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  1. #1
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    Default wheat flour as pollen ?

    Langstroths book seems to say to use wheat flour as a pollen substitute in the early spring (if I understood it properly). Do I understand correctly and is this the same thing as our whole wheat flour at the grocery ?

    charlotte

  2. #2
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    Default

    Wheat flour is wheat flour. What you buy at the store has been bleached. But, I think most use Soy Flour now. Much harder and more expensive to obtain. If I use any for next year I will bet the beans and grind my own.
    Curtis

  3. #3
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    Default

    Expeller processed soy flour is much better than wheat. Real pollen is much better than soy flour.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  4. #4
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    Default Pollen Sub.

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    Expeller processed soy flour is much better than wheat. Real pollen is much better than soy flour.
    Is pollen patty substitute as good as real pollen?
    Ron

  5. #5
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    Default Think about natural hunger...

    [Is pollen patty substitute as good as real pollen?]

    Do you think you understand the diet of bees better than their own primative hunger?

    I think bees know to gather the pollens that are rich in the nutrients that stores and diet lack.

    -Jeff
    There is always more than one way to skin a cat, that's of course if you're into eating cats.

  6. #6
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    Default

    I know the real thing is best, of course. I was just wondering if science had replicated the real thing, those pollens that are rich in the nutrients, to a close second? We are talking in terms of flour verses natural pollen, in comparison to pollen substitute.

    But to answer your question, "No I do not think I understand the diet of bees better than their own primative hinger." That is why I asked the question!!!
    Last edited by Ron Young; 06-16-2007 at 02:02 PM.
    Ron

  7. #7
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    Default

    >Is pollen patty substitute as good as real pollen?

    That probably depends on the pollen. Corn pollen and grass pollen probably aren't as good. Most bee pollinated plants provide better protein. The bees seem to be able to tell the difference as they won't take substitute once good fresh pollen is available. So I'd have to say the bees don't think it is. And the studies I've seen say pollen makes much healthier and longer lived bees.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  8. #8
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    Default

    Thanks MB, that was more the answer I was looking for.
    Ron

  9. #9
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by NW IN Beekeeper View Post
    [Is pollen patty substitute as good as real pollen?]

    Do you think you understand the diet of bees better than their own primative hunger?

    I think bees know to gather the pollens that are rich in the nutrients that stores and diet lack.

    -Jeff

    Some observations on proteins in a bee diet:

    A priori one may think that but pollen is best since its whats available to bees.....certainly we can perfect on pollen as a protein source since bees do not have a global ability to forage for other protein sources nor process wild grains and beans.

    Soy was not much of a food product and soy flour was not readly available 100 years ago in the US. Soy was introduced to fix nitrogen and build soil. I do not advocate the use of soy with any animals other than rumanents due to the high lignan and phytoestrogens....soy has only recently been added to the market for humans as a list of food items by the FDA circa 1970s and the push by ADM.

    Many studies at least in humans suggest that soy causes premature puberty in women, delayed in men, and brain neuropathy in adults. Contrary to belief, Asians as a whole only consume less than 2 oz. of soy a day......and fermented soy degrades some of the toxic components. Further, common processing of soy for food grade flour starts by treating with hexane. Eating soy has been found to reduce brain mass in humans by up to 10 percent at autopsy. I have extensive evidence to show that soy protein increases developmental deformities in non ruminant lifestock such as ostriches. When removed and substitute protein sources were used in the ration, the chick deformities dropped considerably. The history of soy in the United States was for soil building and intercropping; the plants and beans used to feed rumanants such as cattle. In rumanents, the fermentation and bacterial breakdown of lignins and toxic phytochemicals found in soy is not an issue......in non rumanents is can be a problem, although vigorously argued by most lifestock feed supplier due to their vested interest. The bee is not a rumanent and does not break down the toxic components of soy.

    I am confident bees in the natural setting do not seek out nor can process soy.......therefore it is an unnatural food item, as are most protein sources other than pollen...its not to say other protein sources when available, from processed grain like wheat, barley, rice, etc. cannot do what pollen does. Many forms of available processed proteins are higher than pollen in protein, albeit pollen may contain many more nutrients than just protein ie vitamins, esters, etc.

    Pollen may not be readily available when bees need it most; is it better to let them self regulate based on pollen availability? Buying pollen can be risky in infecting your hives with pathogens, irradiated pollen is best if not used from your own hives.

    In my personal opinion, I would never use soy or outside pollen sources. However, to say there are not more effective protein sources that can substitute pollen is only considered IF we talk about natural sources readily available to bees.

    Bee diet is not an area that has been widely examined like with poultry, livestock and domestic animals like dogs or cats.

    There are certainly pros and cons to feeding pollen........supply and demand, cost, pathogen free, etc. I don't feel wheat is the most digestable form of protein for bees. If you refer to Langstoths books written many decades ago please keep in mind there was no modern agricultural means to provide many other protein sources that may clearly be superior to wheat flour. Soy flour may be cheap and available, but is it safe? I personally think no.

    If you are a purist, pollen from your own source is probably most beneficial, if you feel that there are other protein sources available from modern processing of grains, etc which may assist, but not replace pollen, it is worth investigating.

    Can we do one better than nature? I would argue that we can. Im not sure one can do better than pollen completely, but certainly as an addition to pollen, alternatives can be a benefit.

    FWIW

  10. #10
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    Default

    If you are keeping bees on the east coast, you don't need to feed pollen.
    Well, generally anyway.
    The pollen flow cranks up pretty good here in February. There's plenty of early blooming trees in SC too.

    Also, if you feed wheat, make sure its in a patty. Sprinkling wheat in a hive will cause the bees to pull out all the larvae and eggs in the dusted area.
    Last edited by MichaelW; 06-18-2007 at 07:12 AM.

  11. #11
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    Default

    Church....." Can we do one better than Nature, i think we can"....Well, you seem to know a bit about soy protein, etc.. and i for one really don't know if your right or wrong....However,I think when man feels he can do better than mother nature at anything, were getting a bit arrogant, and off course, just my two cents....
    Kevin M.

  12. #12
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    Default Sometimes mother nature needs a helping hand.

    I don't think its a matter of doing better than mother nature....but you have to address the fact that:

    1. Bees cannot obtain other sources of protein readily: wheat, barley, rice and other grain concentrates or other sources, fungal, animal, etc. processed by man doesn't "nullify" mother nature, it just allows for those proteins to be available at a much reduced price vs. pollen. Certainly Spirulina may be a much better source of protein than pollen, and from mother nature, but not readily available to bees without man's hand in production.

    2. Pollen from other sources can certainly cause cross contamination of colonies. I wouldn't take the chance and I doubt pollen is routinely sterilized in nature.

    3. Man can certainly perfect what is not available or a clean source of protein for bees and at potentially a cheaper price. Im not arguing that pollen should be replaced....just that when pollen is not available, other sources very well may be that the bees cannot obtain in their foraging. Livestock are routinely fed feather meal from poultry processing plants as a form of protein.....i have never seen a steer catch a chicken.

    Not that it is directly relevant but whale oil was a prime commodity before alternatives were found, rhino horn was promoted for male erectile dysfunction. Id much rather live with the alternative fuels and viagra, (someday) LOL than to see mother nature butchered to extinction.

    Protein is probably one of the most vigorously invested part of human and livestock diets....and even the idea of producing cheap and superior proteins from single celled yeasts or mushrooms is a strong possibility.....but not directed from purely natural sources.

  13. #13
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    Default Let's get back to real here....

    [However...were getting a bit arrogant, and off course, just my two cents....]

    That is self-evident.
    The presemptions are being made that pollen is merely necessary for protein. This is false.
    There are many other products within pollen to balance a bee's diet.
    A balance that not even the world's best scientists understand yet, let alone creditable advice from a few armchair beekeeper discussions.
    It is rediculous to assume we can/do provide better nutrition until these needs are completely understood and that won't be easy, if ever.

    The variables in changing pollen composition, and changes in dietary needs throughout the year would be a near impossible juggling act to balance for anyone to have the perfect bag of "Bee Chow".

    The scale of this topic is getting beyond the reasonable scope of these forums.

    Yes some flours are more like natural pollen.
    Soy is nearer in protein values, but lacks the proper fats because it cause the flour to spoil faster.
    Wheat flour (even whole) has neither values and often carries addition chemicals for bleaching and storage.
    Neither address vitamins or minerals.

    No they don't exceed beyond the value of natural pollen because they are of one composition. With natural pollen, bees will collect a variety of pollen to meet their dietary needs. This is blend that I do not believe man can duplicate given all the potential variables in composition and needs.

    Keep in mind that anything that is not digested is carried in gut until a cleansing flight. Feeding excess undigestable products can cause pre-mature winter dieases. More (overkill) is not always better.

    -Jeff
    There is always more than one way to skin a cat, that's of course if you're into eating cats.

  14. #14
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    lewisberry, Pa, usa
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    Default

    Can we do better than Nature? Depends...

    First of all, in nature, the bees would locate to areas that were favorable for bee populations. Any species increase or decrease in population size due to many factors, with available food and nutrition being one of them.

    Second, if left to "nature", diversity of forage would be much broader then what is it today. We tend to keep bees where humans have changed the landscape for a host of reasons. Again, bees are kept where we place them and they may not of chosen the location on their own.

    I think in nature, bees go where ample nutrition is available, and where diversity of nutrition gives them the best chance of getting what they need. Keep in mind that not all pollen is good for bees.

    So are bees getting everything they need with land developement? Are they getting what they need when beekeepers keep bees where the forage and diversity may be limiting? Many things go into the equation.

    Bee will select the best neactar and pollen available if readily available. This may not always be the case with farming practices, limited open space, etc.

    Selecting a good bee apiary should be given some thought.

    Now if you were to feed, understanding the nutritional needs of the bees would be important. Just as with us, we know that white flour is vastly different than other flours. Same goes for the pollen for bees.

    If you go to http://www.honeybee.com.au/Library/p...nutrition.html it will give you some insight to nutrition, standards, etc.

    Also go to http://www.honeybee.com.au (Go to the "Library" section.) There are some good articles about Soy, feeding, etc, that you may find interesting.

    The site is from Australia, and does contain some dated information, with some opinions.

    But it will answer the most important question, or at least will give you some guidance when someone asks "Is this feed an good?"
    Last edited by BjornBee; 06-21-2007 at 04:48 AM.

  15. #15
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    May 2007
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    Portland, Ore.
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    Lightbulb collect surplus pollen

    The safest, probably best, and most obvious solution would be to collect surplus pollen from your hives during the flow, store in such a manner as to ensure maximum freshness/efficacy (e.g. freezing), and then feed when necessary. I've heard reports of beeks collecting up to 1#/day of pollen from strong hives. This being the case, the most natural solution would also be the most economical. To my way of thinking, this would render the use of any pollen substitute ill advised for any established apiary.

  16. #16
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    Default

    I agree about self supplying pollen since you are not risking contamination from unknown pollen sources.

    Regarding the previous post calling me an "armchair" beekeeper.......name calling isn't appropriate and I am certainly not armchair. Please leave your personal attacks at the door.

    Indeed bee pollen has been said to contain:

    Vitamins: Provitamin A, B-1 Thiamin, B-2 Riboflavin, B-3 Nancin, B-5, B-6 Pyridoxine, B-12 (cyanocobalamine), Pantothenic acid, Vitamin C, F, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Vitamin H, Vitamin K, Vitamin PP, Folic Acid, Choline, Inositol, Rutin.

    Minerals: Calcium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Iron, Copper, Iodine, Zinc, Sulfur, Sodium, Chlorine, Magnesium, Manganese, Molybdenum, Selenium, Boron, Silica, and Titanium.

    Other: Amino Acid, Carbohydrates, Fatty Acids, Enzymes & Co-Enzymes, Fats.

    Bee Pollen contains at least 22 amino acids, 18 vitamins, 25 minerals, 59 trace elements, 11 enzymes or co-enzymes, 14 fatty acids, 11 carbohydrates and approximately 25 % protein. Bee pollen is extremely rich in carotenes, which are metabolic precursors of vitamin A. It is also high In B complex and vitamins C, D, E and Lecithin. Bee pollen contains over 50 % more protein than beef, yet its fat content is very low. It is also an excellent vegetarian source of protein typically possessing more of the essential amino acids, pound for pound, than animal proteins like meat, eggs, and dairy products.


    Wheat flour, soy flour, etc are all provided as primarily protein sources. They contain little fat. I would never assume that it replaces pollen. The reason soy is used in some "bee chows" is due to the high protein content and availability. However, soy flour is almost twice the protein content of pollen. I am strongly against feeding soy and I certainly don't suppose that those items alone are sufficent but the discussion as additions to supplemental feedings is relevent.

    Moreso, I am not suggesting that any processed source alone is sufficent for a food supplement, nor do I think pollen should be replaced, but if supplements are fed, theres no reason not to discuss what and why..............OR why not.

  17. #17
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    May 2007
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    Portland, Ore.
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    Default

    True that Church. No harm at all in learning all one can regarding most any relevant topic. No need to justify the discussion as those who are uninterested can simply move on as opposed to shutting down the debate. Good show on posting the truth about soy as well (there's a lot of propaganda out there on soy!).

    I purposely qualified self-sourced bee pollen as seemingly best for established apiaries in my above post to leave open the obvious need of supplements for new beeks/hives, etc.,. When I first got started I put "pollen patties" in each hive. The bees ate it up and I think it was a real benefit. That being said, I'm very happy to have things under way in a self-sustaining manner. Next Spring's build up will be au naturel.

  18. #18
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    Default

    Dane,

    Very true. Good management and you'll not only have healthier bees but more production in the long run.

    I stumbled across an interesting behavior in my bees. I would feed a concentrate supplement to my goat herds a few weeks before breeding and during gestation. Without going into whats in my concentrate, the bees loved it to the point I had to change my feeding routines so the bees wouldn't keep the goats off the feeders. They must know something.

  19. #19
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    Default You have choices

    [SIZE=3]This thread began with a discussion about wheat flour. Back in Langstroth’s time, wheat was processed different than now, the fats were left in, where now they are removed to prevent spoilage and increase shelf life. To make matters worse, wheat flour is bleached, adding more chemicals our bees do not need. [/SIZE]
    [SIZE=3]So today, wheat flour is not a good pollen replacement. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=3]Wheat flour has a lower protein level than other flours, so we have gone to using soy. [/SIZE]
    [SIZE=3]While many of the soy flours are also de-fatted, the protein remains high and it is rarely bleached. It is relative inexpensive if you buy it in expeller form (thanks MB) which to the lay person is the pre-product to chicken feeds. [/SIZE]
    [SIZE=3]One must be careful to buy flour and not other soy products, because others are larger granules that the bees have difficulty packing in the pollen baskets. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=3]When using soy flour the fats have to added back to mix for a complete diet. Some dehydrated milks are a good source. And it’s a good idea to add some vitamin C for flavor to improve the ‘taste’ and the general uptake. I don’t like to make moist patties from this, as it degrades the Vitamin C faster. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=3][calling me an "armchair" beekeeper...]

    I called the DISCUSSION armchair, not any one person - settle down my friend.
    I'm not aware of licensed bee dietitian chiming in on this thread, or anyone that has done independent research beyond merely reading someone else’s studies. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=3]As I see it, reading is an armchair sport.

    These reports on tell us what pollen could contain, or what one sample did contain.[/SIZE]

    [SIZE=3]But that was A sample of A pollen from A set of bees and it is that set of bee’s discretion what pollen to collect based on their needs at that moment in time. Those needs change, and the pollen selection also changes.

    [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=3]But for us supplying replacements, our recipe doesn’t change. [/SIZE]
    [SIZE=3]In all honesty, we don’t know what the bee’s instantaneous needs are, and what to change to compensate. So for now, nothing will beat the bee’s choice in the variety of pollens they deem needed.

    So unless you are designing a laboratory to design a more ideal pollen replacement, you are flogging a dead horse. There isn’t anything new under the sun about this topic, do a search and read the read the many posts and in-depth conversations held previous about this topic. [/SIZE]


    [SIZE=3]There isn’t any debate, but you do have choices which are to use natural, buy a premix supplement, mix your own with the advice from those that do it, or wait until pollen is available. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=3]There wasn’t any killing of this topic, its just been discussed before and the facts are clear, wheat flour isn’t appropriate for feeding bees, and soy is the next least expensive alternative. [/SIZE]
    [SIZE=3]Granted it not as wholesome as natural pollen, but after all, we were discussing pollen replacements. Supplements and complete dietary nutrition are another topic altogether. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=3]-Jeff[/SIZE]
    There is always more than one way to skin a cat, that's of course if you're into eating cats.

  20. #20
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    Default

    This is a discussion board, it hardly seems appropriate to post blanket generalizations saying "flogging a dead horse", etc. That is killing the discussion. Theres no need to say its been discussed before, we are discussing it again. Those who have all their answers and know it all don't have to read it. Theres no harm in friendly discussion.

    Honestly, .... this thread got off topic by the suggestion we should all just listen to one and stop any discussion.

    Some of these posts makes sense but "we" seems a bit trite don't you think?

    Its great when someone shares information in a discussion rather than dictates what "we" do, since it then becomes condescending.

    There is not room for learning in doctrine.

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