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An Energy Shake for Honeybees


									                                          An Energy Shake
                                          for Honeybees
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
                                                                                   to pollinate.
                                                                                                          continued next page >>

                                                                                                                                   sbir_impact_037_08_25_08_beeshake.pdf, pg. 1/2 | CSREES Communications Staff

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,

                                                                                                                             sbir_impact_037_08_25_08_beeshake.pdf, pg. 2/2 | CSREES Communications Staff

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