I have started feeding Bee-Pro from Mann Lake to my hives. I have one hive that has went through the first patty like candy. The other hives are nibbling and seem to be getting more into the stuff.
I was wondering if you guys feel it is too early to start feeding pollen substitute. The way I calculated it was they should be at optimum stregnth by the middle of March. It appears that all my hives have made it through the winter. They still have between 40 and 50lbs of stores. I have one hive that is down to probably somewhere in the neighborhood of 25lbs of stores. I have started feeding sugar water and Honey-B-Healthy. Was planning on giving a shot of Fumidil-B later next week.
Not sure if all the cold weather is gone, but our days are starting to average 45 - 50.
Any comments will be greatly appreciated.
When do you get your first good nectar flow? It sounds like you are going to be ready. Have you reversed your hives? I can't believe our weather. We are into our 7th week of below freezing weather. We are supposed to get our largest snow storm this weekend. I just can't wait. I have one hive that is starving to death and I can't help them at all. It is so frustrating. I just ordered some of the bee pro from ML and I hope I will be able to start using it in the near future. We might have a late spring because Easter is so late this year. Good luck with you bees this year.
thesurveyor, In answer to your question, "When to start pollen feeding?"
I'm also interested in WHEN? Here is all I can find to date:
KEEPING BEES, John Vivian, 1986
"Feed pollen substitute if 1 bee out of
4 or 5 is not bringing in pollen."
BEEKEEPING: A PRACTICAL GUIDE,
Richard Bonney, 1993
"Look for a minimum of 3 or 4 frames of
pollen, if less is found, prepare to feed
pollen or pollen substitute in EARLY
Surely there is a more definitive answer! If you find one, please post.
If you check out George Imirie's website (you can find a link on the Brushy Mountain website) He says to start having foragers ready 40 days before your first nectar flow. I guess it would depend on your nectar flow, but now might be a good time.
I have rarely tried to feed pollen and then the bees usually ignore it or haul it out with the trash. Sometimes there is a shortage of pollen in the hive in the spring, but that is usually an anomoly due to the weather. Mine have always done fine without any.
Surveyor: To feed or not to Feed, pretty much depends upon your guess. Someone referenced Mr.George W. Imirie's web site, Mr Imirie provides excellent advice, you will need to apply some Kentucky windege or extrapolation to use his guide for your area. I keep a 5 X 8 card labeled first bloom and for my area Red Maple is the first to bloom , starting around 10-15 Feb. time frame. I start my sprng buld up using the 40 days prior to first bloom theory. I start feeding sugar water and Bee Pro on the 6th of January. We were in our hives on Saturday 15 Feb.(74F), found 4 to 8 frames of capped brood and lot's of uncapped brood, Queens laying well. I find brood and Drones in my hives year round , we have accommodating weather
I find that some years the Bee Pro patties will go quickly in some hives and not not so quick in others, still others will not use any of it, I just remove it when I see pollen coming in and don't worry about it. Seems that the bees know best.
Surveyor I know that you are in the NC mountains not too far from my property in the SC upstate. I do everything two weeks later for my mountain bees. You have a wonderful and most knowledgeable Beekeeper in your State a Mr. Paul Brown, Mr. Brown has been beekeeper of the year in both NC and SC since he lives near the states lines and provides help to any one who ask. Using his experience gained over many years of beekeeping he has developed what he has titled "The Beekeepers Yearly Management Calendar", by month it gives you a to do list and like Mr Brown will tell you his to do list is not engraved in stone and does requires you to use some common sense. If you make the NC/SC spring meet you will more than likely meet Mr. Brown. If after the spring meet you do not have a copy of the calander and assuming you would like the information I will be happy to send you a copy.
If I did not keep a journal to record my beekeeping practices and a bloom chart for the recording of annual nectar flow I believe I would be missing a large part of what brought me to beekeeping, Curiosity of the bug/insect world. I sort of wish I had forgotten airplanes and studied bugology in school.
Still raining with temperature at 29 F ice is starting to collect on trees and power lines.
Do have a honey of a day.
Les in SC
Les in NC,
Boy! I sure would like to have a copy that calendar. I might need more than "KY windage" and common sense to use it here, but the info would be nice. Can you post a copy?
Thanks guys, This winter storm may have set me back a day or two. The temp for the last two days has been 25-30 deg. Tomorrow they are forcasting 50 deg, with 60 deg by Wed. I just hope that I have not confused my bees. I have a hive that I bought as a package of bees from CF Koehnen last spring, they are my strongest hive, and they are taking the bee pro like candy. I am having to add drawn comb, because they have ran out of room. All the hive are still good on stores. I think I will have the maximum force of field bees when the poplar starts. Someone told me the Maple has already bloomed, but I still see buds that have not opened on Maples.
Lets kinda keep this thread going to see if how the bloom dates are for different areas.
DaveW: Sorry I'm afraid I do not have the technial savy to scan and post the two page calendar. My wife and technical expert is on a two week visit to the Argosy U campus chasing a Doctorate degree. When she returns I will give posting a shot unless someone knows how and is willing to walk me through.
I will now post Mr. Browns calendars for Feb. and March.
February 1t untill sufficient nectar is available.
Check honey supply on each hive and feed with sugar syrup if hive has less than half a super of honey. Ten pounds of cane sugar to one gallon of water. Suggest top feeders: either double chamber of pail feeders.
Remind all area peach growers to use caution with pesticides, especially Pencap-M to avoid killing honeybees.
Repeat treatment for foulbrood February 1st-15th (see September).
March 1st to 15th
Exchange brood boxes if two exist or add a 2nd if only one exist. If you add a brood box, place it above the existing brood box (some beekeepers may prefer only one box.)
Check the brood comb and replace frames that have excessive drone cells and excessively small (old) worker cells.
Medicate with Fumidil-B for Nosema (mix as directed )one gallon unless bees need feed (Be sure to remove at least two weeks before installing supers.)
Place bait hives to catch new swarms . Bait hives should one vial each of pheromone bee attractant and shjould be positioned 8-9 feet above ground level.
Take out Apistan strips. Leave strips in approximately 56 days,no more.
This is the type of guidance Mr. Brown provides for each month. I start my beekeeping year in August when I replace all Queens. As I mentioned before Mr Browns calendar is a go by and not intended to provide specific guidance.
Les in SC
Would it be advisable to feed Bee-Pro to my packages when they arrive in the first week of April.. I have read that some beekeepers feed pollen subs. when they install their packages. I did not have any last year when I installed a package that I got, but I have some left over, would it be worth feeding that to the new package?
It surely won't do them any harm,but in your part of the country(N.C.).there should be a source of natural pollen in the 1st part of april. I've found that the bees want hardly take to the patties.they had rather have the real thing.
i've been wondering the same thing here in indiana,i've been using the mann lake pollen patties(the postage is a killer),i think if you err on the side of feeding too early,you can just keep feeding the new population for the week or so until the blooms begin, i always save some pollen and honey from last year and feed it early on. i like the idea of trying to keep tract of blooms in a forum here.i could eventually be a data base.