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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    28,276

    Default Protien Patty Feeding

    Why do we feed protien pattys? I do because somebody I know and respect does, but do I need to?

    I want to be frugal and spend only what I have to in order to get hives thru the winter, in South Carolina, and to be able to split as many as I can in the Spring before taking them back North. Many of my hives are made up w/ a deep and a medium and the rest are doble deeps. The hives are quite strong rigt now and of good weight. I have all the honey supers off of them and they have had two mite treatments, a cpl yds got MAQS and the rest got Apigaurd, then after a cpl weeks, when the supers came off I treated w/ mite strips. I will be taking them to SC the later half of November. I want the queens to have a brood break.

    In the Spring, March I will be taking 200 colonies to blueberry pollination in NC. I know I will need to feed syrup, because there is no nectar during the time they are in the blueberrys. I'm wondering what the quality of blueberry pollen is. Should I give them a protien patty too, at that time?

    South Carolina pollen is pretty good for building up and the nectar flows in March and april can be pretty good, sufficiently so. So, the hives I don't take to NC should do alright nectar/honeywise.

    I hope to take the 450 I have now, get them through the winter and bring home 600 or more. When they come back North they will go into apple orchards. Last Spring I treated for mites while cols were in the blueberrys and then I treated all of them when they went into the apples. Being pretty much isolated while in the blueberrys, not near any other hives, I don't feel the need to mite treat while there, but want to treat in the Spring.

    So, I'm wondering what I really need to do to maximize effective expenditures. When to treat at the right time and spend as little as possible.

    Sorry if that came out somewhat rambling.
    Mark Berninghausen
    The answers are the end. The questions are the journey. Journey on.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    New Albany, Ohio, USA
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    441

    Default Re: Protien Patty Feeding

    Mark,

    To answer your question… I don’t know.

    From feeding trials, I see the greatest benefit from feeding patties and syrup during growth periods and or shortages. I like to work with the bees and help move them along when they are in their own natural growth cycle. Put enough sugar in patties and bees will take them any time. But will really use them during spring build up, especially on the days when they cannot get out and forage in the early spring.

    I tend to use protein patties on the cell builders, mostly as insurance and on new splits to facilitate growth. Adult bees still need protein, but the majority is used for brood rearing and growth.

    Larger operations may be in a slightly different position and use patties more often to provide greater insurance and promote growth at less than optimal times of the season. Once a colony depletes its stored pollen reserves, the next step is body protein reserves. Bringing a colony back from the edge of starvation is challenging and takes a great deal of time and resources to get that colony back on track and even more time to become productive again. Keeping bees well fed and healthy is no different than keeping a dairy cow well fed and healthy for milk production…

    Joe
    Breeder Queens & Honey Bee Nutritional Supplements
    www.latshawapiaries.com

  3. #3
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    Dec 2005
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: Protien Patty Feeding

    Thanks Joe. I guess I understand what you mean, but it used to be that syrup or sugar was all that was needed. Now I'm not all that sure of when to feed patties to achieve my goals. Many I know feed now or actually in about a month. But they are building up for almond pollination. My bees need to be strong for blueberries a month later than almonds, roughly, and for splitting in March and April. That's what I am working towards now.
    Mark Berninghausen
    The answers are the end. The questions are the journey. Journey on.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Spokane, Washington, USA
    Posts
    780

    Default Re: Protien Patty Feeding

    the only reason I feed em is to get them built for the almonds. HUGE difference in amount of bees going into winter with and w/o pollen sub. More bees going into winter=more bees in feb ready for almonds= money. If you have lots of fall pollen then there is no point in feeding but I don't see much pollen in my area.

    Maybe its just my sub recipe that makes the diff

  5. #5
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    Dec 2005
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: Protien Patty Feeding

    A personal recipe? Or do you use manufactured pattys?
    Mark Berninghausen
    The answers are the end. The questions are the journey. Journey on.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    New York City, NY
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    4,317

    Default Re: Protien Patty Feeding

    Mark:

    You might want to look up logistic equations that are often used in conservation work.
    They'll help you to estimate many of the variables that you're trying to get a handle on.

    Or, you can put the pollen sub/patties on now, and then use the results as a baseline for any future efforts.

    At around a buck a pound, I'm not sure why this might affect your margins in a big way, unless you're looking at the expensive stuff.

    WLC.

    PS-aren't patties a problem in SHB territory?
    Last edited by WLC; 10-07-2012 at 07:40 AM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Amador County, Calif
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    3,286

    Default Re: Protien Patty Feeding

    Mark, think about your goals in early spring, ask yourself, do you need lots of bees in early spring? do you have a plan to deal with them BEFORE they swarm? Most hives bring in about 100-125 pounds of pollen a year, so keep that in mind when your feeding. Here in N Calif we have been making & feeding sub for decades. Here, we have had the package bee market & almonds, so sub feeding & packages go hand in hand. I have had some of the best pollen for brooding tested back in the 80's-90's, not much has changed since then. I can post some if you would like. Sub feeding does pay off, we shake bees BEFORE the almonds @ $30 lb. Mark, think it ALL through, beekeeping is local, becareful not to paint the picture with a WIDE brush.
    NUTRA-BEE feed supplements

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Spokane, Washington, USA
    Posts
    780

    Default Re: Protien Patty Feeding

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    A personal recipe? Or do you use manufactured pattys?
    Nah I make my own sub as for now. Its not worth the time making your own if you have more than 300 hives so that is why we have Keith. Never tried it but Keith's sub is next on my list as far as price and ease of use.



    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Jarrett View Post
    Mark, think about your goals in early spring, ask yourself, do you need lots of bees in early spring? do you have a plan to deal with them BEFORE they swarm? Most hives bring in about 100-125 pounds of pollen a year, so keep that in mind when your feeding. Here in N Calif we have been making & feeding sub for decades. Here, we have had the package bee market & almonds, so sub feeding & packages go hand in hand. I have had some of the best pollen for brooding tested back in the 80's-90's, not much has changed since then. I can post some if you would like. Sub feeding does pay off, we shake bees BEFORE the almonds @ $30 lb. Mark, think it ALL through, beekeeping is local, becareful not to paint the picture with a WIDE brush.
    Hey Keith I bet you do Give out free samples huh?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    New Albany, Ohio, USA
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    441

    Default Re: Protien Patty Feeding

    Mark,

    I think it is challenging to know when to feed honey bees. Going back to larger animals, it is pretty easy to get a quick and direct correlation between feed and production. If large animals are not getting enough feed then production drops quickly and visibly. With honey bees, I think the same drop in production is there, but often times harder to see as we are not in every hive every day looking at the fine details. Often times we do not see the food shortage until it is almost too late.

    I assume Keith has a fairly intensive feeding routine to get the results that he does. Once you start feeding, it has to be deliberate and continuous. A little feed here and there is wasted time and energy. But, if you have a goal in mind as Keith said, lots of bees, then feed and continue feeding until there is plenty of natural pollen and nectar. In many areas, honey bees are like large production animals that respond well to good nutrition and plenty of it.

    Joe
    Breeder Queens & Honey Bee Nutritional Supplements
    www.latshawapiaries.com

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    28,276

    Default Re: Protien Patty Feeding

    Quote Originally Posted by WLC View Post
    Mark:

    PS-aren't patties a problem in SHB territory?
    No, not on strong colonies.
    Mark Berninghausen
    The answers are the end. The questions are the journey. Journey on.



  11. #11
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    Dec 2005
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: Protien Patty Feeding

    Keith and Joe,
    You touch on some of the things I have noticed and have to decide on. If I feed pollen pattys starting when I get them south I will need to go bakc and feed them again every two weeks or maybe less and I live 1,000 miles away from where the bees winter.

    So, that figures into the economics of beekeeping. If I feed as soon as the hives get to SC I will have to keep on feeding, either staying down south longer or more trips.

    What would be the value of applying a one lb patty monthly thru the winter? would the expense, monetery and time, be worthwhile? In my F-450 I figure the round trip costs me $1,000.00. In my Transit connect, a lot less. I do want to split as early as possible, come Spring.
    Mark Berninghausen
    The answers are the end. The questions are the journey. Journey on.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
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    4,624

    Default Re: Protien Patty Feeding

    Unless you feel that you will have trouble coming up with the bees that you need to get your projected numbers back then I think that it's tough to justify pollen supplements. Frankly my experience with trying to stimulate queens that have shut down at that time of year hasn't been good. Unless you start your sub program in the fall before the queens have stopped laying it is tough to get them restarted early enough to help much. Guys like Keith want lots and lots of bees really early and to accomplish this they are starting their supplement program early and they are feeding a lot, its the only way I know of to trick the seasonal instincts of the hive to shut down when the bees don't instinctively want to. Its pretty tough to make comparisons with how guys, with a "honey crop first mentality" like us operate.
    Last edited by jim lyon; 10-07-2012 at 02:55 PM.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Grand Rapids, Ohio
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    868

    Default Re: Protien Patty Feeding

    As a only honey producer. I've never us them. But then again I don't over winter so my brood boxes still have more then enough pollen come spring to get the new packages started. Each operation is ran differently and needs different things to make them work right. My Dad said even when he over wintered in the north back in the days he never feed any pollen subs. The game has changed a lot sense then too. It's like anything you have to know how and when to use them to get the most for your $.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
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    DuPage County, Illinois USA
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    9,649

    Default Re: Protien Patty Feeding

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    No, not on strong colonies.
    Do people put patties on strong hives?
    Regards, Barry

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Protien Patty Feeding

    Yes, they do. I don't think it would be too far wrong to say that putting pattys on the strongest colonies is most beneficial. You'll get the biggest return doing so.
    Last edited by sqkcrk; 10-07-2012 at 03:54 PM.
    Mark Berninghausen
    The answers are the end. The questions are the journey. Journey on.



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: Protien Patty Feeding

    i put some on a few overwintered nucs this spring when i noticed the first little patches of brood. just a pound or two, but it wasn't too long before plenty of natural forage was coming in anyway.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    DuPage County, Illinois USA
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    Default Re: Protien Patty Feeding

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    Yes, they do.
    But even you said "What would be the value of applying a one lb patty monthly thru the winter?" when bees colonies are not strong. I would think if one puts them on when colonies are needing a boost to build up on, SHB could/would be a problem, unlike having patties on a large strong hive.
    Regards, Barry

  18. #18
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    Dec 2005
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: Protien Patty Feeding

    A. I have never experienced the devistating effects of SHB that seems to happen to folks who keep bees in the South exclusively.
    B. I have seen SHB on hives w/ pollen patties on them, but not to the detriment of the hive. Though I'm sure it occurs.

    My question was in hopes that someone who has really looked/observed the benefits could tell me what to expect. Them there is me to deal with. How much work am I willing to put into this? That's the factor no one else can access better than myself.
    Mark Berninghausen
    The answers are the end. The questions are the journey. Journey on.



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Amador County, Calif
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    3,286

    Default Re: Protien Patty Feeding

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    My question was in hopes that someone who has really looked/observed the benefits could tell me what to expect.
    Mark, sept-oct is the sweet spot for sub feeding, if your just now thinking about it... well, "hope" is in order. good luck
    NUTRA-BEE feed supplements

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    New Albany, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    441

    Default Re: Protien Patty Feeding

    Mark,

    There is an old, perhaps extension image, that I really like, but cannot find at the moment. It shows the reproductive cycle of the honey bee for our region, but is applicable in any part of the country as long as you adjust for temperature and bloom times. The graph portion shows that honey bees have two reproductive peaks throughout the year, one in the spring, and one later in September. I believe the later one is what Keith called the “sweet spot” for patty feeding. The bees are already in their natural buildup cycle and feeding them helps to stimulate them even further. Large populous colonies going into winter initiate brood rearing earlier and are more efficient.

    My opinion for your situation is that your most effective feeding effort may be in the spring prior to the availability of natural pollen and nectar. As you said, feeding and stimulating your largest colonies may be most beneficial in terms of return. I have nucs that will consume a pound a week, so you may want to consider larger patties to cut down on your visits. This way, you are helping the colonies that can best utilize the extra feed and will be able to split them sooner.

    Joe
    Breeder Queens & Honey Bee Nutritional Supplements
    www.latshawapiaries.com

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