OUR HONEY BEE STORY
SuperDFM®-HoneyBee™ is produced and distributed by Strong Microbials in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Strong Microbials was founded in 2012 by microbiologists Dr. Vera Strogolova and Slava Strogolov to provide microbial solutions to agriculture challenges. We are committed to science-based, evidence-based, quality microbial products.
“Our unique background compelled us to not only do academic research, but also make useful products. We love translating academic research into industrial applications. Academics were making many wonderful discoveries, but often they weren't being utilized. They were sitting inside of publications on a shelf. We wanted to bring them into the real world through direct applications.”
- Dr. Vera Strogolova
A STRONG START
After working with big industries – such as dairy, poultry, swine, sheep, equine, steer, and silage inoculants – solving big problems with probiotics, Strong Microbials found there were also big problems in small industries that could be fixed with good bacteria.
Entomologists and world-renown scientists had completed research demonstrating effectiveness of probiotics.
Strong Microbials pioneered probiotic solutions for the beekeeping industry. We used our work with dairy calves as a template.
Probiotic solutions were tested on farms to determine all of the health and economic benefits of the products and to confirm their viability.
Strong Microbials built relationships with beekeepers who valued the benefits of probiotics and trusted us to test products on their colonies.
Earl & Carol Hoffman
Essential Honey Bee LLC
Earl and Carol Hoffman are Master Beekeepers who serve as Manufacturers Agents for Strong Microbials.
Earl and Carol have played an important role in the development of SuperDFM-HoneyBee and in spreading awareness about its benefits to beekeepers across the country.
Earl and Carol own Essential Honey Bee LLC, a Michigan-based beekeeping business dedicated to the protection and preservation of the honey bee.
They grow and sell nucleus hives and queens. They also enable people to become beekeepers by teaching, coaching, and inspiring them to experience nature on a new level.
Earl and Carol are well-known in the beekeeping industry for their dedication to the improvement of beekeeping through best management practices, education, encouragement, and mentoring.
Strong Microbials found there were lots of similarities between beekeeping and larger animal agriculture, so they were in a familiar space.
Transportation is stressful for animals. Large beekeeping operations transport bees across the country every year.
Most problems animals deal with are pathogenic issues that occur when there is a lack of beneficial microbes in the gut.
The animal ag industry is transitioning away from antibiotics toward probiotics, which are a sustainable solution.
"SuperDFM-HoneyBee was brought to the market after working with beekeepers and entomologists at universities who tried the product and were thrilled with how healthy a colony could be - it kept some infection outbreaks from occurring in the first place, mitigated existing pathogens, and the colonies were better at surviving winter."
- Slava Strogolov
Strong Microbials continues to run field trials every year, ask questions, and listen to feedback from beekeepers who use SuperDFM-Honeybee. Their questions also inform the continuous evolution of the product. Collectively, we are looking to understand how to balance the effectiveness with the cost and the return on investment for beekeepers.
The environment for bees is harsh with pathogens and pesticides. After further research and trials, Strong Microbials updated its application recommendation to once every 30 days. This recommendation aligns with how often beekeepers opened their hives, and how often a new generation of bees is created. Monthly applications would provide protection for every generation of bees in the colony.
Some beekeepers did not want to open their hives to apply SuperDFM-Honeybee. Strong Microbials listened, understood their concern, and developed the MicroCloud Applicator, which overall is an improved delivery system for probiotics. Beekeepers can apply an even, effective coating of SuperDFM probiotics to their colonies.
“We still have questions we are looking to answer. We have determined the best way to apply SuperDFM-HoneyBee, and we have verified the benefits it has for the overall strength of a colony, its survival, and honey bee health in general. Next, we want to collect enough information to understand the effect of probiotics on specific pesticides and specific brood diseases.”
- Dr. Vera Strogolova
RESEARCH & PARTNERSHIPS
Strong Microbials scientists are members of:
SuperDFM-HoneyBee has been involved in the following academic research studies:
2016 and 2017 - a student from Marquette University completed an internship project at Strong Microbials on honey bees and a field trial with SuperDFM-HoneyBee.
2016 - Strong Microbials worked with University of Maine researchers on a project including SuperDFM-HoneyBee.
2017 - a student from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee completed an independent internship bee study at Strong Microbials.
2018 - A university researcher in Greece completed a trial of SuperDFM-HoneyBee in collaboration with Strong Microbials.
2018 - Saskatchewan researchers (Western College Veterinary Medicine) started a four-year research project studying SuperDFM-HoneyBee among other treatments in a field study of different management options (independent/not in collaboration with Strong Microbials)
2018 - 2020 - Strong Microbials contracted U.S. Department of Agriculture researchers to discover new microbials to help suppress bee mites.
2019 - Strong Microbials consulted and helped a middle school student who worked at a University of Florida lab studying beekeeping and probiotics for a science fair project (this became a multi-year project which recently won the largest science fair competition).
2020 - Strong Microbials collaborated and sponsored research of SuperDFM+P801 by a honey bee husbandry applied researcher at the University of Florida Honey Bee Research and Extension Lab.
Upcoming - A proposed project by researchers at Purdue University on probiotics and SuperDFM-HoneyBee in collaboration with Strong Microbials is planned for 2022.
Upcoming - A proposed research of SuperDFM-HoneyBee at Cornell University was planned for 2021 but delayed due to the pandemic.
Academic Support for Probiotics and SuperDFM-HoneyBee
The 2021 scientific review article “Characterization of Apis mellifera Gastrointestinal Microbiota and Lactic Acid Bacteria for Honeybee Protection” concluded that “Beekeepers should readily adopt (probiotic) strategies into their beekeeping habits to help prevent colony collapse.” SuperDFM®-HoneyBee™ and SuperDFM®+P801™ were the only U.S. probiotic supplements for honeybees acknowledged as “reliable” in this extensive peer-reviewed article!
Science continues to uncover more and more about how microbes can benefit all creatures. We hope you can learn more from our research page and Honey Bee FAQ page. View our honey bee products to see what may work best for your farm. Feel free to contact us with any questions! Our team is always ready to help.