The use of a within-hive replication bioassay method to investigate the phagostimulatory effects of pollen, bee bread and pollen extracts, on free-flying honey bee colonies
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A method for conducting multiple-choice bioassays, incorporating within-hive replication, is described and demonstrated here. This method has been used to study the influence of phagostimulants in pollens on food uptake within honey bee colonies. Experiments using bee-collected trapped pollens and a sample of stored bee bread suggest that there is little or no difference in the preference of bees towards fresh pollen or bee bread. Further work using solvent extracts of pollen showed that phagostimulants are easily extractable in sufficient quantities to increase the consumption of artificial diet in field-based colonies, despite alternative natural forage being available. Data indicate that the addition of polar solvent extracts of pollen increases diet consumption more than less polar extracts. Isolating and identifying phagostimulants could contribute towards production of a range of more palatable artificial diets than those currently available.
KeywordsApis mellifera phagostimulant diet feeding forage
This research was supported by the Perry Foundation and the British Beekeepers Association (BBKA). We thank David Buckley for the loan of his colonies and practical beekeeping support, and David Aston and Pam Hunter of the BBKA Technical Committee for their specialist advice.
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