New feeding formula combats honeybee colony collapse

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Almonds make up the area's top crop but beekeepers have suffered great losses over the years due to malnutrition and disease. Many hope a new food can effectively fight colony collapse.

Valley almond orchards are in full bloom meaning trees are full of bees ready to make a crop. For over a decade beekeepers like, Mike Tolmachoff, have suffered big losses.

"This colony collapse is frustrating. Every year we're losing 30-40%. One year we lost 80%," Tolmachoff said.

So this week Tolmachoff tried a new feed on the market called Bee Vita Plus. Healthy Bees CEO, Lee Rosen says the bee food is all natural and 76% sugar.

"Our sugar is dextrose which is the sugar that bees go out when they forage and the protein that we're giving is a combination of brewer's yeast and spirulina algae," Rosen explained.

Rosen claims geranium oil and thyme oil in the Bee Vita Plus helps kill the varroa mite, a parasite which can devastate a bee colony. Malnutrition, pesticides, and drought have all contributed to the falling bee populations.

"If the bees are constantly fed a good diet of what they need, no matter if there are varroa mites or anything else harboring the hive we'll have better healthier hives," Tolmachoff said.

And time will tell if this new feed can keep more bees alive. Tolmachoff has tried every type of bee food available so he hopes this one can actually improve hive health.

We'll know more after the summer when bees have less food to forage for.
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