Monday, May 29, 2017
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Native seaweed provides tonic for bees

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Cold, wet, windy weather across the country has cost beekeepers millions of dollars as the unseasonable conditions affect the honey harvest.

With close to a million hives now in New Zealand, the poor summer has hit the apiculture industry hard when it was already struggling with failing bee treatments and diminished feed stocks.

 

But beekeepers have found AgriSea Bee Nutrition to assist in brood development and produce more robust bees.

Three years ago AgriSea noticed beekeepers were purchasing product and discussions were held to determine how this was adding value to their operations and trial work was commenced.

The New Zealand native seaweed species Ecklonia radiata is batch-brewed with specifically selected essential herbs for up to 90 days to make Bee Nutrition Tonic.

As a result of listening to their customers and learning about their methods of bee feeding, AgriSea partnered with MSugar and created a unique pollen substitute – Apifeed+.

Stu Ferguson from Hunter Reilly Limited was finding it “ridiculously expensive” importing American product when he came across AgriSea – and he’s been impressed with his trial results.

Beekeeping company Hunter Reilly Limited has used AgriSea Bee Nutrition to help bees get through a tough season.

“I achieved low losses in 2016 and it just makes sense that the nutrients, amino acids and vitamins in AgriSea must be assisting the health of the hives when compared to using straight sugar syrup.”

De Graaf Apiaries is conducting a study to assess the optimum concentration for bees and initial results are promising and point to 30ml per litre of sugar syrup being the optimum concentration for increasing brood during the spring feeding rounds of 2016.

“We are aware of the decrease in pollen sources around NZ so supplying the bees with additional nutrition is common practice,” said Bennie De Graaf from De Graaf Apiaries Limited.

“Using locally made seaweed makes sense – we add AgriSea Bee Nutrition whenever we feed our hives all year round to keep the hives healthy and strong.”

Early in 2016 AgriSea met with Plant and Food Research. AgriSea general manager Tane Bradley says the aim is simple – to scientifically assess what their beekeepers had been noticing in their hives – fat bees, healthy hives, increased production and increased brood.


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