Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: IMPROVE NUTRITION FOR HONEY BEE COLONIES TO STIMULATE POPULATION GROWTH, INCREASE QUEEN QUALITY, AND REDUCE THE IMPACT OF VARROA MITES

Location: Honey Bee Research

Title: Comparison of productivity of colonies of honey bees, Apis mellifera, supplemented with sucrose or high fructose corn syrup

Authors
item Sammataro, Diana
item Weiss, Milagra -

Submitted to: Journal of Insect Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: February 17, 2012
Publication Date: March 16, 2013
Citation: Sammataro, D., Weiss, M. 2013. Comparison of productivity of colonies of honey bees, Apis mellifera, supplemented with sucrose or high fructose corn syrup. Journal of Insect Science. 13:19.

Interpretive Summary: Honey bee colony feeding trials were conducted to determine whether differential effects of carbohydrate feeding (sucrose syrup vs. high fructose corn syrups) could be detected between colonies fed exclusively on these syrups. In one experiment, colonies installed within a closed arena had increased wax production (F 1,6 = 6.850, p = 0.040). On average, the colonies supplied with HFCS built 566.88 in sq. of honeycomb (plus or minus 97.666 in sq.), while the colonies supplied with sucrose built 981.73 in sq. (plus or minus 125.312 in sq.). Mean mass of colonies supplied with HFCS was 4.65 kg (plus or minus 0.95 kg) while those supplied with sucrose had a mean of 8.27 kg (plus or minus 1.224). Differences in brood production were complicated due to a possible nutritional or microbial deficiencies experienced by both treatment groups. In the second experiment, colonies supplemented with sucrose syrup through the winter months at a remote field site, exhibited increased spring brood production when compared to colonies fed with HFCS (F 1,8 = 5.693, p = 0.044). However, the adult bee population trended towards significant (F 1,8 = 5.011, p = 0.056) with an overall average of 9.95 frames of bees fed the sucrose syrup between November 2008, and April 2009 compared to 7.5 frames of bees fed exclusively on HFCS. Though sucrose syrup shows a high longevity advantage over HFCS in laboratory bioassays, the increase in field productivity was not as pronounced.

Technical Abstract: Honey bee colony feeding trials were conducted to determine whether differential effects of carbohydrate feeding (sucrose syrup vs. high fructose corn syrups) were detected between colonies fed exclusively on these syrups. In one experiment, colonies installed within a closed arena had increased production (F 1,6 = 6.850, p = 0.040). Differences in brood production were complicated due to a possible nutritional or microbial deficiency experienced by both treatment groups. In the second experiment, colonies supplemented with sucrose syrup through the winter months at a remote field site, exhibited increased spring brood production when compared to colonies fed with HFCS (F 1,8 = 5.693, p = 0.044). Though sucrose syrup shows a high longevity advantage over HFCS in laboratory bioassays, the increase in field productivity was not as pronounced.

Last Modified: 8/22/2014