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FAT BEES SKINNY BEES-a manual on honey bee nutrition for beekeepersA report for the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation By Doug Somerville Livestock Officer (Apiculture) NSW Department of Primary Industries Goulburn RIRDC Publication No 05/054 RIRDC Project No DAN-186A

2005 Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation. All rights reserved.

ISBN 1 74151 152 6 ISSN 1440-6845 Fat Bees Skinny Bees - a manual on honey bee nutrition for beekeepers Publication No. 05/054 Project No. DAN-186A The information contained in this publication is intended for general use to assist public knowledge and discussion and to help improve the development of sustainable industries. The information should not be relied upon for the purpose of a particular matter. Specialist and/or appropriate legal advice should be obtained before any action or decision is taken on the basis of any material in this document. The Commonwealth of Australia, Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, the authors or contributors do not assume liability of any kind whatsoever resulting from any person's use or reliance upon the content of this document. This publication is copyright. However, RIRDC encourages wide dissemination of its research, providing the Corporation is clearly acknowledged. For any other enquiries concerning reproduction, contact the Publications Manager on phone 02 6272 3186.

Researcher Contact Details Doug Somerville Livestock Officer (Apiculture) NSW Department of Primary Industries PO Box 389 GOULBURN NSW 2580 Phone: 02 4828 6619 Fax: 02 4822 3261 Email: doug.somerville@agric.nsw.gov.au In submitting this report, the researcher has agreed to RIRDC publishing this material in its edited form. RIRDC Contact Details Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation Level 1, AMA House 42 Macquarie Street BARTON ACT 2600 PO Box 4776 KINGSTON ACT 2604 Phone: 02 6272 4819 Fax: 02 6272 5877 Email: rirdc@rirdc.gov.au. Website: http://www.rirdc.gov.au

Published in May 2005 Printed on environmentally friendly paper by Union Offset

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FOREWORDHoney bee nutrition is very much a developing area of research within the beekeeping industry. Australian researchers have, for a number of decades, significantly added to our knowledge on the subject. Despite this, the bulk of the information is not readily available to the beekeeping industry. To address this short fall in information, RIRDC has funded a publication that will prove beekeeper friendly, drawing together relevant research on the subject of honey bee nutrition. There is more information on the chemical composition of Australian honey beecollected pollens than in any other country. Most of this work was funded by RIRDC or previous funding organisations supported by the beekeeping industry. This information has become difficult to access, thus the amalgamation of the relevant data in Chapter 6 is pleasing. What makes this publication unique is its relevance to Australian beekeeping. The 44 case studies of beekeepers are of particular interest as they demonstrate what is being practised by commercial beekeepers in their attempt to maintain a viable beekeeping business. This publication should have a wide readership within all levels of the beekeeping industry. This project was funded from industry revenue which is matched by funds provided by the Australian Government. This report is an addition to RIRDCs diverse range of over 1200 research publications and forms part of our honeybee R&D program, which aims to improve the productivity and profitability of the Australian beekeeping industry. Most of our publications are available for viewing, downloading or purchasing online through our website: Downloads at www.rirdc.gov.au/reports/Index.htm Purchases at www.rirdc.gov.au/eshop

Peter OBrien Managing Director Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTSGraham Kleinschmidt, for inspiration to produce this publication. The Honeybee Program RIRDC for funding the project and having the patience to see it finished. Joanne Ottaway, Clerical Officer, NSW Department of Primary Industries, Goulburn, for the hard work of reading my writing, typing the manuscript and assisting in the layout Rob Manning, (WA Agriculture); John Rhodes, (NSW DPI); Des Cannon, (Honeybee Program RIRDC) for reviewing an early draft. Annette Somerville, for proof reading and editing manuscript. Will Tiswell, Hyfeed, Toowoomba, Queensland for providing information on soy flour. Interviewees: Western Australia: John Davies, Peter Detchon, Harry East, Colin Fleay, Ron Jasper, Rod Pavy, Bob Power, Steve Richards South Australia: Leigh Duffield, John Fuss, Geoff Smith, Graham Wagenfeller Tasmania: Ken Jones, Bill Oosting, Col Parker, Ian Stephens, Julian Wolfehagen Victoria: Kevin and Glen Emmins, Ken Gell, Ian Oakley, Ray Phillips, Craig Scott New South Wales: Trevor Billett, Rosemary Doherty, Dave Fisher, Wayne Fuller, Warren Jones, Monte Klingner, Dayl Knight, Keith McIlvride, Greg Mulder, Mike Nelson, Harold Saxvik, John and Kieren Sunderland, Fred Taylor, Warren Taylor, Bruce White, Col Wilson Queensland: Don Keith, Ken Olley, Rod Palmer, David Stevens New Zealand: John Berry, Wouter Hyink

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CONTENTS

Page

Foreword ........................................................................................................................ iii Acknowledgements ........................................................................................................ iv Executive Summary....................................................................................................... vii 1. Introduction .............................................................................................................1 Nectar Pollen: .............................................................................................................3 - Chemical composition........................................................................4 - Protein ...............................................................................................4 - Amino acids .......................................................................................5 - Fat......................................................................................................6 - Minerals .............................................................................................7 - Vitamins .............................................................................................8

2. Nutrition Management ............................................................................................9 Lack of nectar/honey...........................................................................................9 - Winter requirements...........................................................................9 - Drought management ......................................................................11 Lack of pollen....................................................................................................11 Pollination .........................................................................................................13 Queen rearing ...................................................................................................15 3. Sugar Supplements ..........................................................................................18 Preparation .......................................................................................................19 Frequency of feeding sugar ..............................................................................20 Sugar feeders ...................................................................................................21 - Frame feeders..................................................................................21 - Bottle or tin feeders..........................................................................22 - Bucket feeders .................................................................................23 - Tray feeders.....................................................................................24 - Plastic bags......................................................................................25 - Open feeders ...................................................................................25 - Other devices...................................................................................26 Pests ...........................................................................................................26 Sugar versus alternatives .................................................................................26 - Detrimental sugars...........................................................................27 4. Pollen Supplements/Substitutes .....................................................................28 When to feed.....................................................................................................28 Pollen ...........................................................................................................29 Bee bread .........................................................................................................30 Choice of ingredients ........................................................................................30 - Soy flour...........................................................................................31 Recipes ...........................................................................................................32 Making/Mixing ...................................................................................................33 v

Feeding/Placement of supplement....................................................................34 History ..............................................................

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