Club members: This is new information and may or may not work. This idea has come up during our club meetings and we wished to share it. Perhaps several of us try it and report back next Spring.
The following is from Steve Rudolph:
Using bananas to build up brood in the winter/early spring
I came across research by Katharina Davitt on the Facebook Group ‘Scientific Beekeeping’ about using bananas to build up brood using common cavendish bananas. I was somewhat skeptical at first, but after she published her research project with the University of Montana, I became interested enough to try it out. So I added one banana to each hive this winter. First you must wash the bananas to ensure there aren’t any fumigants or chemicals on them. I added one banana, cut in quarters to each hive, supplementing the winter patty and sugar cakes I had in every hive. I checked on the hives about a week later and sure enough, they had consumed the bananas in the stronger hives (peel and all). Some of the weaker hives had just the peels left in them. I was sold on the idea and continued to add one banana every week or so (whenever it was warm enough to check) to each hive. And my anecdotal research rang true. The hives all came out of winter stronger than in years past. I’m a believer. After all, why not spend 19 cents a pound for bananas rather than winter patties?
Excerpt from K. Davitt’s article on Facebook reads:
“Spring is almost here and bees will rear up. I did my final research project at the University of Montana on bananas and bee health. It is a real long story how it started, but let me sum it up. I talked to African beekeepers and they said that they feed bananas to their bees to increase brood and honey production. I was like what? Is there research supporting this? Actually there was. It is a common known thing in Africa and Asia. So I pulled all the research I could find. Some I had to translate online making it quite funny to read. So in my final project I put in my request and got shut down by my professor. He thought it was anecdotal. I fought for it and the other professor Dr. Dale Hill got interested. So I was allowed to continue but was warned that I will fail the class if I had nothing to show. I researched the components found within the banana peel and pulp to see what will help the bees. I found answers and finished my document. I received an A because I taught the professor something new. I followed up with a rear up study and found an 18 percent increase in brood. So here I share my documents for you to read.”
Link to research: