To evaluate the use of SuperDFM on the improving of the winter survival rate of honey bees.

Progress report for FNC21-1268

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2021: $25,320.00
Projected End Date: 01/31/2023
Grant Recipient: ECIBA
Region: North Central
State: Indiana
Project Coordinator:
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Project Information

Description of operation:

I have been using Super DFM for three years and have felt it helped the overall health of my colonies.

Summary:

We are losing 40% of our honey bee colonies over the winter.  We want to study if Super DFM will improve the survival rate.  One beekeeper has used it over the past two years with great success.  It is a specialized probiotic formula for honey bees which promotes optimal bee gut health.  It is all natural and a completely safe probiotic supplement.  We have the participants just sprinkle it on the top of the brood frames four to five times throughout the 2021 season.  It is safe to use all year round even during honey flows.  This proposal should be seen as building on past work and not a repeat of same methodologies. 

Project Objectives:

The primary objectives of this study are to determine if the use of the probiotic Super DFM will significantly improve the strength of the honey bee health and  improve  their  winter survival rate.   Making bees stronger will help them fight off diseases themselves and avoid the use of other chemicals that beekeepers are now using.  Also, having stronger bees will allow beekeepers to do less feeding of sugar supplements because the bees will be able to bring in more nectar and pollen.  Using 100 hives will give us a good sample size.

Cooperators

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Research

Materials and methods:
  1.  Beekeepers supply all wooden ware.  If problems arise the beekeeper is to contact Steve Doty.
  2. Group will supply Super DFM powder in baggies and instructions on when to apply.
  3. Group will obtain 100 3# packages of bees for study.
  4. Group will supply a replacement queen if she is dead on arrival.
  5. Group will provide detailed steps in how the beekeepers are to care for these colonies
  6. Group may supply Formic Pro strips or Apivar strips for August application.
  7. Group is investigating the  posting of pictures and progress to a Facebook page which would serve as a way to increase social sustainability by beekeepers networking and sharing a common work.
Research results and discussion:

October 15, 2021 Update. We picked up and distributed 100 packages of bees to 43 different beekeepers on April 18, 2021. Mother Nature was not very friendly early in the season, so the packages got off to a slow start. 46% of the beekeepers used new foundation, 26% used drawn comb and 28% used a mixture of both. By July 1, 2021 6% of the Super DFM colonies and 11% of the non-Super DFM colonies were dead. As of October 1, 2021 going into the winter, 41 of the Super DFM colonies were alive with the following honey store weights of: 3 Light, 10 Medium and 28 Heavy. For the 39 of the non-Super DFM colonies that were alive with honey store weights of: 5 Light, 7 Medium and 27 Heavy. There was not a heavy nectar flow season for most of the beekeepers. There was not a significant difference in the amount of honey that was extracted between the Super DFM and the non-Super DFM colonies with the overall average being around 20 pounds for each hive.

Participation Summary
3 Farmers participating in research

Educational & Outreach Activities

43 Consultations
430 Curricula, factsheets or educational tools

Participation Summary:

43 Farmers
430 Ag professionals participated
Education/outreach description:

We shared an October 15 update via e mail with the 43 beekeepers who participated in the grant. Next spring we will again visit with the 43 beekeepers and check the survival rate for both the Super DFM colonies and the non-Super DFM colonies.
We also provided an email update to all of our East Central Indiana Beekeeper Group members (430).

Learning Outcomes

Lessons Learned:

Trial update

Project Outcomes

43 Farmers changed or adopted a practice
Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.