steer you in the right direction. Or Dr. Jerry Bromenshenk from Montana.
    Mark Berninghausen "Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board." Zora Neale Hurston

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Honeybee research. Help needed

    Quote Originally Posted by Maddmax1 View Post
    I would add dry milk to the syrup or to the patties.
    Maddmax
    Cost factor the difference between dry milk and other sources, such as soy, and you may see something interesting too. Is milk economical used in the way at which you are looking.
    Mark Berninghausen "Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board." Zora Neale Hurston

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