The effects of a nutritional supplement on honey bee brood production

    Author Name(s)

    John Duarte

    Faculty Advisor(s)

    Ruben Alarcon

    Abstract

    Since 2014, Ventura County beekeepers have been struggling to keep their colonies alive following the introduction of an unknown pathogen by a migratory beekeeper. In about four weeks, colonies infected with this pathogen can succumb to the disease because the queen stops laying eggs and much of the brood fail to develop into adults. In an effort to keep their colonies alive, local beekeepers developed a nutritional supplement that appears to help in overcoming the infection. During the fall of 2020, we studied 24 colonies from an infected apiary to quantify the effects of the nutritional supplement on brood production. We fed half of the colonies the nutritional supplement diluted in sugar syrup for four weeks, while the control colonies were fed only the sugar syrup. At two-week intervals, we photographed two marked frames from the central brood chamber from each colony. Later we quantified the number of capped cells (pupae) and measured the size of brood area for each colony from the photos. We found no significant difference in the number of capped cells or the size of the brood area between the initial survey and two weeks later, however the images from the final sampling date still need to be evaluated. It is possible that the effects of the nutritional supplement will not be evident until four weeks, or that perhaps the low sample size prevented us from detecting a difference. This study will be repeated with a larger sample size when more colonies become available.

    Presentation

    Poster

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