According to recent research, there is more to the bee diet than meets the eyes.
Honeybees and a wide variety of wild bees need more nutrients than they get from just nectar and pollen.
Is the bee an omnivore that eats both plants and proteins?
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) researcher Shawn Steffen indicates that an essential part of the bee diet is the naturally occurring amino acids and protein-rich microbes within bee brood’s pollen.
It seems the bee diet includes fungi, bacteria and other microbes with amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins. Most of the protein consumed by bees appears to come from a yeast and bacteria combination. The bees get this by eating lots of microbe-derived protein in their fermenting pollen provision.
Research shows that if bees do not eat these essential foods in their diet, they suffer. This implies that bees are not just omnivorous, they also need microbial protein. This external rumen helps them complete their development and thrive as healthy, fit bees.
This research was reported by David Sparks at Line on Agriculture. It is good to know that the USDA is actively researching bee health. This information helps beekeepers and the public to understand the needs of our sweetest and most active pollinators. So many bees have succumbed to colony collapse disorder, pesticide poisoning and loss of habitat, amongst other hazards, understanding their diet better may help us to help them be healthy and fit enough to have a good chance to avoid some catastrophes.
Since we are talking about the bee diet, this totally unrelated 13:38-minute video by Frederick Dunn is for beekeepers who like to give their bees essential oils as a feeding stimulant. It addresses letting bees choose what they really want.
Mr. Dunn writes that the practical demonstrations of these feeding stimulants do not make any assumptions nor draw any conclusions about the health or nutritional benefits to honey bees. The results are confined to feeding selection practical observations. You can learn more about this research by going to the video on his YouTube channel and reading the section below the video. If you enjoy his video, consider giving it a thumbs up.