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An artificial diet for laboratory rearing of honeybees

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Journal of Apicultural Research
Vol. 25 (1) pp. 35-43
March 1986
Article Title

An artificial diet for laboratory rearing of honeybees


R. W. Shuel And S. E. Dixon


An artificial diet which simulates royal jelly and can be used for the rearing of honeybee larvae (Apis mellifera) is described. The diet is chemically defined except for protein from royal jelly; it also contains 10-hydroxy-2decenoic acid (10-HDA) from royal jelly. More than 60 perfect adults were reared on the diet. Survival was as high as for control bees reared on commercial royal jelly. Caste, as indicated by mandibles, hind legs and sting lancets, was more worker-like than for controls, but two queen-like individuals were obtained. Results of feeding trials involving variations from the standard formulation indicated rather specific requirements for some constituents. The water-insoluble protein fraction from royal jelly was sufficient of itself to support complete development, but the soluble fraction, with the same amino acid composition, was not. Larvae died early when fed on diets containing egg albumen or enzyme-hydrolysed casein, or when 5-6% of the protein complement was replaced by free amino acids. Both an inorganic and an organic phosphate source were necessary. Development was normal when half of the 10-HDA was replaced with 9 oxo-2-decenoic acid.


Laboratory rearing, Honeybees, Artificial Diet,

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