There may be a big break to fight off the rapid decline in honey bee populations we see every winter and it comes courtesy of an Argentinian startup company called Beeflow. The company has developed a supplement that can be fed to bees that is like chicken soup for humans. According to Beeflow, the supplement will help boost the immune system of the bee, making them less vulnerable to winter conditions.
It About More Than Bees
Let’s not be naïve about this… protecting the honey bees is far more about our crops than it is the bees, but we will take what we can get these days. People are quickly beginning to realize that without bees, dozens, if not hundreds of plants and crops and will no longer be pollinated. For instance, crops like almonds are completely reliant on the honey bees to pollinate them. Overall, it is estimated that one-third of our crops would be impacted by the loss of honey bees.
Have you ever seen blueberries that looked to be about as huge as a nickel and other times, they are barely large enough to fit on your pinkie finger? That very well may be due to a lack of honey bee activity on the crop. When crops such as blueberries are not pollinated properly, the yield goes down significantly. Beeflow CEO Matias Veil stated, “If you have bad weather, or cold temperatures during that period, and you have a low amount of bee activity hours, your crop won’t be that good. We think that with healthier bees and then with a stronger immune system, bees can work better and perform better.”
So far, testing in Argentina has gone well and now the testing has been moved to some California almond growers. Almond farmers that do not own their own bees are forced to rent them. It generally takes about two to 2.5 hives per acre, and at more than $200 per hive, those costs can add up significantly. Part of the rising costs is the fact supply is behind demand these days due to the massive die-offs over the last few years. Farmers used to be able to get hives for about $50 each, but now it is often the highest bidder that wins the services of available beekeepers.
If results in California are anywhere near as successful as Argentina, where some crops realized a 90 percent improvement in yields, this new superfood for honey bees will be the next great “thing” we see in this industry. Viel stated, “Although this is a long journey, we are starting – and we think that this can add a lot of value to the agricultural industry.” Between this superfood by Beeflow and Vectorite, an insecticide that is actually delivered by the bees, things are starting to look up for the beekeeping industry.