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Honey bee colony feeding trials were conducted to determine whether differential effects of carbohydrate feeding (sucrose syrup (SS) vs. high fructose corn syrup, or HFCS) could be measured between colonies fed exclusively on these syrups. In one experiment, there was a significant difference in mean wax production between the treatment groups and a significant interaction between time and treatment for the colonies confined in a flight arena. On average, the colonies supplied with SS built 7916.7 cm2 ± 1015.25 cm2 honeycomb, while the colonies supplied with HFCS built 4571.63 cm2 ± 786.45 cm2. The mean mass of bees supplied with HFCS was 4.65 kg (± 0.97 kg), while those supplied with sucrose had a mean of 8.27 kg (± 1.26). There was no significant difference between treatment groups in terms of brood rearing. Differences in brood production were complicated due to possible nutritional deficiencies experienced by both treatment groups. In the second experiment, colonies supplemented with SS through the winter months at a remote field site exhibited increased spring brood production when compared to colonies fed with HFCS. The differences in adult bee populations were significant, having an overall average of 10.0 ± 1.3 frames of bees fed the sucrose syrup between November 2008 and April 2009, compared to 7.5 ± 1.6 frames of bees fed exclusively on HFCS. For commercial queen beekeepers, feeding the right supplementary carbohydrates could be especially important, given the findings of this study.
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