Soy Questions:

I'm using HoneySoy brand soy flour (~25% by wt of the dry ingredients) with spray dried brewers yeast (~25%), white sugar (50%) and natural bee collected pollen (~5%) and an arbitrary amount of water to make patties for supplying protein supplement to hives of honeybees used for pollination of crops.

The sugar and pollen function mainly as attractants and the water is to make the mixture into a mud-like consistency to form patties.

There is quite a bit published on honey bee nutrition, however there seems to be no one clear specification of an ideal diet. I suppose the reasons are that unless the bees are confined, they have a way of collecting their own components to add to any supplied diet and also the nutritional condition of the bees going into the experiments has a bearing, since the nurse bees can deplete their own body reserves of essential nutrients to feed the young.

Confining bees has a way of changing their behavior and consequently their nutrient requirements. I.e. normally honey bees fly long distances; when caged, they cannot.

Flying may consume different nutrients and compounds than idleness. Also at some times of year bees generate wax from their bodies to make honeycombs. At other times they do not. Moreover, the bees can apparently synthesize some vital vitamins if they have other necessary components, so the problem of determining an ideal is somewhat recursive.

Anyhow, that was provided as way of background. My questions are:

1. Since we are using HoneySoy at present, we are concerned whether the product is toasted to destroy proteolytic enzyme inhibitors (trypsin inhibitors) or not. I am not sure if this important for insects, since this is apparently a factor for 'higher animals'. Some of the reading I have done indicates this as being an important specification for bee feed and I am unable to see anything about toasting in the specs I received indirectly from the manufacturer.

2. I am a bit concerned about the low amount of oil (~1%) remaining in the solvent processed flour. My texts specify ~5% as being ideal, and the HoneySoy is much lower. I wonder if I can't just add it back using soy or Canola oil in my feed? Does grocery store soy oil contain all the lipids that are removed in processing, or is it further refined?

3. I wonder about shelf life of HoneySoy. The specs say 6 months to a year. What specific deterioration is likely to occur in dry storage at room temperatures? Does the protein break down? Vitamins? Lipids? Other? About how much in percentage? Is one year old product at a predictable percentage level of new product in nutrient value? How do I know how old the product is?

4. A manufacturer of bee supplementary feeds told me that there is some remaining hexane -- or hexane smell -- in solvent processed flour that is repulsive to bees. I wonder how much -- if any -- hexane remains in the HoneySoy flour? I can't imagine the levels would be detectable. Are they?

5. Is expeller processed soy flour available anywhere in North America?

I'll appreciate any insights that anyone can supply on any of these questions.


Allen Dick