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There is an ever increasing number of bee nutrition products on the market all reporting to be the best for your hive.

 

One I have been interested in for a while is adding a seaweed extract to syrup. There is an Irish made product Hive Alive which has various other additives and is very popular.

Also various home brew versions of it.

 

Agrisea here in NZ have rebranded their Animal tonic and it is used as an additive to syrup. I have used this and saw no negative effects on the bees, in fact they did better in this apiary than another. Too many variables to draw a result based on a single feed though.

 

I am trialing another Seaweed concentrate and to date the bees appear to be doing well on it. Again nothing scientific apart from CMEA tests "Critical Multiple Eyetometer Analyses"

 

What are your thoughts on these products and benifits or lack of?

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Hi there I'm Wayne from Agrisea. I just wanted to clarify a few things regarding our Bee Nutrition product. We do have all 10 of the Amino Acids required for bee health for some reason they were mi

Thank you for trialling this stuff .

I see it advertised all the time and I am curious about it too.

Was.it around much 10 years ago or are these products fairly new.

Have beeks always.been using supplements, but self made.

But now there are lots of commercially manufactured products ?

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We have talked about HiveAlive before. HiveAlive contains an unspecified amount of thymol, in addition to the Trade-marked 'Oceashield' seaweeds. As they don't say what their ingredients are I'm not prepared to comment on its use or use it, other than to say the thymol may have some benefit by reducing gut parasites (think 'Lotmaria'), and that providing a sugar feed is often helpful. I think @api mania 's comments are probably on the money.

HiveAlive- feed for bees

 

By co-incidence I met a rep. for ArgiSea on Sunday who was at a bee meeting to promote the product. I have now had a chance to review the listed ingredients for the ArgiSea product. I see that of the ten essential amino acids that adult bees require it contains three, and of the additional four you would need to supply to larvae there is one, so four out of a possible fourteen. Because they are not in the right ratios bees may not utilise the ones that are present effectively.

 

The important minerals appear to be there (given that we don't know what they should be). Both Sodium and Potasium are at much higher levels than would normally be found in pollen and more than has been suggested, but I can't say if they are present at a toxic level. There is a small amount of the sugar mannitol present.

 

Of the Vitamins, Vitamin A and the Vitamin Bs are likely to be useful, but three essential vitamins, B6, B8, and Vitamin K are missing. Vitamins C and E are not required.

 

There are no lipids (fats/oil) at all declared. At least two (including cholesterol) are essential.

 

To justify the benefits I was recommended the study by De Groot (1953). I'm already familiar with that, and actually if you're interested in reading a bit more I suggest Haydak (1970) and Brodschneider (2010). Both are not difficult reads. I think it's fair to say we know very little about bee's nutritional requirements so any attempt to supplement them is a bit of a guess, but I'm not against trying.

 

De Groot A.P. (1953) Protein and amino acid requirements of the honeybee (Apis mellifica L.), Physiol. Comp. Oecol. 3, 197–285.

Haydak M.H. (1970) Honey bee nutrition, Ann. Rev. Entomol. 15, 143–156.

Brodschneider, R., Crailsheim. K. (2010) Nutrition and health in honey bees. Apidologie, 41 (3), doi 10.1051/apido/2010012.

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Just found this on a English bee club site, made me laugh so thought I would share.

 

My beekeeping buddy was feeding syrup to his bees. As I watched him hunched over his hive, white-hooded, puffing smoke everywhere and muttering incantations, something occurred to me.

 

“I reckon beecraft and witchcraft have a lot in common,” I opined.

 

“In common?” he responded, but he wasn’t listening.

 

“Well, look at us,” I continued. “It’s as if Hogwarts were hosting a meeting of the Ku Klux Klan.”

 

I could just make out through the fug that he was looking at me askance, hive tool held aloft like Merlin’s wand.

 

“What,” he said slowly, “are you going on about?”

 

“Beecraft and witchcraft,” I explained. “Just think about it: The hooded outfits, incense burning, mumbo-jumbo, meetings of our coven on winter nights in the grounds of All Saints church ... and the magic potions.”

 

“Potions?” he repeated. His echolalia is getting worse.

 

“Yes,” I continued. “Witches favour ‘eye of newt and toe of frog, wool of bat and tongue of dog’ but beekeepers seem to prefer ‘head of fish, spit of walrus, oil of lemongrass and extract of thymus’.”

 

There was a long pause and I began to feel uncomfortable because I wasn’t really confident about the fish heads and walrus spit. It could just as well be barnacle brains and jellyfish, but it is hard to be sure because all the manufacturer of a HiveAlive reveals about its ‘key ingredient’ is that it is a combination of marine bio-extracts.

 

“Are you suggesting that I’m feeding my bees some sort of witches brew?” he challenged.

 

This was going to be tricky so I decided to proceed with caution. “No...,” I replied, “but haven’t you ever wondered about that witches brew in Macbeth? I mean, why all the weird ingredients, and why are they so vague about the quantities? Would that magic potion still work without the newt’s eye for example, or would it be better if they put in two? ”

 

“It’s just a story,” he replied. “Witches potions don’t really work magic. They put all that stuff in just to impress us.”

 

“Like anti-wrinkle creams,” I suggested. “They always seem to contain microsomes and co-enzymes and other whacky things.”

 

“I wouldn’t know,” he said somewhat defensively, “but I take your point. None of that stuff actually works.”

 

I detected a trace of bitterness in that last remark and resolved to discretely take a closer look at him when the veils were off.

 

“Well the fish heads might work,” I said reassuringly. “It really depends on whether you think your bees are deficient in marine bio-extracts. After all it says here on the bottle that HiveAlive is ‘A

 

Nutritional Supplement’, so presumably you’ve worked out that what your bees need to perk them up is a shot of whelk wee and isopropyl-methyl-phenol.”

 

“I saw what?” he queried.

 

“Sorry, it’s just a posh word thymol, I explained. “ They make it by mashing plants up with sodium hydroxide, and then they pour hydrochloric acid on the gloop and out pop these crystals. But because they aren’t pure and are insoluble in water they have to dissolve them in a various solvents first before you can serve it up to your bees. It’s entirely natural apparently.”

 

“Well I don’t think my bees are deficient in thymol,” he said, “or marine bio-extracts. I’m trying to stop my bees from getting nosema. The advertisement says HiveAlive is an alternative to Fumidil B.”

 

“So ... it’s not really a nutritional supplement,” I mused. “But surely they aren’t recommending HiveAlive for treating or preventing nosema because that would be a medicinal claim which means it should be licensed as a veterinary medicine.” i

 

“Dunno about that,” he replied airily, “But It cost me seventeen quid so it had better work.”

 

Something smelt fishy, and it wasn’t just the marine bio-extracts. I decided to investigate further.

 

It turns out that there are no controlled studies on HiveAlive to support its claim to be an alternative to Fumidil B. Neither are there data showing that it ‘strengthens’ bees against nosema.

 

Instead, the manufacturer’s website makes reference to work by others who have investigated the properties of thymol and its effects on nosema. These lab-based studies and a 3-year field studyii suggest that thymol may indeed show some activity. However, because the dosage, product formulation, method of administration, timing and duration of treatment all varied, it’s impossible to extrapolate these findings to HiveAlive.

 

So what about those marine bio-extracts? Well, despite being a ‘key ingredient’ no data are provided to support the assertion that they have ‘scientifically validated anti-microbial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties’. Indeed an advertisement for HiveAliveiii states that efficacy is still to be verified, and their academic collaborator has also confirmed to me that she has yet to generate statistically significant results.iv

 

This is probably just as well because if these compounds were shown to be active they would fall within the scope of the Biocidal Products Directivev and require formal testing and authorisation.

 

Thymol, on the other hand, is an established and potent biocide. Traditionally a concentration of around 70ppm prevents sugar syrup from going mouldy. vi

 

However, thymol seems to be unstable in water with a dissipation time (DT 50) of 16 daysvii so without formal stability studies it impossible to say whether an adequate concentration of thymol is maintained over time, especially if beekeepers make up and store bulk stock solutions.

 

Nevertheless, if you must feed your bees adding 70ppm thymol to the syrup might make sense, and because solubilising thymol in water is a bit tricky, a readymade solution might seem more convenient, albeit expensive.

 

But here’s the rub. True to witchcraft tradition, the manufacturer assiduously avoids mentioning the concentration of thymol in HiveAlive, thus implying everything, but potentially delivering nothing.

 

So was my bee buddy feeding his bees a witches brew? Well he was plying them with indeterminate quantities of thymol and unspecified marine substances for an unlicensed indication. However, there were no newt’s eyes.

 

And will the concoction prevent or treat nosema?

 

Oh yes! But only if he says the magic words.....

 

Its “hocus pocus!”

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'tonic' is a strange word. It insinuates that it fixes something, or promotes better health. The question is 'what does it fix' and how is better health measured, and compared to what ? :what:

 

I don't know if it works if not. They certainly sell plenty

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Just found this on a English bee club site, made me laugh so thought I would share.

...

Its “hocus pocus!”

Now that's what I call a good post, "its all fact and scientifically based". Love it.

 

Wonder why all this nonsense has become so popular ?

 

Desperation ?

 

What would the answers be ? And I would suggest that hobby bee keepers stay well away, and use the basic principles of happy and healthy bees.

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We have talked about HiveAlive before. HiveAlive contains an unspecified amount of thymol, in addition to the Trade-marked 'Oceashield' seaweeds. As they don't say what their ingredients are I'm not prepared to comment on its use or use it, other than to say the thymol may have some benefit by reducing gut parasites (think 'Lotmaria'), and that providing a sugar feed is often helpful. I think @api mania 's comments are probably on the money.

HiveAlive- feed for bees

 

By co-incidence I met a rep. for ArgiSea on Sunday who was at a bee meeting to promote the product. I have now had a chance to review the listed ingredients for the ArgiSea product. I see that of the ten essential amino acids that adult bees require it contains three, and of the additional four you would need to supply to larvae there is one, so four out of a possible fourteen. Because they are not in the right ratios bees may not utilise the ones that are present effectively.

 

The important minerals appear to be there (given that we don't know what they should be). Both Sodium and Potasium are at much higher levels than would normally be found in pollen and more than has been suggested, but I can't say if they are present at a toxic level. There is a small amount of the sugar mannitol present.

 

Of the Vitamins, Vitamin A and the Vitamin Bs are likely to be useful, but three essential vitamins, B6, B8, and Vitamin K are missing. Vitamins C and E are not required.

 

There are no lipids (fats/oil) at all declared. At least two (including cholesterol) are essential.

 

To justify the benefits I was recommended the study by De Groot (1953). I'm already familiar with that, and actually if you're interested in reading a bit more I suggest Haydak (1970) and Brodschneider (2010). Both are not difficult reads. I think it's fair to say we know very little about bee's nutritional requirements so any attempt to supplement them is a bit of a guess, but I'm not against trying.

 

De Groot A.P. (1953) Protein and amino acid requirements of the honeybee (Apis mellifica L.), Physiol. Comp. Oecol. 3, 197–285.

Haydak M.H. (1970) Honey bee nutrition, Ann. Rev. Entomol. 15, 143–156.

Brodschneider, R., Crailsheim. K. (2010) Nutrition and health in honey bees. Apidologie, 41 (3), doi 10.1051/apido/2010012.

 

At the meeting, did he say that people were typically using it at 20ml per litre? Such a small amount can't do much good nor much harm and doesn't cost that much. Makes it hard to test or compare. Needs a commercial BK to use a 200litre drum and then report back(?). I think he was saying that when pollen was low in protein that this product was the most helpful and that some BK were using it with protein patties. But exactly what those are is beyond my knowledge and at what ratio the seaweed is fed with patties I didn't hear. But keen to learn what eventually gets concluded. Sounded like the two BK down south had used it for a while. Are they on the forum.

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when pollen was low in protein that this product was the most helpful

Well, not if doesn't contain the amino acids that are needed. The Australians showed in their case the ones often missing or scarce were iso-leucine or valine, and this contains neither. As it's missing two-thirds of the required AAs I don't see it being much help in that respect.

 

did he say that people were typically using it at 20ml per litre?

He did. Just for some idea of scale that's 20,000ppm; mineral requirements will be around 50-200ppm. We are dealing with 'effective doses' that are very small.

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Wonder why all this nonsense has become so popular ?

Because it's likely that it's quite important, but I concede that there may also be some 'alternative' personality types that are a sucker for anything looking like a homeopathic vitamin pill. But none of them will be beekeepers surely?

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Trying to be positive, maybe four out of fourteen is better than none out of fourteen (?). Are there other additives on the market that give the whole lot? Can I ask questions going the other way. Do bees utilise the amino acids to help convert sugar syrup? If they are fed invert, do they still need the amino acids to the same degree? When referring to 50-200ppm, is sugar at the 200ppm end of the spectrum and invert at the 50 end? In respect of protein and pollen, I imagine protein patties provide protein as the name suggests? So, why would you add protein to a protein patty? I'm sorry if these are silly questions, just asking..

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We look for several pollen sources (five or six is a good number), or, when making a protein patty, several protein sources, for example soya flour, and milk powder, and brewer’s yeast and dried egg.

 

Not to mention steak, crayfish, pork chops etc.....

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Hi there I'm Wayne from Agrisea.

I just wanted to clarify a few things regarding our Bee Nutrition product.

We do have all 10 of the Amino Acids required for bee health for some reason

they were missed off the label, we will rectify this asap.

Also two years ago a couple off commercial bee keepers came into our shop and

started using our product and have continued to use it since, they are extremely

happy with how it has worked for them and have been more than happy to spread the word

which in turn has had more bee keepers purchasing our product.

We did not go out actively trying to sell into this industry it found us.

Agrisea are committed to research and presently we are looking at options for this .

Thanks, Wayno

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they were missed off the label, we will rectify this asap.

:oops: That's a rather serious error. Anyway, at least you've published an analysis, which is more than the competitor we were discussing has done. I fail to see why any honest business wouldn't, It's hardly a matter of commercial confidence, the requirements are a matter of public record. Maybe Linda @HiveAlive will tell us.

I appreciate it will take some time to change the labeling, in the meantime would you post the correct analysis from your Lab here.

 

As you are making a claim for the product (Improved Hive Health, Improved Population, Improved Production) that relates to bees could you explain how you have supported that claim? I am reminded of this post; HiveAlive- feed for bees

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As bees have been around for millions of years I was just wondering has something all of a sudden vanished from the planet that has always sustained bees naturally up to this point or are bee keepers all of a sudden being sold a load of cobblers by corporate spin doctors. Just a thought.

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As bees have been around for millions of years...Just a thought.

Not in New Zealand.

 

I have another thought. Bees have also been dying for millions of years. There are many reasons we might want to supplement their diet, weather, larger colonies, loss of forage habitat, lack of forage, longer seasons, increasing disease pressure, increasing population pressure...

We have to deal with the world as it is, not as you would wish it to be. The demand has not been created by corporate spin, but I'll grant you some of the supply has been created with corporate spin.

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As bees have been around for millions of years I was just wondering has something all of a sudden vanished from the planet that has always sustained bees naturally up to this point or are bee keepers all of a sudden being sold a load of cobblers by corporate spin doctors. Just a thought.

I don't think so......take animal feed supplements for example, you can't argue the point when the evidence is as plain as day that they do assist in either attaining or maintaining animal health and more often than not markedly so compared to an animal not using it.

Granted you cannot beat a full and varied natural diet for good health, however I am a firm believer in using natural elements to assist in the repair and maintenance of both human, animal (and insect in the forum we are discussing now).As our environment is becoming damaged by urbanisation all living things are being assaulted by all manner of toxins. The food sources once widely available are being removed either because they are a weed, they don't belong there or a man made structure is put in it's place.

All I can say is, try it,observe, measure. If not convinced, don't worry no one is going to force you to keep using it. Most of all have fun keeping bees!

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