We've added a lot of new members to our Healthy Bees Community this year, so we thought it'd be a good time to share some common questions we've gotten about our Healthy Bees™ Spirulina Patties.
How does it help my bees? How long does it last? Is it going to get in my honey? If you've ever had a question about our flagship product, this blog post is for you.
- What is your product?
Healthy Bees™ Spirulina Patties are an all-natural, non-GMO honey bee supplement created to fill in the nutritional gaps left by inadequate forage. Each carefully selected ingredient, such as spirulina algae, notably improves the strength of your hives and helps them deal with stress (examples of stressors: pests, pesticide exposure, poor nutrition, transportation, hive management).
- Are your spirulina patties a pollen substitute?
Yes and no. Bees normally get the majority of their proteins, fats, and micronutrients from pollen. So in that way, we are. We also say 'no' because our patties are more than just a pollen substitute. Our unique blend of essential oils have antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral properties that support a healthier hive environment.
- How long does it last?
If you're talking shelf life, our patties will last about 12-16 months from the manufactured date. As far as how long our patties last in the hive, bees will take down a one pound patty in two weeks or less (depending on the strength of the hive).
- Where do I feed it?
The optimal location to place our patties is directly above the brood area, on top of the frames of the lowest brood box.
- When do I feed it?
The most accurate answer to this question depends on the climate and time of year. You want to feed anytime there's a desire to increase your bee population (examples: spring, before pollination, before honey flow). It's also ideal for times of nutritional stress and periods of dearth, as well as during times of little to no pollen diversity. Many beekeepers who use our patties today use it year round, but we encourage beekeepers to find their own sweet spot when it comes to usage. The only time we recommend not using our patties is during cold periods of low activity, such as winter. That said, our patties are excellent for building winter bees, so if it's that time of year, look no further. (Pro-tip: discontinue use of Healthy Bees Patties approximately one month prior to the first frost in your region.)
- Do I need to peel the paper off?
Each Healthy Bees™ Patty comes wrapped in wax paper which is safe for honey bees. The main purpose of wax paper is to prevent the patties from sticking together. To answer the question, you can remove the paper if you so choose to, but it is not required.
- Why are your patties black?
Healthy Bees™ Patties are actually a very dark shade of green, thanks to one of our main ingredients - Spirulina. Spirulina is a superfood and is an excellent source of phytonutrients, amino acids, and antioxidants (The USDA-ARS has recently completed a study that supports Spirulina's positive effects on honey bees - you can find the study by clicking here).
- Is it going to get in my honey?
No. Our patties are instant nutrition and are not stored by bees in the same way that nectar or syrup is. The only possible way it could get into honey is if you put the patties above your honey supers (which is not the recommended location) and some happens to crumble down. Long story short, you never have to worry about our patties getting into your honey as long as you place them as instructed.
- What makes your patties better than the others?
We truly believe our greatest differentiator is the quality of ingredients found in our patties. You've probably noticed most - if not all - competitor patties use soy as their primary protein source. Soy is cheaper, sure, but it's also less balanced when it comes to its amino acid profile and is often genetically modified to withstand pesticide exposure. The spirulina in our patties is cleaner, contains a more balanced amino acid profile, and in combination with our essential oils, provides a high antioxidant capacity that can help honey bees mitigate everyday stress.
As with everything in life, you get out what you put in. Higher quality ingredients will yield a higher quality of life for your bees. When you consider the long term health of your hives, quality and consistency will always trump a quick fix.
Thanks for reading!