At the recently held 75th American Beekeping Federation Conference in Reno, Nevada, Miami Beach-based Healthy Bees LLC unveiled astouding results from what is reportedly the largest field trial on honeybees to date. The study comes amid a growing epidemic involving the sharp decline in honeybee numbers worldwide. Termed colony collapse disorder, this simultaneous dying out of colonies in different parts of the globe has raised alarm, especially because honey bees play a very important part in the production of the a huge chunk of agricultural crops.
According to Healthy Bees chairman and chief executive Lee Rosen, the field trials focus on the effectiveness of the company’s nutritional supplement BeesVita Plus in boosting the immune system of these winged insects. The research is being conducted in five countries, including Argentina, Italiy, Turkey, Brazil, and the US. In particular, the study looks into BeesVita Plus‘ mechanism against the varroa mite, a parasite that’s reportedly one of the major culprits of colony collapse.
Data from the International Federation of Beekeepers’ Associations shows that in some countries, colony losses have hit a high of 60%, with the worldwide average currently at 20%. In the US alone, the rate of loss ranges between 28% and 59%. In short, bee death is a pandemic, with millions dying all over the world.
A scientific breakthrough, BeesVita Plus appeared to be more effective in controlling mites compared to the formic acid strips that most farmers use. Varroa mites kill bees by latching onto their bodies and sucking the life out of them. They are also responsible for the spread of viruses that cause birth defects, like missing limbs and wings.
“We tried BeesVita Plus and the results showed a lot of promise in terms of controlling the varroa mite. It’s very exciting to see how much this supplement has reduced the parasite,” notes University of Maryland assistant professor and Bee Informed Partnership president Dr. Dennis van Engelsdorp. “I have to admit being surprised at what we found, especially after trying so many others that yielded poor results.”
BeesVita Plus is a unique formulation that comes in either water-soluble powder or patty form. It contains 38 more antioxidants than other types of health supplements for bees. This enhanced nutrition is what enables them to have stronger immunity to fight off illness and prevent parasites from attacking. It bolsters bees’ immune system, allowing them to also resist environmental elements and possibly the negative effects of pesticides, as well, although this part of the research is still ongoing.
Healthy Bees was founded in 2011 after chief scientist Dr Francesa del Vecchio and partners decided to find global patents for BeesVita Plus. The idea for the supplement started in 2008, after colony collapse disorder wiped out some 80% of colonies in an Italian region, save for one family farm. Del Vecchio studied why this one farm was spared, what the bees in this area were eating and, as a result, developed BeesVita Plus.