|GREGORC, ALES - Mississippi State University|
|KNIGHT, PATRICIA - Mississippi State University|
Submitted to: Journal of Apicultural Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/30/2019
Publication Date: 5/28/2019
Citation: Gregorc, A., Sampson, B.J., Knight, P., Adamczyk Jr, J.J. 2019. Diet quality effects on honey bee (Hymenoptera: Apidae) mortality in laboratory conditions. Journal of Apicultural Research. 58:4, 492-493. https://doi.org/10.1080/00218839.2019.1614736.
Interpretive Summary: We discovered that a simple sugar diet instead of a more protein-rich diet extends the lifespan of worker honey bees kept under captive laboratory conditions. Feeding worker bees sugar-rich ‘Pro Winter patty’ or 5% bee bread in the Pro Winter patty promoted the longest bee survival. However, adding 5% or more protein increased bee mortality. Our data indicates that diets with protein (P)-to-carbohydrate (C) ratios of 1:9 to 1:1 significantly reduce bee longevity. Diets with equal parts sugar and protein (1:1 ratio) induced 100% bee mortality within 9 days. The optimal diet for sustaining captive honey bees for pesticide testing should consist primarily of sugars, preferably sucrose, with P:C ratios of 1:20 or smaller.
Technical Abstract: Poor food quality is likely to be detrimental to the lifespan of Apis mellifera. The objective of this study was to evaluate comparatively the effects of a mainly carbohydrate substitute (‘Pro Winter patty), a pollen substitute (Ultra Bee Dry) (both Mann Lake Ltd. products), and bee bread produced by the bees on worker longevity. Sugar ‘Pro Winter patty’ ensured the longest bee survival, similar to that with the addition of 5% bee bread, whereas adding 5% or higher Ultra Bee Dry increased bee mortality. Our data indicates that diets with protein (P)-to-carbohydrate (C) ratios of 1:9 to 1:1 increase worker mortality significantly, and in the case of the latter, to 100% mortality. When designing bioassays intended to test longevity of individual adult bees, the diet best used to deliver treatments should be those primarily composed of sugars, preferably sucrose, with P:C ratios of 1:20 or smaller.