Are bees omnivores, eating both plants and proteins? A USDA researcher says a bee’s diet is more than pollen and nectar, also containing fungi, bacteria and other microbes with amino acids; the building blocks of proteins.
“What we’ve done is establish that bees eat lots of microbe-derived proteins in their fermenting pollen provision. Most of that protein comes from a combination of bacteria and yeasts.”]
Researcher Shawn Steffin says naturally-occurring microbes within a bee brood’s provision, microbes with amino acids, appear to be an essential part of the bee diet.
“We’ve shown that if you take them away, the bees really suffer. And, it’s not just honey bees, but a variety of bees. So, the implications of this are that bees are not just omnivorous, but bees need microbial proteins. They need this external room in to complete their development and to thrive, and basically be more fit.”
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