Industry Development Grant_Madlen Kratz


Beekeepers are unsure about how effective supplementary feeding is. In times of pollen dearth from drought and severe bushfire affected areas such as from the 2019/2020 bushfire crisis, beekeepers may have no choice than to supplementary feed to keep their hives alive. Supplementary feeding over prolonged periods of time can be time consuming, costly and ineffective if done incorrectly. In Australia, supplementary feeding has not been a standard practice and the effectiveness and economics of supplementary feeding are consequently questioned by beekeepers. Currently there are several pollen supplements available on the market, which have not been tested by a neutral party. I am proposing a small fieldbased experiment examining the palatability and utilisation of currently available supplementary feeds. The focus of this study is to test the palatability of supplementary feeds and to inform beekeepers about how well honey bees utilise the feeds from a cost benefit perspective.


Honey Bee

Research Organisation

(DPI) The Crown in right of the State of New South Wales acting through the Department of Primary Industries within Regional NSW

Objective Summary

Hypotheses: 1. Depending on the palatability of various supplementary feeds, honey bees will preferentially chose one feed over another. 2. If a feed source is palatable, then honey bees will either consume and or store the feed. If the feed is unpalatable, honey bees will dispose of it or disregard it. Design and methods: The experiment will involve 10 experimental hives (single 8 frame boxes) of equal strength and 5 nucleus hives as a backup. The hives will be set up with sister queens to keep the genetics as similar as possible and colonies will have access to patties inside the hive made from commercially available feeds to test for feed preference. The utilisation of the various feeds, including an unpalatable feed as a negative control, will be tested through: 1. Visual observations of feed storage 2. A protocol for dying individual feeds with food colouring will be tested to track the feed through consumption, storage or disposal

Project Code


Project Stage


Project Start Date

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Project Completion Date

Friday, October 15, 2021

Journal Articles From Project

Not Available

National Priority

Frontier technologies for building and transforming Australian industries

National Priority


National Priority

HBE-Improve understanding of pollination strategies that impact crop yields and improve hive health