Mohamed Abusabbah, Mohammd Elnazeir Mahmoud, Montasir O. Mahgoub:
Promising Alternative Diets for Honey Bees in Saudi Arabia


1University of King Abdul Aziz, Saudi Arabia and University Putra Malaysia (UPM), Malaysia
2Agricultural Research Corporation, Plant Protection Research Center, Sudan
3University of Kordofan, Crop Protection Department, Sudan

Pollen grains are the main source of nutrients for honey bees. As in Saudi Arabia the lack of these natural diets during dry seasons is of concern, this experiment was carried out at the Agricultural Research Station of King Abdul Aziz University at Hadda-Elsham, Mecca, Saudi Arabia in 2001-2002 to look for promising alternatives to pollen grains. Twenty bee hives of a same strength were allocated in RCB design with 5 treatments; pollen + yeast powder, Chickpea powder + yeast powder, compressed date, Maize flour + yeast powder and pollen grain as control, all treatments were replicated 4 times. The brood area of the hives inch2 and the quantity of honey kg-1 were calculated.

The percentage of increase in the brood area inch2 due to feeding bee hives with different diets is 78.1, 77,3, 76.0, 65.0 and 62.1% for compressed date, maize + yeast, chickpea + yeast, pollen grain + yeast and pollen alone (control). Honey production was increased by 196, 89.8, 78.9 and 152.1% in hives provided with Pollen + yeast powder, Chickpea powder + yeast, compressed date and Maize flour + yeast powder respectively when compared with the control. According to the results obtained, availability of using cheap and easy prepared alternatives and due to the scarcity of pollen grain during the dry season is highly recommended for honey bee keepers to use pollen + yeast powder, Chickpea powder + yeast and compressed date as alternative for pollen grains to enhance the strength of their hive increasing the areas of brood and at same time produce more honey to boost their profits.

Keywords: Bees, broad area, Chickpea powder, honey, pollen grain

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Contact Address: Mohammd Elnazeir Mahmoud, Agricultural Research Corporation, Plant Protection Research CenterHudeiba Research Station, 11111 Eddamer, Sudan, e-mail:
Andreas Deininger, October 2010