Updated: May 21, 2021
The new scientific review article “Characterization of Apis mellifera Gastrointestinal Microbiota and Lactic Acid Bacteria for Honeybee Protection” by Nowak et al. is a comprehensive compilation of all current scientific knowledge on the topic of lactic acid bacteria and probiotic use in honeybees.
Conclusion: “Beekeepers should readily adopt (probiotic) strategies into their beekeeping habits to help prevent colony collapse.”
The authors review dozens of peer-reviewed scientific studies on the topic and found these key benefits of lactic acid bacteria to honeybees:
Food digestion. Bacteria digest complex pollen aromatic compounds and ferment sugars into lactic acid and short-chain fatty acids. These substances provide rich sources of energy for the honeybee, promoting weight gain.
Defense against pathogens. Lactic acid bacteria produce lactic acid and acidify the gut environment, which prevents the growth of gut pathogens and food spoilage microorganisms. Studies show that lactic acid bacteria are antagonistic to Melisococcus plutonius, Ascosphaera apis, and many other brood pathogens.
Detoxification of pesticides. Lactic acid bacteria reduce the amounts of pesticides in the environment. The review contains the largest-to-date summary of the effects of probiotics on pesticide mitigation, binding, degradation, metabolism, and toxicity in honeybees. 100% of lactic acid bacteria in SuperDFM®-HoneyBee™ and SuperDFM®+P801™ probiotics for honeybees are evidence-based pesticide degraders. These probiotic bacteria break down or otherwise block the effects of fungicides (boscalid or carboxamide), pyrethroid insecticides (cypermethrin, deltamethrin), organophosphate insecticides (chlorpyrifos, dimethoate, phorate), and neonicotinoid insecticides (imidacloprid, thiamethoxam).
Long-term probiotic supplementation benefits honeybee colonies. The benefits of probiotics, unlike a drug, are nuanced and are more pronounced when a challenge occurs in the field. Sometimes measuring the benefit is not as easy as measuring the hive weights at the beginning and end of a trial. Test probiotics in your beekeeping operation by tracking annual survival, pests, and pathogens.
Many field trials are progressing positively.
SuperDFM®-HoneyBee™ and SuperDFM®+P801™ were the only U.S. probiotic supplements for honey bees acknowledged as “reliable” in this extensive peer-reviewed article!