Field Testing Probiotic Supplementation

Probiotic Supplementation on top bars of a trial commercial colony in California.
California field trial colony receiving Probiotic Supplementation applied to the top bars of the colony’s center frames.
Photo credit: BIP California Tech Team Field Specialist Matt Hoepfinger.

During fall 2019 and spring 2020, Bee Informed Partnership funded by California State Beekeepers Association, field tested the benefits of probiotic supplementation in real world commercial beekeeping operations in California and Oregon. A total of 72 colonies were divided into 3 treatment categories; SuperDFM group, ProDFM group and no probiotic (control) group. Colonies were assessed on day 1, and given their respective treatment. Colonies were then assessed again 4 weeks and 6 weeks later, both in the fall and in the spring. All 72 colonies survived the winter (what are the odds?). Varroa was monitored throughout the duration of the experiments to make sure loads did not add a confounding factor/additional stress on colonies. We found no significant difference between all treatment groups in terms of colony sizes (FOB), brood patterns, Nosema loads, signs of diseases or viral prevalence. In conclusion, in the limited conditions we field tested probiotics in commercial beekeeping operations on the U.S. west coast, feeding supplemental probiotics did not show any significant benefits to honey bee colony health.

Probiotic Benefits: Details and Data

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