Thinking outside the box #4

Discussion in 'Organic Beekeeping' started by BjornBee, Jun 5, 2009.

  1. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    Thinking Outside The Box #4 - What’s In Your Brown Bag?

    When CCD first hit back in the fall of 2006, one of the first things I looked at was nutrition. It was an area I could look at without a CCD team, laboratory, or millions of dollars in research monies. So I started digging deep. And much of what I found amazed me.

    In 1952, A man by the name of DeGroot, outlined the nutritional requirements of bees. He set the standard that all books since then have used in regards to proteins, essential amino acids, and other levels needed by the bees to maintain health. Information concerning this can be found at http://www.honeybee.com.au/Library/poll ... ition.html This site also outlines something the Australians called “Fall dwindling disease†to which they had problems with 20 years ago. They found out that bees heading into winter with low internal protein levels, and poor quality or lack of pollen from within the hive, cut short the bees lifespan by half. But all that is in the report if you go to the website. I passed on what I found to the CCD working group in February 2007 as a item of interest. Many have heard me talk about nutrition as I spoke to county groups in 2007 about nutrition and what I had found.

    I found it interesting in researching ingredients for a pollen supplement, that nobody on the market listed full nutritional listing, what the ingredients were, where the ingredients were coming from, etc. Most pollen supplement were being sold from brown bags, with a minimal of information. Most were not marketed on nutrition. They were marketed by how fast the bees consumed the product. Easy to calculate by the sometimes 50 to 70% of sugar added to the product. Buying pollen supplement and getting sugar, makes for expensive sugar feeding.

    I started making my own supplement and bought pollen from a couple of the major suppliers in the industry. After discussions with one company about the nutritional vules, it was divulged that the pollen was not for a nutritional basis, but the pollen was added to make the bees consume it faster. They also after much pressure, took their pollen off the market in early 2008 once they acknowledged it was from China. So I called a second company inquiring about pollen. I was sold 2 50 pound bags with the last comment being “This pollen is approved for bees but not human consumptionâ€. How odd! Well even more odd was the FDA recall I received in the mail. Seems somebody wanted their pollen back. I asked why? They said it was a “labeling error“. I asked if there was any problems with the product. They said “No.â€. I mentioned I was more than happy to keep the product with a “bad†label. Besides I needed the pollen for the supplement I was making. After a couple more letters and phone calls demanding the product back, I threw the bags in the fridge. Something just sounded fishy. I also had found out this pollen was from China also.

    As part of the CCD research, I was able to send a sample off to Penn State for testing. What I found out was Chinese beekeepers must really favor Apiastan for mite treatments due to the levels found in the pollen. I also found out the they still use DDT. It showed up in levels from the pollen sample. This really ticked me off. Here I was using no chemicals in my hives for 6 years, and yet, something like a pollen bought from a bee supplier had me putting the chemicals in anyways. DDT builds up in the brain and fatty tissues over time.

    I’m not going to suggest that this is connected to CCD. I do not get millions of dollars to research such stuff. But what I would like, is for the suppliers of bee products in the states to be honest and give us the facts. The days of beekeepers buying products from brown paper sacks with little information should end. We should demand it!

    Suppliers need to answer such questions as: What is the full nutritional analysis of the product? Does it meet the essential amino acid requirements bees need to properly digest the proteins? What ingredients are in the supplement? What are the origins of those products? And have they been tested?

    I have been burned by buying pollen from two major suppliers in the states. I did not know it was foreign pollen, and I did not know it was laced with high levels of fluvalinate or DDT. I do not buy pollen any longer from the supply companies. This was a big reason I quit selling pollen supplement And I refuse to buy vaguely labeled pollen supplement on the market that can not answer those questions mentioned above.

    Seems those beekeepers with past CCD problems, who are cleaning up their act with chemicals, putting on clean comb, and making an effort to control mites better are seeing less losses. Maybe getting that foreign pollen off the market laced with chemicals might of helped also.

    I could write many pages of what I found out in regards to nutrition over the past few years. But I need to keep it short. I’ll end by asking….

    What’s in your supplement or brown bag wrapped bee feed?

    Mike Thomas - Bjorn Apiaries.
     
  2. Hobie

    Hobie New Member

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    Interestingly, the latest issue of Mother Earth News has an article on how commercial "high-yield" farming is creating less nutritious food. Seems that the varieties that produce the greatest quantities of corn, wheat, oats, broccoli, and other fruits and vegetables contain a much higher percentage of carbohydrates, and significantly less calcium, protein, amino acids, etc.

    http://www.motherearthnews.com/Sustaina ... rming.aspx

    It seems logical to me that, if the resulting fruit or grain is lower in nutritional value, it would make sense that the pollen and nectar would be as well.
     

  3. barry42001

    barry42001 New Member

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    Our farming techniques while extremely ( for the short term ) are exceedingly productive, depletes the soils rapidly even with crop rotation. The normal practice to fertilize with chemical fertilizers while again for the short terms seems to fix the problem, but in reality the crops are lacking in many nutritional areas ven long rooted crops are less beneficial then just a few years back--pity the shallow rooted crops.
    Barry