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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Highland, Michigan
    Posts
    146

    Default To much pollen, using pollen traps

    All my hives seem to have ample pollen stores, so I installed pollen traps for a couple days to avoid being pollen bound. With the record temps we've been having here in Michigan alot of trees are in bloom early and its a constant flow of bees loaded with pollen coming in. Can I get some advise on when and how to manage too much pollen. How do you recognize a pollen bound situation? And what do you do?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
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    2,818

    Default Re: To much pollen, using pollen traps

    I have seen what I believe to be excessive pollen in some of my hives over the years, I run a 3 medium brood nest, and I have seen the lowest box completely full of pollen, every frame wall to wall, now that's too much pollen. I guess you could manage it the same way you would if you were honey bound, remove some of the frames that are nearly all pollen and replace them with empty comb or foundation. I was in one of my hives the other day and it was incredible how much new pollen was being packed into the brood nest, bright yellow pollen in wide bands on the outer edges of the frames of brood. I just bought a pollen trap last fall, I should throw it on one of my hives right now, I'll bet you could get close to a half pound a day the way they are bringing it in. John

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Highland, Michigan
    Posts
    146

    Default Re: To much pollen, using pollen traps

    John, I've been getting a half pound a day from the one hive 2 days straight. Tonight after work I installed traps on 3 more hives. I'm going to leave them on for tomorrow and then remove as the rain and cooler temps sets in on Thursday. I bought 5 of those front mount traps from brushy mt. and I like the price and performance.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,818

    Default Re: To much pollen, using pollen traps

    Did you get the plastic entrance mounted traps that are about $15? I bought the Sundance top mounted trap, but the deal with that one is that you need to close off your lower entrance and get them used to using the top entrance in the pollen trap, it causes alot of confusion for the first couple days but eventually they figure it out and it traps nice clean pollen real well. John

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,391

    Default Re: To much pollen, using pollen traps

    Pollen bound is a beekeeper concept. I think you just have bees wise enough to stock up pollen. Put the pollen in the bottom box and add another box. Use the pollen when you start nucs or splits.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Plymouth, MA USA
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: To much pollen, using pollen traps

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    Pollen bound is a beekeeper concept. I think you just have bees wise enough to stock up pollen. Put the pollen in the bottom box and add another box. Use the pollen when you start nucs or splits.
    I've been reading about pollen feeding and collection, and was waiting for someone to say this. As a new beek, I'm confused by this whole idea: why would you take pollen from the bees in the season, only to feed it back to them next spring? As long as there is pollen available in season, won't the bees store enough for their needs over the winter and into spring? If they store more than they use, does it go bad? In which case won't they clean it out themselves? If you leave the bees to their own devices, why would it ever be necessary (barring a dearth) to feed them pollen in the spring?

    Thanks!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,818

    Default Re: To much pollen, using pollen traps

    TJC1, as long as you don't trap every day when plenty of pollen is coming in, the bees won't miss it. Trapping it to feed back in the spring makes sense sometimes because as you said, there may be a bad spring weather-wise and the bees are unable to collect pollen so feeding it to them will benefit them considerably for the spring buildup period. Some hives store way more pollen than they need, its a genetic thing I think, I have seen whole brood chambers full of pollen and nothing else, now that is too much pollen for their needs. It doesn't go bad unless it gets too much moisture on it, they mix pollen with honey which preserves it longer. John

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,252

    Default Re: To much pollen, using pollen traps

    I trap pollen for use in cell builders. Two weeks with a dozen traps is enough for the season.

    And, there certainly is such a thing as pollen bound. I'm not talking about a normal colony packing away combs of pollen for later use. I'm talking about colonies that pack every cell in the broodnest with pollen so the queen has almost no open cells in which to lay. I see this in bees suffering from varroa/viruses, and occasionally, colonies with failing queens.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Pell City,Alabama,USA
    Posts
    287

    Default Re: To much pollen, using pollen traps

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    I trap pollen for use in cell builders. Two weeks with a dozen traps is enough for the season.

    And, there certainly is such a thing as pollen bound. I'm not talking about a normal colony packing away combs of pollen for later use. I'm talking about colonies that pack every cell in the broodnest with pollen so the queen has almost no open cells in which to lay. I see this in bees suffering from varroa/viruses, and occasionally, colonies with failing queens.
    Michael, how do you administer this pollen to the cell builders? On the top bars, bottom board or in drawn comb?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
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    5,252

    Default Re: To much pollen, using pollen traps

    I pour pollen onto an empty brood comb, and work it into the cells with my fingers.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Pell City,Alabama,USA
    Posts
    287

    Default Re: To much pollen, using pollen traps

    Thanks Michael for the pic, I always appreciate your advice.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Plymouth, MA USA
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: To much pollen, using pollen traps

    I imagine that the bees dig this pollen out of the cells to mix into bee bread - or can they consume the pollen raw?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,252

    Default Re: To much pollen, using pollen traps

    It works well

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,391

    Default Re: To much pollen, using pollen traps

    >why would you take pollen from the bees in the season, only to feed it back to them next spring?

    It is helpful for a nuc or a weak split as it helps them not have to work so hard. Otherwise, I don't see any reason to.

    > As long as there is pollen available in season, won't the bees store enough for their needs over the winter and into spring?

    Yes.

    > If they store more than they use, does it go bad?

    Nutritional value drops over time, but not so fast once it's been made into bee bread.

    > In which case won't they clean it out themselves?

    Bees are very slow at cleaning out pollen. It's a lot of work.

    >If you leave the bees to their own devices, why would it ever be necessary (barring a dearth) to feed them pollen in the spring?

    I never feed them pollen in the spring...

    >I imagine that the bees dig this pollen out of the cells to mix into bee bread - or can they consume the pollen raw?

    The pollen pellets that bees gather have been inoculated with the bacteria and yeasts necessary to make bee bread. I assume if they don't move it, that they cover it with honey which provides the moisture and other things necessary for fermentation.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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