Frass for grass

Discussion in 'Bee News' started by Americasbeekeeper, Aug 1, 2013.

  1. Americasbeekeeper

    Americasbeekeeper New Member

    Messages:
    1,126
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Inorganic Nitrogen Derived from Foraging Honey Bees Could Have Adaptive Benefits for the Plants They Visit
    Honey bees may help alleviate this limitation because their feces (frass) have high concentration of organic nitrogen that may decompose in soil and provide inorganic N to plants. The objectives of this work were to 1) estimate the amount of bee frass produced by a honey bee colony and 2) evaluate nitrogen mineralization and ammonia volatilization from bee frass when surface applied or incorporated into soil. The bee frass used in our studies had about 99% of total N in organic form with 22% of the organic N as uric acid and 0.4% as urea. Mineralization of bee frass N during 30 days at 25°C released 20% of the organic N as inorganic N when bee frass was surface applied and 34% when frass was incorporated into the soil. Our results suggest that the main source of mineralizable N was the uric acid present in the frass. Ammonia volatilization losses corresponded to 1% or less of total N. To our knowledge, this is the first study that evaluated N mineralization and NH[SUB]3[/SUB] volatilization from bee frass. The potential amount of inorganic N released from a typical colony of 20,000 bees foraging in a small area (3.24 m[SUP]2[/SUP]) was estimated at 0.62 to 0.74 g N inorganic m[SUP]−2[/SUP] month[SUP]−1[/SUP], which may be significant at a community scale in terms of soil microbial activity and plant growth. Thus, the deposition of plant-available N by foraging bees could have adaptive benefits for the plants they visit, a collateral benefit deriving from the primary activity of pollination.
    http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0070591
     
  2. ApisBees

    ApisBees Active Member

    Messages:
    2,060
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Well that was kind of a shitty study, Literally.
    Kind of expected this was true but more with the organic build up from the bodies of dead bees. Never considered bee feces. I set up a bee yard on a patch of gravel no soil only the hardiest of weeds would survive. Over time (15 years) the organic matter drug from the hives and dead bees created about 4" of soil and grew nice tall grass. The first few years I never needed to weed eat around the hives but after a while it became necessary.
    Has any one done a study on the organic mass produced from a colony of bees during a year?
    Start spring with 15,000 bees population can reach 60,000 for honey flow and drop to 25,000 at start of winter. With the bees living for as little as 6 weeks during busy parts of the year, the amount of dead bees in numbers is huge. Take the dead bees and add the bee feces, the organic mass produces by one colony would be large now multiply it by the number of colonies in a yard or in the country.
     

  3. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

    Messages:
    6,487
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    0
    apis you gave me a giggle there with that one....