http://www.honeybee.com.au/Library/pollen/nutrition.htmlNUTRITIONAL REQUIREMENTS OF HONEY BEES
Bee body-protein Bees store protein in their body
, and use it to make wings, muscles and other body organs. The higher the level of protein in their bodies, the stronger the bees are and the longer they can live. Bees can have a very high body-protein of over 60% crude protein
, at which time they are strong, long-lived bees, with the ability to collect lots of honey. Or at the other extreme they can have low body-protein of less than 30%
(Kleinschmidt 1988). When bees have low body-protein they will live only a short time, suffer from diseases like European brood disease (EBD) and nosema, and be very poor honey producers.
High body-protein bees are essential in autumn, so the bees can combat nosema, overwinter in strong condition, and have plenty of body-protein to use for hive build-up in the spring. Bees with a low body-protein in the autumn will generally not overwinter well, will be susceptible to nosema and "spring dwindles" and possibly have restricted breeding in the spring. Bee body-protein is reduced by honey production, cold or hot weather, wax production, and an increase in breeding, especially during the spring build-up period. Bee body-protein will increase if the bees are getting plenty of pollen with more than 20% digestible crude protein
, especially if they are not stressed by heavy honey production and extremes in weather.
Bee body-protein is a good measure of the hives' ability to survive winter, collect good honey crops, and overcome many of the bee diseases, like European brood disease or chalk brood. The higher the body-protein level, the better the bees will be able to collect economic yields of honey, pollinate crops, and produce queen bees.