Industry Development Grant_Madlen Kratz

(DPI) The Crown in right of the State of New South Wales acting through the Department of Primary Industries within Regional NSW

  • Project code: PRJ-012975

  • Project stage: Closed

  • Project start date: Wednesday, October 28, 2020

  • Project completion date: Friday, October 15, 2021

  • National Priority: HBE-Improve understanding of nutrition best practice and disease interaction


Beekeepers are unsure about how effective supplementary feeding is.
In times of pollen dearth from drought and severe bushfire affected areas such as from the
2019/2020 bushfire crisis, beekeepers may have no choice than to supplementary feed to
keep their hives alive. Supplementary feeding over prolonged periods of time can be time
consuming, costly and ineffective if done incorrectly. In Australia, supplementary feeding
has not been a standard practice and the effectiveness and economics of supplementary
feeding are consequently questioned by beekeepers.
Currently there are several pollen supplements available on the market, which have not
been tested by a neutral party. I am proposing a small field-based experiment examining
the palatability and utilisation of currently available supplementary feeds. The focus of this study is to test the palatability of supplementary feeds and to inform beekeepers about how
well honey bees utilise the feeds from a cost benefit perspective.


Honey Bee

Research Organisation

(DPI) The Crown in right of the State of New South Wales acting through the Department of Primary Industries within Regional NSW

Objective Summary

1. Depending on the palatability of various supplementary feeds, honey bees will
preferentially chose one feed over another.
2. If a feed source is palatable, then honey bees will either consume and or store the feed. If
the feed is unpalatable, honey bees will dispose of it or disregard it.
Design and methods:
The experiment will involve 10 experimental hives (single 8 frame boxes) of equal strength
and 5 nucleus hives as a back-up. The hives will be set up with sister queens to keep the
genetics as similar as possible and colonies will have access to patties inside the hive made
from commercially available feeds to test for feed preference. The utilisation of the various
feeds, including an unpalatable feed as a negative control, will be tested through:
1. Visual observations of feed storage
2. A protocol for dying individual feeds with food colouring will be tested to track the feed
through consumption, storage or disposal