The hive has complex nutritional requirements coming from the endless differences of food sources that are found in the environment which are replaceable only with a supplementary feeding prepared on the basis of the acquisitions derived from the most current science of nutrition and using the most modern techniques and protection of micronutrients.

What the beekeeper needs to know

It is possible to prevent the depopulation or the collapse of families, sometimes due to nutritional problems, by adopting supplementary feeding strategies.
The hive feeding, as for all living beings, is a key factor of development and defense capabilities from adversities.
Normally the bees are able to find in the environment the nutrients needed for the development of families and to store them in sufficient quantities also to ensure nutritional autonomy for long periods.
The nectar and honeydew that turned into honey are the primary source of nutrition ; the pollen that is the main source of protein for the development of the brood and the health of adults and the queen with the deposition develops a metabolic extraordinary effort; amino acids; lipids; vitamins; minerals; water and propolis.
However, there are factors which interfere negatively on the amount and quality of the environmental sources of these essential substances for the development and survival of the hives and makes a sometimes not evident suffering but no less harmful: reduced plant biodiversity (monocultures) which don’t ensure the variety of pollen and then the totality of the essential amino acids for the growth and the natural cycle of the larvae; climate changes; human and agricultural activities which disperse in the environment harmful or toxic substances.
These factors could be the cause of death or slow development but also to interfere with the delicate systems of defense and protection of the hive that makes it even more vulnerable to disease.
A colony of 40-50 thousands bees, in a year can consume on average from 20 to 50 kg of pollen and high amounts of sugar, depending of the size and development of the hive. Long periods with low import of pollen or pollen collection with little protein (less than 20%) may result in the reduction or blockage of the brood with consequent depopulation of the families. The absence of unknown nutritional factors , which are present in the pollen result in less longevity of bees.
This confirms that it is not always enough to make the integration with candies or sugar syrups to ensure survival or development of hives.
In low import conditions or insufficient stocks for survival, which may undermine or restrict the development and the health of the bees, changing the overall metabolism of the hive, the nutritional needs of bees can be compensated by feeding with sugar and protein supplements.
The protein supplement also become essential for the breeding of queens because a protein deficiency also compromises the development of the life cycle of the queen and produces a reduction the size of the royal cells. It was shown that the use of protein supplements leads to significantly larger queen cells and therefore to more valid queens, fruitful and long-lived.