U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, Nebraska




Date of this Version



Arch. Insect Biochem. Physiol. 2020;104:e21658. wileyonlinelibrary.com/journal/arch https://doi.org/10.1002/arch.21658


U.S. Government Works


Managed honey bee colony losses are attributed to a number of interacting stressors, but many lines of evidence point to malnutrition as a primary factor. Commercial beekeepers have become increasingly reliant on artificial pollen substitute diets to nourish colonies during periods of forage scarcity and to bolster colony size before pollination services. These artificial diets may be deficient in essential macronutrients (proteins, lipids, prebiotic fibers), micronutrients (vitamins, minerals), and antioxidants. Therefore, improving the efficacy of pollen substitutes can be considered vital to modern beekeeping. Microalgae are prolific sources of plant‐based nutrition with many species exhibiting biochemical profiles that are comparable to natural pollen. This emerging feed source has been employed in a variety of organisms, including limited applications in honey bees. Herein, I introduce the nutritional value and functional properties of microalgae, extrapolating to central aspects of honey bee physiology and health. To conclude, I discuss the potential of microalgae‐based feeds to sustainably provision managed colonies on an agricultural scale.