Oct. 4, 2021

Seaweed, HiveAlive and Honey Bees with Dara Scott (S4, E16)

Seaweed, HiveAlive and Honey Bees with Dara Scott  (S4, E16)

Today, we talk with Dara Scott of Advanced Science out of Galway, Ireland, makers of HiveAlive. Off the west coast of Ireland grows a variety of see borne plants, commonly called sea weeds, that have evolved defenses against their biotic pests that...


Today, we talk with Dara Scott of Advanced Science out of Galway, Ireland, makers of HiveAlive.

Off the west coast of Ireland grows a variety of see borne plants, commonly called sea weeds, that have evolved defenses against their biotic pests that live in the ocean. Bacteria, antifungal organisms and other biotic pests are well controlled by these seaweeds. Farmers have taken advantage of the defenses these plants have developed and are feeding sea weeds and sea weed extracts to their land-based animals to take advantage of these sea borne benefits against land-based pests.

Land based pests generally have no immunity to the defenses produced by a sea borne organism, and the effect has been incredible for dairy, horses, fish and now, honey bees

HiveAlive is a mix of several sea weed extracts, along with added lemon grass oil and thymol. Research indicates the extracts work very well to deal with spores of Apis cerenae, chalkbrood, and helps boost the immune system of the bees so they are better able to deal with the other pests haunting our bees at present. Moreover, the plants these compounds are extracted from are sustainable and renewable, so supply and over harvesting is not an issue.

Listen as we talk with Dara about seaweed extracts and how you can leverage their benefits as part of your overall hive management strategy.

Links and websites mentioned in this podcast:

Honey Bee Obscura

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This episode is brought to you by Global Patties! Global Patties is a family business that manufactures protein supplement patties for honey bees. Feeding your hives protein supplement patties will help ensure that they produce strong and health colonies by increasing brood production and overall honey flow. Global offers a variety of standard patties, as well as custom patties to meet your specific needs. Visit them today at http://globalpatties.com and let them know you appreciate them sponsoring this episode! 

We welcome Betterbee as sponsor of today's episode. BetterBee’s mission is to support every beekeeper with excellent customer BetterBeeservice, continued education and quality equipment. From their colorful and informative catalog to their support of beekeeper educational activities, including this podcast series, BetterBee truly is Beekeepers Serving Beekeepers. See for yourself at www.betterbee.com

Thanks to Strong Microbials for their support of Beekeeping TodayStrong Microbials Podcast. Find out more about heir line of probiotics in our Season 3, Episode 12 episode and from their website: https://www.strongmicrobials.com

2 Million Blossoms

We want to also thank 2 Million Blossoms as a sponsor of the podcast. 2 Million Blossoms is a quarterly magazine destined for
your coffee table. Each page of the magazine is dedicated to the stories and photos of all pollinators and written by leading researchers, photographers and our very own, Kim Flottum.

HiveAlive is the #1 feed supplement for honeybees worldwide. HiveAlive has been proven to give more bees, more honey, improved overwinter survival and improved intestinal wellbeing. It contains a unique blend of seaweed extracts, thyme and lemongrass. Whilst it is unusual for bees to be fed seaweed, the practice of adding seaweed to other animal feed is long established. Seaweeds are fed to animals for multiple benefits such as productivity, general health, gut health, immune function and nutrition. As well as providing multiple benefits for the bees, HiveAlive is super easy to use and also prevents syrup from fermenting. Simply add just 2 tsp of our concentrated formula per gallon of syrup.
 
Due to demand from beekeepers, we have also created HiveAlive Fondant Patty. This gives all the benefits of HiveAlive in a ready to feed sugar fondant with added vitamins & amino acids. The patties are individually sealed meaning they won't dry out and are thin to allow easy placement close to the cluster. These patties are ideal for feeding colonies over winter and for emergency feeding of colonies.
 
Ask for HiveAlive and our new HiveAlive Fondant Patty at your local beekeeping store or find it online at https://usa.hivealivebees.com/. Listeners of the podcast can claim a special discount online using the code "BTP" at the checkout. 

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We hope you enjoy this podcast and welcome your questions and comments: questions@beekeepingtodaypodcast.com

Follow Beekeeping Today Podcast today!

Thanks to Bee Culture, the Magazine of American Beekeeping, for their support of The Beekeeping Today Podcast. Available in print and digital at www.beeculture.com

Bee Culture Magazine

Thank you for listening! 

Podcast music: Young Presidents, "Be Strong"; Musicalman, "Epilogue". Original guitar background instrumental by Jeff Ott

Beekeeping Today Podcast is an audio production of Growing Planet Media, LLC

Growing Planet Media, LLC

Transcript

S4, E16 – Seaweed, HiveAlive and Honey Bees with Dara Scott

[music]

Jeff Ott: Welcome to Beekeeping Today Podcast, presented by Bee Culture. Beekeeping Today Podcast is your source for beekeeping news, information and entertainment. I'm Jeff Ott.

Kim Flottum: I'm Kim Flottum.

Introduction: Hey, Jeff and Kim. Today's sponsor is Global Patties. They're a family-operated business that manufactures protein supplement patties for honeybees. It's a good time to think about honeybee nutrition. Feeding your hives protein supplement patties will ensure that they produce strong and healthy colonies by increasing brood production and overall honey flow.

Now is a great time to consider what type of patty is right for your area and your honeybees. Global offers a variety of standard patties, as well as custom patties to meet your needs. No matter where you are, Global is ready to serve you out of their manufacturing plants in Airdrie, Alberta and in Butte, Montana, or from distribution depots across the continent. Visit them today at www.globalpatties.com.

Jeff: Thanks a lot, Global Patties, and thanks Sherry. Hey, each week we get to talk about how much we appreciate our sponsor's support, and you know we'd rather get right into talking about beekeeping, but our super great sponsors are critical to making all this happen. From hosting fees, to software, to hardware, microphones, recorders and transcripts, they enable each episode.

With that, thanks to Bee Culture Magazine for continuing their presenting sponsorship for this podcast. Bee Culture has been the Magazine for American beekeeping since 1873. Subscribe to Bee Culture today.

We also want to thank 2 Million Blossoms that sponsor this episode. 2 Million Blossoms is a quarterly magazine dedicated to protecting all pollinators. Learn more on our Season 2 Episode 9 podcast with editor, Kirsten Traynor, and from visiting www.2millionblossoms.com. That is with a number 2. Also, check out the new 2 Million Blossoms, the Podcast, also available on her website or from wherever you download and stream your shows.

Hey, everybody. Thanks a lot for joining us. We're really, really happy you're here. Hey, Kim. Welcome to October. I can't believe it's fall already.

Kim: Yes, it's fall. Cool. Finally. A long hot summer. The nice thing is I'm surprised the cool weather didn't stop the golden run flow. In fact, I think the golden run flow is a little stronger now that it cooled off. I'm not sure. Although when I look later this week, but I can smell it more now than I could before.

Jeff: Oh, that's great. That's great. It's fall here too, it just started raining. It'll probably rain now through to next March.

Kim: You've got a boat?

Jeff: [chuckles] It's used to raining here. It disappears pretty quickly, but it just stays wet, so there's nothing blooming right now. The bees are searching everything, even under the hummingbird feeders and everything else. I always feel bad for the bees at this point of the year. Hey, Kim, remember the Grow New York competition? We have one of its finalists on back in Season 2 Episode 7, I think. It was Complex, a company that was set up by a Varroa zapping laser system in their hive.

Well, as you recall, Grow New York is a food innovation and agricultural technology business challenge focused on enhancing the emerging food, beverage and agricultural markets and it's an innovation cluster there in Central New York, the Finger Lakes, and Central tier regions of the state according to their website. This year, another one of our guests made the finalist cut.

Remember Episode 12 that we released at the beginning of August, we talked to Beemunity CEO, James Webb about their microparticle detoxification to protect honeybees from pesticides?

Kim: Yes. I'm very interested in that product and I think a lot of other beekeepers are going to be. It doesn't surprise me that they've gotten some attention for this product. I'm looking forward to having it available.

Jeff: It's pretty exciting. I'm happy to hear that they are receiving the recognition, I should point out. Hopefully, they go on and win. They definitely could use the award money to further the research and make it into a useable product for beekeepers.

Kim: I wish them luck.

Jeff: Honeybee Obscura is doing really good. You guys are working really hard getting those weekly episodes out. You've had some good fall episodes.

Kim: Coming up, we've got some-- Well, I guess you'd call them fall episodes. We've got one on fall feeding and one on winter wrapping. We've got one on invasive plants. That came to the fore here recently with some of the things going on with the government and--

Jeff: Chinese tallow, right?

Kim: Thank you. Yes, Chinese tallow. [laughs] Then we've got another one on what do you do when you run into a beekeeping friend who's-- Look, beekeeping in the face and was wondering if maybe he doesn't want to do it anymore. Is there something you can do to make that better or different or something? We call it waxing and waning because I think all of us go through that every once in a while. You just get to a spot and you're just tired and it hurts and you don't want to do it anymore. What do you do?

Jeff: Varroa don't help either.

Kim: [chuckles] They never help.

Jeff: [chuckles] No. Have you been reading anything interesting lately?

Kim: There's a new book out, Jeff, by Keith Delaplane. I don't know if you remember back here about 20 years ago, Keith and Dan Mayer out of Washington put together a book on crowd pollination by bees, evolution to college e-conservation management. Keith has now updated that for a second edition. I've got a review here if you'd like to hear it.

Jeff: Yes, let's listen to it.

Kim: All right. Dr. Delaplane has updated the insect pollination work he and Dan Mayer did just over two decades ago. This is without a doubt a very comprehensive and detailed look at essentially the entire aspect of the relationship between bees and plants. Now, that's saying a lot, because there's a lot there, but he does a good job of covering it, I think. This is for all of the bees and all of the plants that bees pollinate. Moreover, it brings into play the role that humans play in the seed and food-producing activity.

There's 11 chapters in this textbook, because it is a textbook, for both scientists and the rest of us I guess with a large selection of photos and drawings of bees, flowers, equipment and more to illustrate the content of each chapter. There are also many charts and graphs that detail what may appear to be very different aspects of these diverse individuals together.

He's bringing together things that people don't normally think should be brought together or hadn't thought about being brought together, and it shed some light on both sides of this equation. Evolution of both plants and bees is explained and described. This is the basic biology of bees. that would be all the bees that are involved in the world of pollinating plants.

11 families of bees are examined, showing both physical and nesting behaviors, and how they play a role in and what flowers they pollinate.

Just over 70 species of crop plants have their flowering systems examined and what kind of pollination they need, along with their dependence on the pollinators that visit them. This gives good background when working with growers and understanding how a crop produce. If you're a pollinator or thinking of one, cardinal rule is know the crop better than the farmer.

It goes without saying, when he asks you a question, you have to not only have the answer, but another question for him so that he knows you understand what's going on. Following these estimates of the value of pollinators for various crops in a global scale, and here's some numbers. There's a 20-page section on managing honeybees for pollination, including global numbers of managed colonies for the 20 most populous countries. Where do you think the US falls on that scale of the 20 most populous countries for bees and pollinators and numbers of hives? What would you guess?

Jeff: Fifth?

Kim: Well, you're actually not very far away. The US is number 10 [laughs] on this list. India is number one with just over 13 million colonies. The US has almost three million. You can see the difference in the size. Number 20 is Serbia with just under a million colonies. You can see where it goes from just under a million to just over 13 million. The remainder of this chapter covers the beekeeping basics that commercial pollinators will find useful.

That includes moving hives, timing, spacing, competing bloom and other topics that you have to deal with. This is where knowing more about the crop than the grower is, because you'll be able to ask about the competing crops and weeds and what other things are going along. Then Keith put in a long close look at managing bumblebees, including biology, queen breeding, raising colonies and using for pollination.

This is followed by looking at managed solitary bees. Here, think of the alfalfa leafcutters or also the alkali bees or the orchard mason bees too. Keith finishes with chapters on using wild bees and stingless bees in an operation and what would be needed for habitat and protection. If you're already a commercial pollinator or you want to become one, or simply want to know much more about the art, science and business of pollination with bees, this book should be on your shelf within easy reach. There's a lot of good information here.

Jeff: It sounds like a great read. I look forward to getting a copy of that. Well, Kim, coming up, we have our conversation with Dara Scott from HiveAlive.

Kim: I've got to say one thing. He's dealing with seaweed and feeding bees with seaweed and the first thing I thought of was didn't we just talk about bananas, feeding bananas, so seaweed and bananas. I'm going to, I'm eager to talk to him. I got to find out what this is about.

Jeff: It's quite the salad for our honey bees. Let's get right into that, but first, a quick word from our forensic Strong Microbials.

[music]

Sponsor: Hello, beekeepers, your honeybees face a lot of challenges out there. Unbalanced food sources from monoculture crops, holding yards, drought, food, shortages, antibiotics, pesticides, and pathogens like chalkbrood. To overcome these challenges, your bees need the multiple bacteria that are in all nectar, pollens, and the environment. These bacteria aid, honeybees' digestion, and improve your honeybees' response and resilience to pesticides.

Now you can help improve your honey colony health with a quick, easy and safe-to-use product. Strong Microbials, SuperDFM honeybee uses naturally occurring bacteria to restore the healthy gut biome of your honeybees. Check them out today at wwwstrongmicrobials.com.

Jeff: Hey, while you're at the strong microbial site, make sure you click on and subscribe to their hive, their regular newsletter, full of interesting information and product updates. Hey, everybody, welcome back. Sitting across the virtual Zoom table right now from us is Dara Scott. He is the CEO director of advanced science, the manufacturer of the product hive alive. Dara, welcome to beekeeping today podcast.

Dara Scott: Thanks very much a pleasure to be here.

Kim: Yes, it's nice to meet you finally, Dara.

Jeff: It's evening there in Ireland. Where in Ireland are you?

Dara: Galway? It's the west coast of Ireland, middle west, the wetest place in Ireland you could live. It's the nicest place in Ireland you could live.

Jeff: The wetest place. We'll have to compare notes sometime with Seattle.

Dara: I've been to Seattle. Seattle's a million times drier than-- I used to work on research boats in out of Seattle. It was always dry and I would get back home with the rain.

Jeff: You must have been here during the summertime.

Dara: To be fair I was.

Jeff: No, that's fair. That's good. We welcome you to the show, we invited you to the show before you became a-- you sponsored a couple podcasts, so we appreciate your sponsorship, but you have a unique product and the fall is a great time of year to start considering supplement colonies and getting them strong through the winter here in the states. We wanted to get you on the show to talk about your product HiveAlive.

Dara: Great. I'm delighted at any opportunity to talk about it?

Kim: Dara, and looking at what, we will need back up, let's start with you. What's your background in bees and beekeeping?

Dara: I'm beekeeping over 20 years now. I started bee-- I went to New Zealand. I was living in New Zealand for nearly year, and I saw it everywhere there, it's quite popular New Zealand. Even before the Minuka rush was going on, but you could see hives everywhere. You don't see them at home in Ireland anywhere, really. They're all hidden behind ditches and walls and stuff.

I think people are afraid they're going to vandalize or something. Whereas in New Zealand you could see them. I said, that's pretty cool. I wanna check that out when I come back. I came back to Ireland and joined a beekeeping club and I decided to keep bees. Was the beekeeper for summer. You found a small cluster of bees on a bridge and it was a cast worm actually, and that was it, started off with that and kept going from there.

Kim: Unlike a whole lot of other people who keep bees now. It's nice to know that you're right. You got off on the right foot. How did that take you to working on the product that you've got? What were you looking at, trying to solve when you started looking at this?

Dara: I was working with marine research at the time and did that involved, like I mentioned a second ago, going to see and going to sea for long periods of time in a month at a time. I was getting tired of it, and I was looking for something that I was passionate about, which was beekeeping, it's beekeeping. I started thinking about what can I do for beekeeping?

What do most people do make honey or breed bees or whatever, but they really, in the west of Ireland, the weather is so fickle that you just you just couldn't do it. It's not sustainable. I was looking at other options, and then I was looking at what was going on at the time, Nosema ceranae had become reasonably newly discovered, although it was around for a lot longer and people realized, and I was looking at that and looking at what could be done about that.

I spent basically about three or four years researching and into the disease, what could be done about the disease and started developing from there, working with the, in particular with the university here in Galway, the national university of Ireland, Galway.

Jeff: The beekeepers, and other Beekeepers finding a problem and solutions coming up with a solution on their own that's really good.

Kim: About that tell us what the solution is. What was the product that you ended up developing?

Dara: HiveAlive, it's a feed supplement for honeybees. We spent a long time developing it. The key ingredient in it is seaweed extracts. We have a special process patent process for extracting the actives and seaweeds. When I started doing this, seaweeds were just starting to get popular in animal feeds. Now they're now they're quite popular in animal feeds, especially in animal production around the world.

At the time I was very Ireland is one, Ireland and Canada are the two top place in the world on seaweed, seaweed for feed, seaweed extraction, the whole technology behind seaweeds. I partnered up with some people who were really top world-class people on seaweed and said, this could, in particular, said, look, this is what's going on with the bees.

This is this, in particular, focusing on Nosema, and general bee health, but Nosema was the key focus and said, what can we do? We tried a bunch of combinations. We did work in Italy. We did work in the Czech Republic and eventually settled on a formula that include the thyme lemon grass as well. That's how we started developing it.

Kim: This Nosema ceranae you were looking at, right?

Dara: Yes, because apis was around a long time and fumagillin at the time, it's not allowed in Europe anymore, but if fumagillin was the time were able to handle apis and it wasn't really a big problem. Whereas ceranae, is it's funny in the States, it's not seen as a big problem in Europe, it's seen as a big problem. I don't know how that happened in the US, it's like, well if they don't die from it, so it's okay.

I'm still a very firm believer that if there's a couple of million spores in your gut and they're piercing epithelial cells, your gut and burst them open destroying them, that's not a good thing. That's really, the whole idea was get ceranae under control, which what our product helps, but also helps. Sea weed extracts are also antibacterial. They are also immune stimutory and general overall bee health is what we're looking at.

That's what helps the bees have pathogen levels that are lower in the colony that's maintaining the colony health. As a result of that, they end up being more productive, being healthier, surviving winter better, and making more honey and more bees.

Kim: With Nosema ceranae here, you're right. It seldom kills colonies. I'm not going to say it doesn't, but what it does is it challenges the bee's immune system, and that allows that weakened immune system allows other things to come and challenge the be even further viruses being a big part of it. What you're doing, what HiveAlive does then is it reduces the influence of Nosema ceranae on the bee which allows the bee to better handle these other problems they have.

Dara: To be honest, we developed around that. It actually does more stuff. We have data now to show it, it's actually beekeeper told us about chalk brew that it's top chocolate in the country, but also we know we've done in vitro test to show it will stop the spores of fall brew going on as well. It's got other advantages for sure. The whole idea is you're dead, right? If are doing fine, there's loads of food surround won't affect that much because they can themselves and they can heal themselves, they do fine, but there's loads of data show they're under, stress, there's no food, pesticides, viruses, all these things. If your gut walls is compromised, it's not good.

These published data show that if you have survive, these things will affect you more. I believe it was when apis was around you sometimes they died out, but these were less productive when they had apis they were sick, whereas ceranae is more aggressive and around for a longer period of time in the season. It's always affecting them, not just overv winter, like apis used to be. During the whole summertime, when your bees are out working hard, they're also being, having compromised. Their health has been compromised.

Jeff: It's flying around with a upset stomach the entire time or just some intestinal. You're just not getting the nutrients from the food that you should.

Dara: Yes. You can't absorb it properly. To replicate this, Nosema ceranae basically put those DNA into the epithelial cell, the gosh, it then replicate uses the energy from the epithelial cell to replicate and then burst that cell open.

[music]

Sponsor: BetterBee is pleased to sponsor today's episode of beekeeping today podcast. For over 40 years BetterBee has supplied beekeepers across the country with the tools, equipment, and knowledge needed to succeed. Because many BetterBee employees are be keepers themselves they understand your needs and challenges and are better prepared to answer your beekeeping questions.

From their colorful catalog, to their support of beekeeper educational activities, including this podcast BetterBee truly lives up to their tagline of beekeepers, serving beekeepers. See for yourself@betterbee.com.

Kim: I bought your product now and it is beefing up my bees, if you will making them healthier and more productive. Am I feeding this all year long spring fall? What's the regimen for feeding this product?

Dara: The best time to feed is the autumn time the fall. There's a couple reasons for that. One, is you fed them, they're stored it. They'll be eating it for a longer period of time so it's protecting their gut. The second reason is that we know that the product will also break down spores. If it's being stored in the comb, you're also breaking down the spores in the comb so you're sort, essentially sterilizing your comb as well at the same time.

That's the best time to do it so it has the best long term effect, but also we've seen data that shows spring is also very good. Feeding it randomly during the summertime I think it's not going to really make a big difference. What we do say though, as well is in the springtime you can also do which is quite good is a drench where you can use a higher concentrations, it's on the bottle. You can use a higher concentration drench them once a week for three weeks, and that makes a big difference to their productivity for bees as well.

Kim: You're doing that in the fall the drech?

Dara: The drech is generally in spring when there's very little brood, the least amount of brood possible.

Jeff: Early spring.

Kim: Can I do this when I've got honey suprax on?

Dara: You can all the ingredients are safe. They're food safe. You can eat them, but it is going to probably taint the honey and give a different smell so I wouldn't recommend it. We say on the bottle stop feeding two weeks before you put suprax on. In the same way you don't want to get sugar syrup in your suprax you don't get sugar syrup with HiveAlive in your syrup in your suprax.

Kim: All right. How much am I feeding? I'm feeding in the fall how much am I feeding?

Dara: That really depends. The trials that we've done generally there are gallon, four litres is a gallon, a gallon in the autumn and a gallon in the spring. I'm biased, but I wouldn't feed syrup without it. The more you feed the more benefits you will get and it's all like, if you only feed for a gallon of syrup then that's perfect, but if you're feeding 10 gallons and only one gallon has the HiveAlive, it's not going to be as effective as if you did the whole amount of feed with the HiveAlive.

Kim: What about if I'm making splits and I've got a good colony, but I'm going to make two smaller colonies out of it. Would this help those two colonies?

Dara: It'll help any colony. By the way, just as I add for that last point. You're better off feeding, if you're only gonna feed four gallons, so you feed you feed 10 you only have enough for four gallons make up that four gallons. Don't dilute it into 10 gallons because it won't be as efficacious. If you start diluting it the concentration would be strong enough. That's an important point I should have said it on the outset.

It works all the time. It's just I suppose the best benefits are when you're doing it the Omni feed for the longest, longest period time so eating it for the longest period of time, but syrup isn't ideal. I know everyone, but mostly keepers feed syrup, but it's not the ideal to be feeding bees. For no other reason, it ferment quite quickly and that's one thing that HiveAlive stops the syrup from doing.

If you make up syrup, for instance, in the autumn and and you've some left over, you can keep the springtime and it's not gonna go off because HiveAlive is in it. Also it's not going to start fermenting in the combs if the cold snap comes in and haven't dried it all out and it off. The same thing when you're feeding splits or whatever, it's better. It has nutrients in there as well. It has different minerals different vitamins, stuff like that as well. That's not the key focus of what HiveAlive is about, but it does have those things.

It's also being shown be prebiotic as well. We're doing some work on some prebiotics totally separate project, and we've discovered that feeding HiveAlive two weeks between probiotics and HiveAlive two weeks apart that there's a synergistic effect. They actually work better than if they were on their own. That's because there's polysaccharide in the seaweeds that the good bacteria like to live off. Again, that's another side benefit of the HiveAlive not the key focus of what it's about.

Jeff: That's really interesting. You're talking about feeding it with sugar syrup. Is that the only way you can provide and give the HiveAlive product?

Dara: No, no. You can add it to protein party and you can add it to fondant. Both of them are easily add. The only main thing to watch out for there is not to have same as syrup, not to have the syrup too hot. You don't the syrup to be hot at it bright. Seaweed extracts are cold extracted simply the purpose that heat damages them. If your syrup is hot or your fondant is hot or you're making up with that is hot it's going to damage that stuff.

Actually we've just released in the US they're getting shipped out as of, I think it's today or tomorrow to customers fondant. We've made our own fondant with added vitamins and aminoacids specifically for bees. We launched it in Europe last year. It sold our pretty much immediately so didn't get a chance to over at states and time, but we're just launching it now.

They're prepacked their one kilo it's at 2.2 pounds. These flat pre-seed bags, it doesn't go off it doesn't out, just open a little bit, a little corner on the bottom the bag, put it over your crown board, over the hole in your crown board. The bees can go up and feed that which is working handy because there's nothing more depressing than opening up your colonies after the Winter time and finding other bees their bums sticking out to the comb because they've died of starvation and they couldn't get the last bits out of the comb and worse again is like they had food, but the food was too far away because it was cold they couldn't get to it.

They couldn't get to it. The fondant deals of that so they have food and they have food, if they don't have they'll be taking the fondant down you can see that because the bag is clear, but on top of that the food is directly over the cluster. It means that the bees always have access to very close to them as well. It gets of the winter and then even more importantly, again is early spring when they start ring out food and all the frames out to the edges are the only food at the very ends of the colony.

Put that bag on, they got access to food so if it gets cold or they start ring out of food and it gets cold, they get clustering again, they have to food straight away and that's fondant. We just launched just launches and it's gone. We're nearly sold out of this stuff already, but very popular.

Jeff: I want to go back to the product origination, why seaweed what made you think of seaweed and what about seaweed works for the honeybees?

Dara: I'd be honest. I was dead lucky about seaweed. It was a friend of mine I knew who knew this guy who I ended up working with in the end doing this. He said, why don't you think about because he knew he was doing stuff with animal feeds. Why don't you talk to this guy? As soon as I talked to him was like, oh, this is interesting. Our main reason is that seaweed first of all are very bioactive, lots and lots stuff going on them.

Also land-based pathogens haven't evolved to defend against seaweed. It's totally different for them. It's something totally new. We're coming at it from left field if you imagine and it's quite unique that way. Seaweeds themselves the antifungal, the antibacteria that they naturally have in them in large amounts. That just makes it perfect for this application. It's using other like it's dairy industry using, in chicken industry it's using even actually feeding fish, believe don't normally see we, but fish and prawns and horses.

Horses in particular actually it's used because they just do better with it. With horses it's more like show jumpers, they perform better, but for like cattle and stuff like that, it said that they put on weight, they get sick less that thing.

Jeff: I did feed a seaweed based product for when I had horses and they did make a difference. It is interesting with seaweed also and I can't remember maybe our list, one of our listeners can correct me on this, but I do believe that I think recent that they've found that feeding certain type of seaweed adding it with the dairy cattle mixture reduces the amount of methane. Is that correct? M aybe I dreamt that.

Dara: No, I think it was the New Zealand research that did that. It's and they're still working on that. I think that's going to be going mainstream fairly soon.

Jeff: Really interesting. I was looking to your website, there's three different seaweeds or is it just seaweeds and algeas. I'm not sure the difference.

Dara: There's a range of different sea weeds in there and a range of different sea weed extracts and it's proprietary. I'd love to tell you, but I can't.

Jeff: You'd have to shoot me.

Dara: It's our own blend.

Jeff: No, I respect that.

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Kim: The seaweeds produce these products to protect themselves and their environment. What you're doing is, you're taking this protective material out of the sea and putting it on land, which is, I can see why land animals would have like zero resistance to it. I can believe that we're quite well. You're using more than one kind of seaweed. You've got a double whammy coming in there. Do you have an infinite amount of seaweed available?

Dara: We have plenty available for where we're at, yes, for the beekeeping space. It's not a problem and it's the same to be harvested as well in Ireland. We're good for that. Also seaweeds, since we've done this and I've seen it since, but when I developed a first but people have written into me since about it is, they've seen bees working on seaweed. I don't think it’s the solids like chewing on the seaweed which when I was developing, I didn't know that at the time, but I hadn't even seen it

Jeff: At one of our episodes, and I can't remember the exact number, but feeding bananas to bees. You can actually cut up bananas and put them on the top bars and put the suprax on top. It's really good for bees. Now, I can see people going out to the local tide pool and grabbing a handful of seaweed, plopping them on. Well, don't do that. It's really interesting. It's amazing. Like you said, it's renewable?

Dara: Yes. It's hard for sustainably. That's important to us. Actually to be honest, we're really trying to go down that route now, our first batch of 500 mil bottles have been made with post-recycled plastic bottles, bottles that are being plastic and out in the environment and made into new bottles, 100 mils are as well. We're working on the two liter and the 10 liter.

We're just trying to make ourselves, like the office is wind powered. We only have a recycling bin. We don't have like a black bin here in Ireland, the non-recycling bin. We're just trying to be as conscious of that stuff as possible.

Jeff: That's very cool.

Dara: By the way, bananas, bananas put on alarm pheromone, they smell nice when and mixed alarm pheromone.

Kim: You would think that, but I've tried it since we've talked to the person who did the research and they eat the inside and the skin and it's all gone.

Jeff: They said that the banana smells only like the alert, it's not the sting pheromone. That just wakes the bees up. Of course, you don't want to take a bath in banana juice.

Kim: I'm interested in, you've mentioned that when you have HiveAlive in the hive or where you fed your bees HiveAlive, that it inhibits the fungal growth or the growth of American foulbrood. If you have American foulbrood in your hive and you feed this, does it help cure the bees? What about the spores that have been produced?

Dara: I would say straight out of the outset, it's not a treatment for foulbrood. If you have foulbrood you would have to managed that in Ireland it's quite serious. I know in the states it's, in Ireland you burn the hive, that's what you do. I don't know what happens in the States, but again, the idea is to keep the pathogens level low. We know that it will stop the spores from replicating and germinating and that stuff.

It's breaking down the spore walls like it is for the seaweed spores. The spores are always around and it's really about there being the right amount of spores, the right amount of time of the colony we can offer for foulbrood to develop and become a problem. The whole idea again, is, you're storing this over the winter time. It's in the cells, it's sterilizing any spores that might be in cells.

As a result of that, you've got less pathogen. There's less foulbrood around. There's less Nosema around. There's less chalkbrood around. The beekeepers have told us that if you use HiveAlive, you pretty much don't get chalkbrood. Foulbrood is a tougher beast altogether. It keeps the levels low. That's the best way of looking at it, as opposed to, if I have it I can use HiveAlive. No, we haven't tried it, but I don't think it would work. I don't think it's going to manage. Don't even start talking about that.

Jeff: Well, it goes with the belief or the theory that if you have a healthy bee, then it's going to be able to ward off all pathogens better than a weaker bee.

Dara: 110% prevention’s better than cure. It's like someone described before as an insurance policy. If your bees are healthy or doing well, there's way less chance something comes around that they're going to be knocked back completely by it. If your bees are getting by and there's all posture levels building up and it's all stuff going on, something else comes in, the drought as whatever. Then the bees are going to be hit much harder than if they were healthy.

Kim: That's exactly right., I've written a couple of books over the years. One's coming out this fall called Common Sense Natural Beekeeping. I really wish I would've known about your product, because this is certainly something that people who are looking at, whatever you want to consider natural beekeeping to be, would be interested in. I can see that this will do well with that group of people.

Dara: True.

Jeff: When we do a review of your book on the podcast, Kim, we can use HiveAlive as an addendum.

Kim: Okay. We'll do that.

Dara: Perfect.

Kim: Well, what have we not talked about that we need to know about HiveAlive?

Dara: Give me a sec. I suppose the big thing about HiveAlive versus most other products out there, if not all is, we have lots of data to back it up. We have published data. The big trial is peer reviewed in journal paper, coastal research. We have lots of data to show that all this works. The other part is that, people look for quick fixes. It's not a quick fix. It does help a little bit in the short-term, but it's not this quick fix bang.

I put it in my bees are amazing, problems all gone. Don't worry about it again. The idea about this product is that you use it and overtime to be used to better and better. In the main big trial that we did, we did the trial over a year and a half, and you could see a difference after a year, for sure. After a year and a half, now they started off with Knox and some of that, but the colony population really increased.

It's embarrassing, how much increase nearly doubled. Nobody believes us, but that's the truth. That's what happened. Then we did another trial over a year in France. What was it? Like a 20% or 30% increase with that trial. Not as much within a longer period of time, but I'd say best case scenario is you're doubling your colony population over a year and a half, but in general, you're going to be getting 20 plus population increase and 5% high increase for a very small outlay of money.

The ball is quite small. The ball is very small, much smaller than say competing products. You'll use a small amount and it's quite concentrated. The buying for bulk of what you're putting in there and what you're getting out in return is like in animal feed, if you're in the dairy industry and you can say, oh, I can give you 20% more productivity, it’d be like, whoa, that's amazing. I got it all. It's just different in bees, I suppose. A small amount goes a long way, but it needs to be used consistently.

Kim: Well, it's definitely very interesting. The approaches, I find your approach taking something out of the sea and feeding it to bees, isn't the first thing I would have ever thought of. It seems to be working quite well. Congratulations, I should say. If nothing else, just being able to put two and two together and get five, and making it work.

Dara: Thanks very much. It's become quite scarese where we're in. We're like 45, 46 countries at this point in time, and still growing. It's great.

Kim: You must be doing something right.

Jeff: You just opened up a distributorship in United States, correct? That's new?

Dara: Yes. We've got a warehouse now in the US, we can sell directly to customers and get quicker out to retailers as well. It just makes it so much quicker and so much easier. Now, I suppose it's been very lucky too, I suppose, obviously a lot of people know with COVID and all that, there's the shipping delays being all over the place, and it's been difficult, but we've been able to manage that and keep on top of that this year, which is great. We can get product very quickly to people if they need it, which is nice.

Kim: If I'm a small scale bee supply dealer someplace. Could I get it from you to resell to my customers?

Dara: Oh, yes, for sure. Yes, yes, yes. The email info@hivealivebees.com. We will talk to anybody. We're delighted to have because it's nice to have as many places as possible. That's important. We don't want to just to be dealing with one or two big dealers.

Jeff: I think we're good. Dara, we really appreciate you taking time out of your evening to join us on Beekeeping Today podcast. Thank you for supporting us and the show. I think it's a wonderful product and it fits in really well with all types of beekeeping programs. Thanks, that's great.

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Dara: Thanks very much for the opportunity.

Kim: Nice having you here, Dara, thank you very much.

Dara: Thanks, it's great to talk with you guys Finally, Thanks very much for having me on. I really appreciate it.

Jeff: You bet. Are you ready to go start laying leaves of seaweed across your hive tops, Kim?

Kim: You look at the data on their webpage and you look at the research that they've done and the claims that they're making and it's all pretty solid. Interestingly enough it makes sense in that you've got seaweed producing antitoxins and things to protect itself that as land-based organisms have not ever experienced. I can see the logic of why it works so well. Then they add these other things, the lemongrass and the menthyl. He's got data. It's in how many countries? People must be liking it.

Jeff: I think it makes a lot of sense. I like the fact that it works also with other supportive supplements we can get. We know that the bees are stressed now for a number of reasons. A lot due to the global climate warming and changes that are going on. Anything we can do to help support our bees, beyond trying to plant more and do all that, I think this is helpful.

Kim: Yes. Like I said, I've got some. I'm going to try it this week. We'll see what happens.

Jeff: For our listeners, we were talking to Dara before and after our interview with him for the show. He's quite the experimental beekeeper himself. He does a lot of different types of beekeeping. We're going to have him back just to talk about what he's been doing with his bees there in Western Ireland.

Kim: That and the issues that they're having in a lot of places is bringing in bees from other places. They've developed their own strains to do well in Ireland, the native mellifera. They get to develop it and then people bring in bees from other places. They mix of course, like they're going to do. Then suddenly you've lost that strain that that you worked so long to get that did so well in that location. I can see his concern. He's going to talk about that also.

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Jeff: That'll be a good show. That'll be early next spring. Look forward to that episode. All right. That about wraps it up for this episode. Before we go I want to encourage our listeners to rate us five stars on Apple Podcast wherever you download and stream the show. Your vote helps other beekeepers find is quicker. Even better, write a review and let other beekeepers looking for a new podcast know what you'd like. You can get there directly from our website by clicking on reviews along the top of any web page.

As always, we thank Bee Culture, the magazine for American beekeeping for their continued support of Beekeeping Today podcast. We want to thank our regular episode sponsor Global Patties. Check them out www.globalpatties.com. We want to thank Strong Microbials for their support of the podcast. Check out their full Probiotic line at www.strongmicrobials.com. We want to thank Betterbee for joining us as a supporter. Check out all the great beekeeping supplies at www.betterbee.com.

We want to thank HiveAlive for their support of Beekeeping Today Podcast for the last six episodes. Finally, and most importantly, and truly, most importantly, we want to thank you the Beekeeping Today podcast listener for joining us on the show. Feel free to send us questions or comments to questions@beekeepingtodaypodcast.com. We'd love to hear from you. Anything else you'd like to mention Kim?

Kim: I think you covered it all, Jeff. Stand up, go for supper.

Jeff: Enjoy. Goodbye, everybody.

[00:44:51] [END OF AUDIO]

Dara Scott

Managing Director, HiveAlive

Dara holds a BSc from the National University of Ireland, Galway along with a Dip in Tech from the Galway Mayo Institute of Technology. Dara has 24 years experience in R&D, working with medical device companies, in R&D and QC engineering roles and managing research for the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution based in USA.

Dara's passion for all things honeybee related began with a trip to New Zealand over 20 years ago. He was hooked and set about getting his own hives but beekeeping on the west coast of Ireland was no easy feat! Dara was always interested in harnessing the power of nature and after realising there was nothing available on the market to help strengthen his colonies, he decided to develop something himself. Fast forward to now after years of R&D, HiveAlive is now the #1 feed supplement for honeybees worldwide.