Best Management Practices for Nutrition
Honey bees require food as an energy source.
Why is nutrition important to Honey Bees?
Vigorous well-nourished colonies are able to withstand bee diseases and parasites better than poorly nourished colonies. Scientists have emphasized that malnutrition may be playing a key role in the decline of colonies due to Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). Honey bees can suffer from a compromised immune system related to poor nutrition.
- Healthy bees require a diversity of natural pollen.
- Placing bees on locations with abundant and diverse floral resources will help them stay healthy.
- Locations vary in their carrying capacity, and experience will suggest optimum densities.
- Placing too many bees in one location will result in inadequate floral resources, robbing, drifting and the spread of bee diseases and parasites.
- Forage can be limited in late summer and fall. When floral sources are inadequate, feeding bees sugar syrup and pollen substitutes can improve colony survival and performance.
- Supplemental feeding is critical to build bees for early almond pollination by February 1st.
- Provide protein pollen patties.
- Pollen substitutes should have three (3) essential properties:
1. Consumable - honey bees should be readily able to eat and consume the supplemental feed;
2. Absorbable - honey bees should be able to digest and absorb the supplemental feed, and;
3. Nutritious - it should contain the necessary and vital ingredients for honey bee health.
- Place pollen patties between brood boxes or on top of hive frames.
- It is critical to provide supplemental feed when colonies arrive for almond pollination; dearth is a factor prior to and
- Provide plentiful and abundant water.
- Pesticides, fungicides and fertilizers may drift into water sources; locate colonies near accessible clean water.
- Drought causes honey bee stress. Work with your grower on identifying a potable water source for bees to avoid
The Beekeeper's Goal
- Provide bees a diversity of natural pollen.
- When possible, locate natural forage for your bees.
- Fall is a critical time to build bees for almond pollination.
- Provide supplemental feed, especially protein, to build strong, 8-frame colonies by February 1st.
- Water is just as important as food; keep your bees well-hydrated with clean water.