View Full Version : Pollen trap PLans

Chris L
03-19-2003, 11:02 AM
Hello, does anyone have plans besides the one on beesource for a good pollen trap. Also a good place to get the wire mesh need to make it

Michael Bush
03-19-2003, 11:40 AM
http://www.ag.uiuc.edu/~vista/html_pubs/BEEKEEP/CHAPT2/chapt2.html http://www.ag.uiuc.edu/~vista/html_pubs/BEEKEEP/CHAPT2/2-20.gif http://www.fao.org/docrep/w0076e/w0076e10.htm http://www.xs4all.nl/~jtemp/ChiliPolVal.html (this is in German but has some nice pictures)

Not sure where to find 5 mesh hardware cloth, but if you can find a good hardware store they should be able to order it if they don't have it in stock. The problem, of course, is they want to sell a whole roll if they have to order it. I haven't tried to find 5 mesh but they have 8 mesh at one hardware store that I know of here. Most didn't have anything except 4 mesh (1/4").

Jack Grimshaw
03-19-2003, 05:58 PM
I make a lot of my equipment to save money and because I enjoy working with wood.But I draw the line on complicated projects because I put a value on my time.You can't build a quality pollen trap like Lloyd Spear's "Sundance"pollen trap and be cost effective.Just finding the hardware cloth as Michael says,would be the biggest hassle.The "Sundance" ,I believe,has 5,7,8 and mesh drone escapes.There was a rumor that the plans were somewhere on the web.


Chris L
03-19-2003, 08:17 PM
Thakks for the replies..i guess if i cant find the cloth i will just order one. ant suggestions on whom to get one from for a reasonable price or should i just og ahead and pay the 60-70 for one from brushy or kelley..


John Seets
03-27-2003, 07:59 AM
I just ordered 2 Sundances from Lloyd Spear. Bee Culture mag ran a good article by Lloyd a couple years ago. I finally got around to ordering. I've never used a pollen trap before. I would appreciate any insights from those who have experience in this area. Like... What hive to put it on (strong or weak / new or establihed)? Does using it still allow the hive enough pollen for brood rearing. If so, how has this been verified? How long do you leave it on the hive? Maybe, leave it on one for a certaing amount of time and move it to another? This type of info/answers would be useful.


Michael Bush
03-27-2003, 09:52 AM
>I've never used a pollen trap before. I would appreciate any insights from those who have experience in this area.

I have not used one alot, but I have had one and used it before.

>Like... What hive to put it on (strong or weak / new or establihed)?

I would go for strong but not too strong. If it's too strong there's such a traffic jam at first!

>Does using it still allow the hive enough pollen for brood rearing.

No. You'll have to pull it off now and then to let pollen in.

>How long do you leave it on the hive?

I don't know if there's a standard (there may be) But I figure not more than two or three days on a hive and then give them a break for a couple of days. The other problem besides them getting pollen is the drones getting out. You could also leave an upper entrance that is big enough for a drone but not big enough for all the traffic and maybe the drones would find that exit. Of course if you have a queen excluder that won't work. You could also put a hole in the pollen trap large enough for a drone so some pollen gets in and the drones can get out.

>Maybe, leave it on one for a certaing amount of time and move it to another?

I'm not sure which I think is better. It takes the bees a few days to get really used to the trap. If you pull it off for a couple of days and put it back on the same hive then they adjust quicker. Moving between two hives might work, then they'd both be used to it. Rotating all of your hives I think would cause more disruption than alternating on two of them.
has more info.

04-11-2003, 08:22 PM
What is the consensus for the right opening, in thousands of an inch, in the wire for pollen traps?
A 5x5 mesh with a very thin wire (say 24 ga) might make an opening just under .2 in, but if the wire used is .035" the opening becomes .165"!!! which is less than 3/16".
I have the felling that when people talk about 5x5 they refer to a very thin wire, so I'm incline to think that an opening of close to .2" should be appropiate.
If so, one of the 4x4 mesh offered on the link below should work. there is one 4x4 with and opening of .203", made with a thick wire (.047", I believe) for $4.66 a sq ft, with minimum orders of either 12x12 in or 3 sq. ft.
Do you think this is the right stuff? http://www.bwire.com/gssg.htm

John Seets
06-24-2003, 05:38 AM

I wrote the following article for our association's newsletter for June this year. Hope it is helpfull. Feedback on other Sundance users would be welcome.

Evaluative Commentary

This year, I decided to expand my product offerings to include pollen. A couple years ago, I read an extensive article in Bee Culture by Lloyd Spear (designer and producer of the Sundance Pollen Trap). The upshot of his article was that for various reasons, his trap was the best on the market. I am surprised Flottum allowed the article as it was clearly a plug for Spear's trap couched with various unsubstantiated comparative facts about other available traps. This commentary does not dispute his claims as denoted in that article. What I want to do is to relate my observations thus far using the Sundance Pollen Trap for your consideration. I believe my observations are not marginal but definitive. Bear in mind, however, that my observations are based on 1 trap on 1 hive. A fairer assessment would be a number of traps on as many hives over several seasons.

I purchased 2 traps from Lloyd the end of March. Since our honey flow is historically slated to start around the 1st of April, that is when I installed them. I chose the 2 strongest hives in the apiary - ones that I usually evaluate (and usually are) to be my largest honey producers to put the traps on as recommended by Spear. The following describes the pros and cons of using this trap.

In the literature Lloyd sends with his traps, allow me to extract several of his claims for discussion purposes:

1) "… should not interfere with honey production or weaken the hive."

It does both. Brood production is markedly decreased as compared to hives of similar OR EVEN LESS strength than the hives on which the trap was installed. To date, the trap hive has produced NO surplus honey whereas other hives that were initially weaker have raised sufficient brood to product surplus.

2) "…two weeks have fully accepted the trap…"

Let me clarify something at this point before proceeding. As stated above, I put traps on 2 of my strongest hives. Lloyd stated that it takes about 2 weeks for the bees to get used to the trap. During this "initiation" period, the temperatures went down to a hard freeze once or twice. I subsequently found that on one of the trap hives, dead bees had clogged the escape screen cones. This as a result, forced the bees to exit the incoming maze that is used to remove the pollen. During this time and I suspect for this reason and others, this hive showed severely retarded development. I removed the trap from this hive after cleaning up the dead bee mess. The other hive seemed to adapt to the trap satisfactorily. The hive from which the trap was removed has since produced surplus honey.

3) "2 layers of 5 mesh screen make bees drop 50% of pollen."

Inspection of the brood frames of the trap and those of non-trap hives of comparable strength has shown that the figure Spear indicates is actually more than 50% - closer to 75 - 80%. I did NOT get the ruler out and measure square inches of pollen in the trapped and non-trapped hives at various intervals. This would have yielded objective data. However, counting frames with pollen in them or not, I found sufficient.

1) "…collecting 1 to 2 pounds daily is not uncommon".

This pollen trap DOES collect the pollen. During the periods where the weather has permitted the bees to forage, I had to empty the trap daily. One to two pounds is an accurate assessment.

2) "The traps screen exit cones are large enough to accommodate both drones and queens."

This last statement was from Lloyd during a phone conversation with him. Others have said that typical pollen traps do not allow drones to exit this hive. I cannot attest to this one way or the other as I have not compared the Sundance with another of different design. A possible down side to this is that even though the drones and queens can exit the hive, they cannot re-enter. This could be a problem should a virgin queen desire to re-enter the hive after a mating flight (Lloyd's words).

3) "Fortunately, the Sundance Pollen Trap accumulates little debris."

The 3/8" barrier on top of the trap called the "Luan" prevents debris from the brood chamber(s) above it from falling into the pollen drawer. I can't say that other types of traps do not incorporate this type of debris shield but I do know that the pollen I have removed from the drawer has been very clean requiring little if any additional processing for display and sale.

4) The trap can be turned "on" and "off" without removing it from the hive.

Others have claimed that many types of traps must be completely removed from the hive in order to no longer trap pollen. I cannot verify this one way or the other. The Sundance Pollen Trap design allows this to be accomplished without removing the trap from the hive. However, in a phone conversation with Lloyd, he indicated that you should not turn off the trap. Otherwise, this will result in a repetition of the of the massive hive entrance confusion that occurs when the bees are first starting to learn to navigate the trap.


This trap does a fine job of collecting plenty of clean, ready to sell pollen. I am selling 8oz for $10 each at a reasonably stiff pace. A one-pound honey jar will hold this amount. Health food stores on the average sell encapsulated pollen from undetermined sources, of unknown age and storage methods for $14 to $15 per half pound. This pollen is FRESH and from LOCAL sources. Important selling points.

Should you leave the trap turned "on" continuously, do not anticipate much if any surplus honey storage from this hive. Next year, I may turn the trap on for 4 days and off 3 days per week and see what happens with respect to brood rearing and honey storage.

Put the trap on after the last hard freeze to avoid dead bees clogging the exit cones while they are learning to navigate the trap. I may put both traps on 2 hives with a different on/off schedules to compare. If possible, I'll keep you appraised. Feel free to share your pollen trap experiences.

06-24-2003, 01:54 PM
I have used the Sundance pollen trap with relatively good success last year. I ended up with about 30 pounds of pollen using two traps. I have to disagree though about the debris. There is *some* in the pollen, but not as much as you would find in other traps. I found bits of wings, some legs mites and small dead ants. but these were sifted out easily with the bottom part of my strainer screen from Kelley's. After collecting the pollen I would store it in the freezer in an open , clean garbage bag till I was ready to sift it. I sold it to the health food stores for $7 / half pound. I have since been contacted by someone practically begging me for more pollen. She was buying it for 12.50 a pound for her dogs allergies!
I would not recommend closing and opening the trap at intervals. It gets too confusing for the bees and I believe it interrupts them too much. Lloyd is very good at answering his e-mails if you have any questions for him that haven't been answered on this thread.
One thing you must do is remove the traps for the winter. Otherwise they attract wax moths.
I'm beginning to think the pollen trap could easily become one of the "arts" of beekeeping. I tried putting one on this spring and just could not get the bees to bring the pollen in. But I'm the type that needs pictures to see how things go and maybe I just had it on wrong.I couldn't remember how I had it on last year.
I do know if I had a hundred pounds of pollen I could sell it now to some stores in the area and they'd probably be sold out pretty quickly.

John Seets
06-25-2003, 05:19 AM
Hi, Denise;
You are correct, I did actually have to pick out some wings, legs, etc. Actually found some stingers here and there. I also use the course strainer screen to get the small stuff out. However, the debris was minimal and looking at the amount of debris on top of the luan showed me how much more debris would have ended up in with the pollen if it hadn't been there.

Customers often come to me for pollen for allergies. It may be prudent to find out when their allergies seem to be the worst and give them pollen collected during that time period. For this reason, each "collection" gets dated and as you indicated, stored in the freezer in open bags (I use baggies) until ready to clean.

Can you evaluate how the pollen trap hives did with respect to surplus honey compared to other hives of comparable strength without a trap. Curious.

In spite of the potential for bee "relearning" confusion, I still think I will try an on/off schedule next year to see what happens. I'd like to see if the bees learn to adapt to the on/off change or exhibit equal "confusion" for the same length of time every time the trap is turned on or off.



06-25-2003, 05:43 PM
Just to amplify a bit on the marketing of pollen:
Initially I started to dry the pollen a bit so it wouldn't mold and because that's what everyone I talked to did . But it's just too labor intensive and the pollen really tastes *awful* when the nectar has been even slightly dried out of it. The stores I sold it to kept the pollen refrigerated so that solved my problem. I now tell folks to keep it refrigerated.
And a note on collecting and letting people taste the pollen:
I've heard of one beekeeper who kept eating and snacking on the pollen as he collected it.One day he got almost too much and he could tell his throat was starting to close off. So I am more cautious now when I allow my daughters to snack on the pollen when we collect it.
Before I heard about this, I had let a co-worker taste about a teaspoon or less of the pollen. She laughed and said (after gagging on it) it felt like her throat was getting tighter. Initially, I thought it was because the pollen can feel kind of "dry" when eaten, but in hindsight she may have been having a slight reaction to it. (I noticed this year when everyone was suffering from seasonal alergies, her eyes stayed swollen for a week)

06-25-2003, 05:46 PM
Sorry I forgot to address your question in regards to honey production.
I didn't notice any difference in honey production between the hives with and the hives without the traps. My records were not that good, but nothing stands out that they were remarkably lower in production.
I'm just having a bad bee year, but I hope I can get back into the pollen next year.

John Seets
07-01-2003, 07:24 AM
Hi, Denise;

Since your last post, I've had opportunity to talk to a number of other beekeepers who market pollen from traps and some of my pollen consmers who have bought pollen specifically for severe allergy problems. I've also talked to the local health food store guy who sells pollen there. I've asked them if they have heard or experienced a reaction to comsuming the honey such as a "throat tightening" sensation that you described.

So far, all answers have been negative. I however will continue to ask those who collect it an sell it and use it. I am very interested if this is actually a possible reaction to pollen ingestion or simply heresay.



07-01-2003, 09:25 AM
I actually had a customer that had a bad reaction. Difficulty swallowing, etc. I suspect it isn't too common, but possible.

07-01-2003, 05:28 PM
It took me awhile to find it but I did find that episode regarding the beekeeper who consumed too much pollen while collecting it. This is from Bee-L:

Date: Sat, 19 Oct 2002 10:05:05 -0400
Reply-To: Informed Discussion of Beekeeping Issues and Bee Biology
Sender: BEE-L@listserv.albany.edu
From: Humdinger <yskim@CPN-NET.COM>
Subject: Eating pollen while collecting
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1

Have you ever eaten pollen while collecting?

In the evening, while collecting the pollen from my traps, I casually
tossed into my mouth a handful of fresh pollen—perhaps three or four
spoonfuls—and munched on the pellets. I have never done this before, for
I was saving the pollen for the next season, but due to today’s drizzle
and rain, I thought the collection was not big enough to bother. It
tasted dusty-dry and flowery as it passed through my esophagus, mixed with
saliva. In about thirty minutes or so, however, my body went into a mild
shock. It started to manufacture an incredible amount of histamine to
react against this foreign substance in my system. I am allergic to
ragweed pollen. The pollen pellets were grey [probably ragweed] and
orange [golden rod and late sunflower variety].

My throat, I could feel, started to choke me as my voice started to recede
deep into my throat. Upon sensing this mild, yet almost systematic
reaction, I took one antihistamine pill, a prescription pill I have been
avoiding to take for quite some time, thinking my body had, over the
years, built up enough tolerance through my raw honey consumption albeit I
had never taken fall honey. All night, nevertheless, my stuffed nose ran
the mucus, my blurry eyes started to itch, and I could breathe only
through my mouth; to say the least, I could not rest well, especially
since I was sleeping on the couch not to bother my wife with my constant
sneezing, blowing, and occasional coughing.

For me, it was worse than getting stung by a dozen angry bees whose pain
dissipates in a short while. I felt as though I was suffering from a self-
induced sickness. Only after midnight, as the Chlorphaniramin Maleate (8
mm) and Pseudoephedrine Hydrochloride (120 mm) started to work their way
into my system, my congestion gradually cleared up, enabling me to breathe
through the nose. The next morning I felt OK although it took twelve
hours for me to regain my normalcy. I understand I should have taken
small doses before the ragweed season to build up my tolerance. I just
did not realize a handful of pollen could be this potent. Perhaps this
anecdote illustrates how pollen, taken in gradual doses, indeed works.
Have you experienced any similar reaction against pollen?


John Seets
07-07-2003, 09:45 AM
Thanx for the respond, Denise.

Wow, I guess I should warn those who are are buying the pollen specifically for allergies to start with just a very little bit and increase slowly from there. I've munched it a number of times this season and no problem. Of course I do not have typical allergies either. This is good info and I appreciate the time you spent digging it up. As I find more info pro/con to eating pollen, I will share it with you and all.


07-07-2003, 02:08 PM
I used to sell bee pollen when I tried a not too successful stint at selling herbs and such for health. The company recommended this for those with severe allergies:
Start out with only 2-3 GRAINS of pollen per day and increase slowly to 1/4 teaspoon. Then slowly increase to 1 tsp.
By grains I mean one little "pollen basket"
Good luck!
wishing she had pollen and honey to sell, cause it looks like I'll only have enough for my own personal consumption!

10-15-2003, 10:00 PM
I have been lurking and learning for some time, but finally I must post a question. I am planning to place my hives on four-way pallets as I grow - Does anyone have experience with placing Sundance pollen traps on 4-way pallets? Do they accomodate the clips that hold the hives in place? I am also concerned about building a pallet with the extra 17"+or- in the middle to allow removal of the drawer from the rear of the hive. Will that create a weight distribution problem when lifting by forklift? I have purchased a Sundance to see if I like it, but don't want to buy more if palleting will be too big a problem. Thanks in advance from a novice with 6 hives in Bakersfield, California. The eucalyptus are blooming and the trees, thick with bees, sound like they are ready for take off. My fingers are crossed for a surplus....

10-16-2003, 06:01 PM
You would be better off using standard pallets. It's a lot handier when you load them and a heck of a lot easier to sell if you ever want to get rid of them. Somewhere I saw plans for a trap that had a drawer that was removed from the side.