Pollen Substitute Feedbee Formulation
- We started with more than 225 potential feedstuffs for example grains, roots, petals, seeds, etc. Any plant materials that could be used as a source of feed for animals.
- Test of palatability was the second step. It means the feedstuffs were fed one by one to honeybee colonies just to find out if they are accepted by bees. Some of the feedstuffs had to be removed from the list because they were not accepted by bees.
- The selected feedstuffs were analyzed for their nutritional values e.g. protein, vitamins, minerals, etc.
- Some feedstuffs were selected because they were good sources of proteins, essential amino acids, certain vitamins, and other particular nutrients.
- Then we had to test digestibility of various nutrients in the selected feedstuffs in honeybees. Quite a number of testes were involved for each nutrients of every feedstuff, for example protein level of bees' heamolymph before and after feeding of a feedstuff from the list. Some of them had to be removed from the list for their low digestibility level.
- The tests of toxins and anti-nutritional factors were done with the digestibility tests. Some of the feedstuffs had toxins and other harmful materials to bees like beans.
- Numbers of ingredient were selected to go into the mix, but we had to look at the nutritional values and chemical structures of various pollen grains to actually emulate natural pollen grains in the formulation.
- The digestive track of honey bees and the ways they digest and absorb pollen gains were studied.
- We had to add many ingredients for their attraction, as alternative sources of nutrients and to obtain maximum palatability and digestibility.
- The formulated diet was tested quiet a number of times at various climatic conditions considering many parameters e.g. brood rearing, growth, bee population, honey production, longevity, etc.
- The diet was named "Feedbee" and introduced to the market with full confidence in being highly palatable pollen substitute diet which meets the nutritional requirements of honeybees and enhances colonies buildup and production.