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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Delta, Utah
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    494

    Default pollen patties in cold weather

    The last couple of years I've over wintered my bees in Nevada before bringing them into the almonds. This year I brought them straight here and boy is it humid and cold (lots of fog every day near Bakersfield). Anyway, I want to bring big hives back home out of the almonds for heavy splitting. Is putting patties on now going to help or will it just get wet and moldy before the bees can eat it? In Nevada it works but it's a lot dryer. Thank you.
    -Rob Bliss
    Bliss Honey and bee supplies

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
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    3,839

    Default

    My experience here in California is the pollen patties get melted and runny before the bees can eat it when put in during the cold wet weather. I try to get my pollen substitute all done with pollen stores built up before the end of November, as the cluster heat and condensation in the hive just melts the patties and causes a mess.
    “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Amador County, Calif
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    3,249

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by pahvantpiper View Post
    straight here and boy is it humid and cold (lots of fog every day near Bakersfield). .
    Welcome to sunny Cali.lol

    Pollen sub will work here now.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Owen, WI, USA
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    2,558

    Default

    We've been putting 2# between the boxes in late November/early December and another 2# early/mid January. Good colonies don't seem to have any problem munching them right down, too quickly actually, and we try to consolidate anything smallish in January. Smaller, or queenless colonies seem to have more of a problem. Granted, we have only been putting patties on this time of year in California for a few years and they have been dry years, I guess, relatively speaking.
    But even in Wisconsin's cool often humid fall we can put patties on and expect them to be taken, if we put them between the boxes. We can put them on top early when it's warm, they will even take them off the bottom board but once it gets cool they are best in between the boxes or we might find them moldy later. The ones we have used have not ever "melted".
    It was interesting...When we first go through the hives in California, John just splits the boxes to install the patties, we don't pop the tops. When we find one that is questionable, and then pop the lid there is a pretty fair chance there is some patty left on top from the late summer application. You could almost exclusively use this as a determinant for a failed queen.
    Sheri
    PS once we have the patties on we give them at least a splash of thin syrup. This gets them moving around storing it and looking for where it's coming from and stimulates the queen, which gives them a good use for that sub. If they aren't broody they don't get as excited about it.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Amador County, Calif
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    3,249

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnK and Sheri View Post
    give them at least a splash of thin syrup. This gets them moving around storing it and looking for where it's coming from and stimulates .
    Now that stimulatent is a horse of another color in the winter.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Owen, WI, USA
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    2,558

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Jarrett View Post
    Now that stimulatent is a horse of another color in the winter.
    I suppose there could be a concern if it was too cold and any syrup would just sit.
    We haven't had that problem, yet, but I could see it being a potential problem. Maybe our bees from Wisconsin are so glad to be out of the snowbank they can take a bit more cold than the local bees.
    Sheri

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    College Station, Texas
    Posts
    6,973

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    perhaps sheri it's those girly men bees keith keeps?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Amador County, Calif
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    3,249
    Quote Originally Posted by JohnK and Sheri View Post
    I suppose there could be a concern if it was too cold and any syrup would just sit.
    It's not about the syrup sitting, it about keeping the bees sitting & not flying. BTW, Rob & sheri, mid 40's for the high all this week, aw it's a great time for syrup.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Amador County, Calif
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    3,249

    Big Grin

    Quote Originally Posted by tecumseh View Post
    perhaps sheri it's those girly men bees keith keeps?
    Big T, I think all the boys have headed south for the winter.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Owen, WI, USA
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    Mid 40s, wow I'd take that balmy weather in a heartbeat, the high here is going to be below zero today, wind chills of about 30 below.
    When we worked them first trip out it was generally in the low/mid 60s for highs, not too shabby.
    I suppose the altitude is a disadvantage where you are Keith, or are your bees down the hill already? Looks like Merced will be in the mid 50s all this week. The bees fly OK at those temps and a little flight doesn't hurt. Beats feeding when it's 80, lol. But for us, late December/early January will be when it counts time. While the average high is 53 that time of year, the record low is in the teens. Brrrr, here's hoping it doesn't get that bad. With those kind of temps we might as well stay home!! I doubt we will be feeding that trip.
    Sheri

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Amador County, Calif
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    3,249

    Lightbulb

    Our winter syrup feeding stops in Nov-March on syrup, we however feed pollen sub straight through winter. The difference is the loss of feild force.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Owen, WI, USA
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    Everything about managing bees comes back to location location location. Our winter bees are older than yours out there in California. When you are enjoying 80 degree days in October, our bees are thinking winter is here, lol. When leaving Wisconsin, many of our queens are shut down (although many less due to applying patties here in Wisconsin). They need that boost to get going again. The way I look at flight is that the workers lost would be lost the first day or so of bloom anyway (although they'd look really good for a prebloom inspection ). I think, yes, there is a trade off, but for us the added stimulus equates to more brood, ie younger bees for bloom later.

    We will be putting on 2# more of patties on the December/January trip, won't be feeding syrup then. We normally feed on our first trip out, as we ship them as light as possible for trucking and the stimulus does them good. This year we didn't have to feed much cuz they were heavy from a late flow in Wisconsin but we still gave them very thin syrup with Fumigillan. Shoot, they needed the water anyway out there in that desert. We will only give syrup on the last trip if there are a lot of very light ones. For a few, just transferring frames of honey will hold them.
    Sheri

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Amador County, Calif
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    Lightbulb

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnK and Sheri View Post
    The way I look at flight is that the workers lost would be lost the first day or so of bloom anyway .
    Sheri
    That is true Sheri, but by keeping them quite in nov-Jan those old bee can help keep the cluster warm which expands the queen egg laying. You can stimulate the hive all a person can, BUT she is only going to lay what they can keep warm and that is the KEY.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Delta, Utah
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    494

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    I appreciate the advice. I put 500 lbs of pollen sub on today. If the weather continues to hold I'll be done in 3 more days and can head home...yahoo!!! Bees look great so far.

    By the way, how does feeding kill your field force?
    -Rob Bliss
    Bliss Honey and bee supplies

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    Amador County, Calif
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    Quote Originally Posted by pahvantpiper View Post
    By the way, how does feeding kill your field force?
    Rob, feeding syrup in cool wheather stimulates flight, and all the bees don't make it back to the hive when it cool down.Look around, you will find more dead bees after feeding in Dec & Jan.

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