Re: How does collecting pollen affect the bees?
Hi, we are the manufacturer of the Sundance Pollen Traps and I thought I would take a stab at the answers.
Almost all of the pollen traps on the market copy our design. Some more than others...Our design incorporates over 20 years of constant improvement as we have used the traps on our own bees. Our design successfully address observations such as: slowing traffic into and out of the hives for foraging; pollen clumping in the drawer directly underneath where the bees enter the brood chamber; rainwater getting into the pollen; the need to do heavy lifting to get the pollen traps off the hive; angry bees when pollen traps are removed while bee populations are at their height; dirty pollen from debris falling from the brood nest; etc.
As we encountered these situations, and more not listed, we made design changes to correct the situation. This has been a process of constant improvement, with such changes being made every couple of years, and the latest in 2010; incorporated in our 2011 designs. Mostly, beekeepers do not even notice the changes we make, but we do and the changes make beekeepers' life easier.
The Sundance Pollen Traps collect approximately 50% of the pollen entering the hive. My personal traps go on in mid-May and come off in late September or early October. They are set to collect pollen at all times, unless I will be absent for more than a week so can't collect the pollen. As others on this list have said, hives with traps and hives without traps, side by side, have the same populations and collect the same amount of nectar. I will not take the time to explain 'how can that be', but the answers are clearly set forth in Tom Seeley's book "The Wisdom of the Hive". Read it, it is worthwhile.
The principal reason the Sundance traps do not hurt nectar collection or brood production is because the bees do not have to go through the 'stripping screens' to both enter and leave the hive. Entering the hive, yes, but the time to go through these screens slow foraging and with the Sundance trap bees can leave the hive without going through the screens. ON ALL THE INEXPENSIVE TRAPS, THE BEES HAVE TO GO THROUGH THE STRIPPING SCREENS TO LEAVE THE HIVE!
When buying a trap ask whether the bees have to go through the stripping screens in both directions. If the clerk does not know or says 'yes', run, do not walk, to another dealer! Of course, you should always insist on a SUNDANCE trap, and do not accept the inexpensive alternatives from those who have tried to copy our design...or who use an inferior design.
All reputable dealers in the US carry Sundance Pollen Traps, so you will not have to look far for 'the real thing'.
Hope I have helped.
Lloyd Spear, Owner of Ross Rounds, Inc. Manufacturers of round section comb equipment and Sundance Pollen Traps.