Bee Scientifics

Learning From The Best

We are heading to the United States in a few weeks on an exciting adventure to learn how to breed Varroa tolerant bees from some of the most successful projects in the world. We will bring all our learning back to Australia and start creating the framework to tackle Varroa even before it arrives! This work is proudly supported by the International Specialised Skills Institute Agribusiness fellowship, the Victorian Honey Bee Compensation and Industry Development Fund and Bee Build.

We will first travel to Hawaii to learn about Varroa Sensitive Hygiene (VSH) breeding in a commercial apiary supported by the Arista Bee Research Foundation and the United States Department of Agriculture. We will then visit Sue Cobey in Washington State to better understand the intricacies of incorporating imported stock into a breeding program.

From Washington we head to the Honey Bee Breeding, Genetics, and Physiology Lab in Baton Rouge Louisiana to learn first hand by helping out with VSH trait identification and stock selection in the VSH and Pol-line lines of bees.

Our last two stops are Purdue University in Indiana to better understand selection for its mite biter bees, and then to visit the West Central Ohio Beekeepers Association to learn about collaborative breeding from “survivor stock”.

The project is titled “Development of Varroa tolerance selection methods tailored for the benefit of Victorian (and Australia wide) beekeepers and the honey bee industry”

We will be keeping our blog posts updated so keep in touch!!

Winter Feeding

Winter has finally arrived here in central Victoria. Hopefully all this rain will make for excellent spring forage. During winter bees hunker in their hives and feed off the stored honey and bee bread. In much of Australia temperatures are warm enough to supplemental feed if stores fall short.

Sugar provides carbohydrates necessary to give bees fuel to keep the brood nest warm while pollen supplement keeps protein levels of nurse bees up. Protein, fats, and amino acids help immune function of adult bees and also help sustain brood food glands of nurse bees. Fat healthy nurse bees and a warm brood nest enable brood production through out winter.

Bees and plants enter into their expansion phase when daylight begins to increase after the winter solstice (June 22, 2019). If the right amount of carbohydrates and proteins are available, colonies will begin to grow instead of just maintain or even shrink.

In the United States, feeding a pollen patty during the warm days of late winter is common practice in both hobby and commercial beekeeping operations. This early feeding encourages colony growth and health.

To support bees and beekeeper, we developed a winter patty out of our bee build sausage base mix. We added extra sugar, fats, and oils to our bee build sausage mix to support the health of overwintering bees.

These pollen patties are individually wrapped and easy to feed. Simply score the grease paper and place on top of the top bars of the brood nest. Keep the pollen patty accessible to nurse bees to promote colony growth or to emergency feed in your bees run out of stores.