The objective of this study was to compare the population, weight and honey production of honey bee (Apis mellifera) colonies fed with three different energy-protein diets based on a feed substitute made with brewer's yeast and pollen, in combination with 55% high fructose corn syrup (JMAF), or sucrose syrup (JA), or inverted sucrose syrup (JAI). Ninety colonies equalized in terms of population size, food stores and queen origin were used. All colonies were fed the protein supplement, but 30 of them were fed JMAF, 30 JA and 30 JAI. The adult bee population, capped brood area, weight and honey production of the colonies was determined at 27, 49 and 76 days after they were established. Colonies fed JMAF were significantly heavier than those fed JA and JAI, between which there were no differences. JMAF-fed colonies produced significantly more honey (35.8 ± 3.35 kg) than those fed JA (28.2 ± 2.65) and JAI (24.8 ± 2.70 kg), between which there were no differences. These results suggest that the use of JMAF in combination with a protein supplement to stimulate honey bee colonies represents a more efficient option than the use of JAI and JAI with protein supplementation.
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