Food shortage, along with biotic stressors, contributes to winter honey bee colony losses. In autumn, to support honey bee colonies and prepare them for the winter season, beekeepers can supply homemade syrups which could contain compounds with possible negative side effects. In this study, we investigated the toxicity of one of those compounds (e.g., hydroxymethylfurfural, HMF) at doses consistent with literature data both to healthy bees and bees challenged with their most important parasite (i.e., Varroa destructor ). To strengthen available data on HMF concentration in sugar syrups, we also investigated HMF formation in homemade 2:1 inverted sugar syrup, considering, in particular, the influence of temperature or boiling time on different homemade sugar syrups according to their acidity. Finally, we studied the effects of the acidity of sugar syrups on honeybee survival, and tested whether or not sucrose inversion through acidification is really necessary.We show that doses of HMF similar to those reported as sublethal in the literature appear to be non-toxic even tomite infested bees.However, the amount of HMF that can be found in homemade syrups, which increases with temperature and acidity, can be much higher and can cause significant bee mortality. Moreover, we highlighted the detrimental effect of syrups acidity on honeybee survival, suggesting that the addition of lemon or any other acidifying substance to invert the sucrose could be harmful and not necessary. Our results suggest a responsible approach to homemade colony nutrition.

Possible side effects of sugar supplementary nutrition on honey bee health

Davide FRIZZERA
Primo
;
Simone DEL FABBRO;Giacomo ORTIS;Virginia ZANNI;Renzo BORTOLOMEAZZI;Francesco NAZZI;Desiderato ANNOSCIA
Ultimo
2020

Abstract

Food shortage, along with biotic stressors, contributes to winter honey bee colony losses. In autumn, to support honey bee colonies and prepare them for the winter season, beekeepers can supply homemade syrups which could contain compounds with possible negative side effects. In this study, we investigated the toxicity of one of those compounds (e.g., hydroxymethylfurfural, HMF) at doses consistent with literature data both to healthy bees and bees challenged with their most important parasite (i.e., Varroa destructor ). To strengthen available data on HMF concentration in sugar syrups, we also investigated HMF formation in homemade 2:1 inverted sugar syrup, considering, in particular, the influence of temperature or boiling time on different homemade sugar syrups according to their acidity. Finally, we studied the effects of the acidity of sugar syrups on honeybee survival, and tested whether or not sucrose inversion through acidification is really necessary.We show that doses of HMF similar to those reported as sublethal in the literature appear to be non-toxic even tomite infested bees.However, the amount of HMF that can be found in homemade syrups, which increases with temperature and acidity, can be much higher and can cause significant bee mortality. Moreover, we highlighted the detrimental effect of syrups acidity on honeybee survival, suggesting that the addition of lemon or any other acidifying substance to invert the sucrose could be harmful and not necessary. Our results suggest a responsible approach to homemade colony nutrition.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11390/1177133
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