An Energy Shake
by Stacy Kish, CSREES With funding from USDA’s Cooperative of crop might have led to nutritional
State Research, Education, and deficiencies within honeybee
Extension Service (CSREES), populations.
Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) Gordon Wardell, president of SAFE An independent study completed
is responsible for the 40 to 60 R&D, LLC., and his research partner in 2007 compared the effectiveness
percent decline in America’s Fabiana Ahumada-Segura developed and efficiency of MegaBeeTM to
population of honeybee MegaBeeTM, a nutritional supplement conventional sugar syrup. The study
whose pollination is valued for honeybees. MegaBeeTM contains found that brood production rates
protein, lipids, balanced amino acids in honeybees consuming the
at $15 billion annually to U.S.
and other nutrients that support MegaBeeTM supplement tripled.
agriculture. Researchers are
healthy hive development. In addition, colonies fed MegaBeeTM
trying a new approach to this
The pair believed that a severely retained 30 percent more adult bees,
problem – a bee smoothie – restricted diet, brought on by the more efficiently converted food to
to improve honeybee health policy of commercial beekeepers the brood, had greater adult bee
by improving their diet. >> to limit a hive’s range to one type populations, and were better able
continued next page >>
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Right: Bees enjoying a MegaBeeTM snack.
Credit: Stephen McDaniel
>> continued from previous page
MegaBeeTM mimics the natural texture
and consistency of pollen and is
readily consumed by honeybees.
The product is supplied to the
beekeeper as a powder, which can
be fed to the bees in moist cakes
that resemble cookie dough or as
a liquid that resembles a smoothie.
“It’s a very nutritional diet for
the bees,” said Wade Fisher, a third-
Above: Bees on a MegaBeeTM supplement generation commercial pollinator
patty in the research colony.
who recently began using the MegaBeeTM is produced and marketed
Credit: Gordon Wardell
supplement in Florida and several by Yuma, Ariz.-based Castle Dome
New England states. Solutions, LLC, in partnership with
Climate change is forcing earlier Hamilton, Ill.-based Dadant and Sons,
than normal floral bloom in many Inc. as a product for commercial and
plants, including domesticated plants hobbyist beekeepers. Castle Dome
of agricultural significance. This change started manufacturing MegaBeeTM in
of floral cycle significantly affects the September 2007.
bees. In addition, several important CSREES funded this research
agricultural crops, like almonds, project through the Small Business
naturally bloom in the middle of Innovation Research (SBIR) program.
winter. Colonies must be woken Through federal funding and leadership
up early to do an adequate job of for research, education and extension
pollinating these early season crops. programs, CSREES focuses on investing
“Supplemental food for our bees in science and solving critical issues
is not just recommended today, it’s impacting people’s daily lives and the
mandatory,” Wardell said. nation’s future. For more information,
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