2 November 2018 Effects of Supplemental Pollen Feeding on Honey Bee (Hymenoptera: Apidae) Colony Strength and Nosema spp. Infection
Ashley N. Mortensen, Cameron J. Jack, Tomas A. Bustamante, Daniel R. Schmehl, James D. Ellis
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Abstract

Beekeepers commonly supplement honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) colonies' nutrition with commercial pollen and nectar substitutes in an effort to encourage growth and reduce colony losses. However, there is a broad lack of understanding regarding the extent to which supplemental protein feeding affects honey bee colony health. We conducted a field study to determine if feeding protein substitutes affected colony strength and Nosema spp. spore intensity in commercially managed honey bee colonies. Seventy-five honey bee colonies were randomly assigned to one of six treatments (no supplemental protein, one of four commercially available protein supplements, or wildflower pollen supplement).The number of adult bees, the number of capped brood cells, and Nosema intensity were assessed prior to-, 4 wk post-, and 8 wk post-treatment. There was an overall decrease in Nosema intensity across all treatments over time. However, there were no statistically detectable differences in colony strength or Nosema intensity between any of the pollen feeding treatments and those of the negative control treatment. Thus far, multiple investigations regarding supplemental protein feeding have failed to provide a clear consensus on the impact that this practice has on honey bee colony strength or productivity. Additional research is needed to determine the impact, if any, that diet supplementation, including microbial and nutritional supplements, has on colony health, to better inform beekeepers' management decisions.

© The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Entomological Society of America. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.
Ashley N. Mortensen, Cameron J. Jack, Tomas A. Bustamante, Daniel R. Schmehl, and James D. Ellis "Effects of Supplemental Pollen Feeding on Honey Bee (Hymenoptera: Apidae) Colony Strength and Nosema spp. Infection," Journal of Economic Entomology 112(1), 60-66, (2 November 2018). https://doi.org/10.1093/jee/toy341
Received: 1 July 2018; Accepted: 27 September 2018; Published: 2 November 2018
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KEYWORDS
colony strength
honey bee
Nosema
pollen
supplement
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