Providing bee bread to caged adult workers in the laboratory

Bee bread, a mixture of fermented pollen, regurgitated nectar, honey, and glandular secretions (Herbert and Shimanuki, 1978), is the natural and most nutritious protein source for young workers. However, it can contain pathogens (Gilliam, 1979) and chemical residues (Genersch et al., 2010; Mullin et al., 2010), and harvesting it is difficult and takes considerable time. A small, metal micro-spatula with a concave blade that is 3-4 mm wide can be used to collect multi-floral bee bread (see section 4.1.8 and the BEEBOOK pollination paper by Delaplane et al. (2013) for details on identifying multi-floral bee bread). Alternatively, an entire area of cells containing bee bread can be removed from the frame by cutting cross-sections of all cells near their bases. This allows bee bread to be ‘popped’ out of each cell. Refer to Human et al. (2013) in the miscellaneous techniques paper of the BEEBOOK for specific instructions on collecting bee bread from colonies. Bee bread can be provided to workers as a 50% (weight/weight) homogeneous paste mixture with sucrose paste (e.g. Cremonez et al., 1998). Refer to section for creating sucrose paste. Quantities may vary, depending upon the nature of the bee bread.