Honeydew honey production in honey bees colonies affected by the River disease in Uruguay
Keywords:Apis mellifera, disease, honeydew honey, larvae mortality
In Uruguay, the excretions of the flatidae Epormenis cestri when located in sarandí colorado trees (Sebastiania schottiana) are the cause of the massive death of young honeybee larvae, a phenomenon that beekeepers call River disease. A strong income of honeydew is frequently observed in these affected colonies despite the continuous loss of bees due to lack of replacement. The aim of this study was to determine a handling of the colonies that allows obtaining honeydew honey. Forty-eight colonies were transported to an apiary affected by River disease and were divided into 5 groups according to the following treatments: Group 1: regular honeydew harvest, adding of brood and sugar syrup supply (N=10); Group 2: regular honeydew harvest and sugar syrup supply (N=10); Group 3: regular honeydew harvest and adding of brood (N=10); Group 4: regular honeydew harvest (N=10); Group 5: only one harvest of honeydew once the study had finished (N=8). The colonies from groups 1 and 3 produced the biggest amount of honeydew honey, averaging 32.0 and 28.6kg, respectively. The physicochemical analysis of honeydew honey showed characteristics of this product such as high electrical conductivity (0.98-1.14 mS/cm), diastase activity (>50%) and color (71-83 mm Pfund). This study provides the basis of a colony handling that allows beekeepers to obtain important harvests of a honeydew honey not yet known in the international market.
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