these statements are astounding...the role of microbes in beebread production has been well established. a recent 3 part series in abj as well as ramona's talks around the country since last november, and in http://BeeUntoOthers.com/NoBeeIsAnIsland.pdf
(May 2008), all cite research done by martha gilliam at the tucson bee lab starting in the 70's.
i will try to post ramona's talk from last november (nebraska state beepeers conference) in the next few days.
comparing caterpillars to bee larvae would be more apt..eating machines with varroa sucking on one end while the grub eats. (read the transcript of her talk).
although larvae are fed some beebread directly, most of their food (and all of their early life food) is "brood food", "bee milk", "worker jelly", a custom (for each larvae) formulation of the same components of royal jelly. young adult worker (nurse) bees produce this in their hypophrangial glands and mandibular glands. this is high protein food (the larvae grows 150 times in 6 days, and only poops once at the very end), and the protein is provided by the nurse bees eating the bee bread. pollen starts to ferment as the forager moistens it to pack into her pollen baskets.
michael bush has been talking for years about how most bee disease organisms (including afb) grow better at the ph of sugar than the ph of honey.
in sweden, tobias and alajandra have found novel (not known to exist anywhere else on the planet) microbes in the honey stomach that are used to produce honey (and some evidence to indicate that they help combat afb). these microbes don't survive the winter if the bees are fed sugar.
but feeding on nectar or honey derived from nectars [is a] very different proposition from feeding on other types of plant tissue because plants load up their vulnerable tissues with chemicals, you know, natural pesticides, so that insects won't eat them, but they want insects to eat nectar; that's the whole point [of nectar].
this is an important observation that she makes here. it would be earth shattering if it were not simply another example of how nature's order works best when one does as little as possible to "improve" it.