Scientists and beekeepers undertaking a three-year study into the mixed blend seaweed bee nutrition tonic, KōBEE, are impressed with the early results from Phase 1 of the project and will now move into Phase 2 involving a wider cross-section of beekeeping activities nationwide.
While it is still too early for official results to be published, which is not expected until after Phase 2 is completed in 2020, researchers are already seeing a noticeable improvement in bee health and hive strength as compared with hives not receiving the bee nutrition tonic.
“We noticed the brood strength increased dramatically in hives we fed with KōBEE and then returned to normal when we stopped feeding,” explains lead researcher and managing director of BuzzTech, Julian McCurdy. “This indicates that beekeepers may be able to control the brood strength by using this tonic.”
Commissioned by New Zealand Seaweeds, creator and manufacturer of the KōBEE Bee Nutrition tonic, independent apiary research and monitoring agency, BuzzTech has been working alongside New Zealand Manuka Group beekeepers measuring and monitoring numerous hives across four different locations – half were fed straight sugar syrup and half received the KōBEE supplement added to the sugar syrup.
Technical & Environmental Manager, Kath Coopey, is also “conservatively pleased” with the early results but looking forward to seeing if Phase 2 will verify this data.
“The purpose of this research is to provide independent proven results as to what KōBEE is actually doing for bees and the hives,” says Kath. “It’s about getting carefully measured results so that we can prove the claims we make about our product.”
“BuzzTech is now selecting commercial beekeepers to test the effectiveness of the tonic across a broader range of beekeeping environments and activities including pollinators, honey producers and breeders.This will form Phase 2 of our research which is expected to run for two years.”
Kath Coopey has been working with and studying seaweeds for over 30 years, becoming one of the leading seaweed scientists in New Zealand.It was through her research and direction that New Zealand Seaweeds has now been able to produce the award-winning KōBEE Bee Nutrition formula which is exceeding beekeepers expectations throughout the country.
National Beekeeping Manager for New Zealand Manuka Group, Hein Wait, has been using the formula since it was first trialled three years ago, “We are part of a pathogen program and the measurements include Noseama spore testing - our levels are always very low, far below the national average. Our bees are very happy and a pleasure to work with.
“We supplement feed our hives in the autumn and spring with Kobee and the hives winter strong and build up very quickly in the spring. If there was a perfect supplement feed it would be Kobee!”
A beekeeper himself, Julian McCurdy also expresses how much stronger he has noticed the colonies in the trial hives as compared with the control set.
“Normally when you go through the hives in winter it is pretty disappointing as the bees look weak and sad.
“We went through the hives in June and the trial set, which were fed KōBEE, were vigorous and happy and their temperament was calmer too.The bees were on top of the frames, they were building up and overflowing which was impressive.
“And this was not just on the odd hive that we saw this but on every single one of the trial hives.”