How Probiotics Pay Off

Economic Analysis of Honeybee DFM

Direct Fed Microbials (SuperDFM Honeybee) is a microbial source containing beneficial bacteria yeast and enzymes which support the honeybee immune system. DFM are applied directly on the top bars of brood frames to target nurse bees which will inoculate larvae and young baby bees through trophallaxis.

Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) stimulate the honeybee immune system which correlates to elevated levels of host defense antimicrobial peptides. Anti-microbial substances excreted by beneficial bacteria known as microbialites, suppress disease pathogens such as Chalkbrood caused by the fungus Ascophaera apis; European Foulbrood (EFB) pathogen Melissococcus plutonius; American Foulbrood (AFB) caused by spore forming Paenibacillus larvae ssp., the microsporidian parasite Nosema ceranae and the widespread adult honeybee disease Nosema apis.

Potential honeybee benefits:

Elevated levels of LAB correlate to lower levels of Nosema spores

  • Spore reduction direct relationship with adult bee longevity
  • 10% reduction in winter dead-outs
  • More winter bees for stronger spring pollination and splits

DFM directly suppress Chalkbrood

  • Reduced brood stress leads to faster hive build up
  • Lower Chalkbrood infection reduces risk of neighboring hive contamination
  • Stronger, healthier nucleus colonies

Antimicrobial peptides suppress EFB and AFB

  • DFM reduce antibiotic use – less cost, less resistance
  • Fewer hives destroyed
  • Less cross contamination from hive equipment and tools
  • Healthier hives = faster inspections

Potential economic benefits:

A well-managed, mature business should be able to generate annual gross revenues of at least $200 per colony after expenses are calculated (fuel, labor, etc.). Following the recommended cadence for DFM dose treatment at 40 cents per treatment every 90 days, the total annual cost per hive is $1.60 plus labor. Based on a 3-year microbial economic analysis, the economic benefits of healthier, DFM fed bees are roughly 3% of total revenue due to fewer dead outs and strong, healthy hives.

Estimate of 3% economic benefit generation:

3% x $200 = $6 of economic benefit derived from an input of $1.60 + labor per hive

10k hives x $6 = $60k

Input costs – $16k (DFM) + $16K (Labor) = $32k

$60k – $32k = $28k additional annual revenue per 10 thousand hives – covering costs of labor.

Assuming a 10% reduction in dead outs (1,000 hives) → $200k

$200k +$28k = $228k generated


SuperDFM Honeybee is a very profitable probiotic supplement capable of inhibiting current and future outbreaks of bacterial and fungal pathogens that plague honeybee health. Following the recommended application cadence, a potential 3% in additional annual revenue per hive is generated. SuperDFM Honeybee can be used at any time of the year, including nectar flow.

Safe for bees, beekeepers and produces clean, anti-biotic free honey.

Supporting Science

Author: Jennifer Gordon

Honeybee Research Scientist, Farmer

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