I wanted to share with you the incredibly positive results I found from a little experiment I did recently.
I was given the opportunity to keep bees on a bush site (NSW, Australia) with a huge variety of gums including ironbark, grey gum, spotted gum and blackbutt. All of which hold incredibly high-range nutritional value for bees (and highly sought after by commercial beeks). I believe I read somewhere that ironbark pollen is so rich in nutrition, that a colony feeding on an ironbark flow will have all disease eradicated (perhaps not all disease, like AFB).
I personally hadn’t yet had a proper introduction to the world of honey bee nutrition and the concept of different flowers offering different nutrition value was super intriguing to me (like comparing McDonalds to organic fresh produce, for bees).
I relocated 5 hives to the new site and all colonies were looking pretty grim. They had spent their last 2 years on a property with not enough sun, lived through a drought (for our area) and at the point of relocating showed signs of weakness throughout such as bald brood, sac brood, SHB, scattered brood patterns and mediocre bee numbers.
Last weekend was my first inspection, 4 weeks after relocating, and I was so blown away by the visible difference (I wish I took more photos). All hives were incredibly strong, some with having brood in all 8 frames, glorious brood patterns, no signs of disease or weakness and crazy amounts of honey.
The ironbark I believe has been flowering for the last few weeks and I believe they were also feeding off nearby Macadamia and something else that I couldn’t identify.
I would love to receive confirmation that my equation is correct i.e. the supercharged ironbark has boosted my colonies immunity to have cured all signs of disease. Or would that be too simple?
I would love to dive more into the world of honey bee nutrition and am getting the idea that the best people to talk to are commercial beekeepers, as healthy bees and strong forage = heaps more honey. But I would love to know more for the sake of sharing this knowledge with backyard beekeepers and support supercharged healthy honey bees.
Does anyone else have any thoughts, info, advice to offer on this?
I honestly can’t express how excited I was.