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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Brainerd, MN
    Posts
    533

    Default Stimulative Feeding-pollen vs sugar?

    So my mind has been thinking of stimulating my bees come spring, but I have a few questions. Which situation is safer for the bees? Sugar syrup, protein supplement, or both? Also does anybody have any experience in Minnesota doing this? My current plan is to use a protein patty in march and keep them there until the dandelions mid may. I suspect that sugar syrup may be to much stimulation and run the risk of brooding up to much to soon, which could be a serious risk with a late frost. So I would like to give them a slight nudge. Am I completely off in my assumptions? I would like to know a bit more about this other than the standard feed in spring to stimulate brood rearing and some of the logic behind it. Thanks in advance!
    Not Michael Bush. My name is Dan. Sorry for the confusion.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    26,080

    Default Re: Stimulative Feeding-pollen vs sugar?

    It takes a frame of honey and a frame of pollen to produce a frame of bees. Or so I have heard. So, if you want to stimulate growth in your colonys, feed both.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,290

    Default Re: Stimulative Feeding-pollen vs sugar?

    Most of the old time greats of beekeeping tried stimulative feeding and concluding it was a bad idea.

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfeeding...ulativefeeding
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,292

    Default Re: Stimulative Feeding-pollen vs sugar?

    Here in my area, even during the most productive seasons (where each hive has two or three supers full of sealed honey after the main flow ends - usually late June), they have used it all up, usually sometime in September. Feral colonies, that survive long term, are rare. Careful, steady feeding, is usually essential to maintain colonies through most years. Every so often (about one in ten, or one in fifteen years), both Summer and Winter moisture is sufficient to maintain forage availability, making supplemental feeding unnecessary.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,292

    Default Re: Stimulative Feeding-pollen vs sugar?

    I forgot to mention, both pollen substitute/sugar syrup are necessary in these long dearths.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    1,576

    Default Re: Stimulative Feeding-pollen vs sugar?

    I think both syrup and patty are pretty safe for them in the Spring time. They needed the extra feed to go out foraging for nectar and pollens. I have been trying to supplement feed with syrup outside and patty feed inside the hive with no success since Dec. They would not take it because of the cold weather. And choose to cluster together. Then yesterday I saw them feeding on the syrup outside but it was raining too. So I decided to put the syrup inside the hive instead. I have noticed that they are eating on the patty a bit. My thinking was if they are hungry then they will eat otherwise they won't. Pretty much like us to eat at our own will. At least I provide something for them in case they needed. Today, I went outside to look at them and very surprised, I saw them bringing in pollens and nectar. One out of four returning bee has pollens full on the pollen sack. Don't know where they found the pollens but the returning foragers got all yellow up over their bodies. Some pollens are shiny while others are puffy but all are yellow color. Even the landing board at the entrance got yellow up. It is a good sign that might indicate they're having young larvae already. This is still very late winter here. My apple tree just had its leaves fallen down now. I think the right decision was made to give them the extra syrup stimulant yesterday. Good news is we still have 6 more warm sunny days ahead. But at anytime the frost might just kick in as we have crazy weather pattern this year all over the world. I will keep an eye on them against backfilling the hive too much. In a few more days I can open up the hive to check for hopefully some new larvae. If I found many backfilling then will open up the hive with more space. Or discontinue the syrup if need to depending on the situation.
    Your weather pattern much like mine here only I'm earlier in a few months ahead. And brooding takes time so don't be afraid to experiment a bit that they might get cold in a late frost. They know the weather better than we are so can adjust. If you see a cold spell coming then do cover up your hive again. If you have more than one hive then do a little experiment to compare the 2 hives. At least you know a pattern and see which feeding method is better. Timing with the weather is everything here in beekeeping. Let us know what is your findings later on. So far so good with mine.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Amador County, Calif
    Posts
    3,157

    Default Re: Stimulative Feeding-pollen vs sugar?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    Most of the old time greats of beekeeping tried stimulative feeding and concluding it was a bad idea.
    I must say, I have a very different outlook than the old timers.
    NUTRA-BEE feed supplements

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    DuPage County, Illinois USA
    Posts
    9,303

    Default Re: Stimulative Feeding-pollen vs sugar?

    That's because your view is from under a bus!
    Regards, Barry

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Amador County, Calif
    Posts
    3,157

    Default Re: Stimulative Feeding-pollen vs sugar?

    LOL.... that one will keep me laughing all day!
    NUTRA-BEE feed supplements

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Erin, NY /Florence SC
    Posts
    3,361

    Default Re: Stimulative Feeding-pollen vs sugar?

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Jarrett View Post
    I must say, I have a very different outlook than the old timers.
    I agree with Keith (even though he is speaking from under the bus!) I think you'd be hard pressed to find a commerical operator and legions of hobbyists not to mention noted beekeeping writers who could not document the advantage and sometimes exponantial success of stimulative feeding. A good hive with rich stores will build up and do well in the spring given moderate weather and adequate early bloom. Often in large winter clusters, which will have brood in our area the end of January, feed stores are short by mid march and bee foraging limited by cold mornings and typical March/April days which are often rainy. I would be interested to read some opinions of these "old time greats" and how their experiance is different.

    We seldom need to add pollen but in our operation see a great benefit for spring stimulative feeding with 1:1.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    5,630

    Default Re: Stimulative Feeding-pollen vs sugar?

    Quote Originally Posted by Joel View Post
    I would be interested to read some opinions of these "old time greats" and how their experiance is different.
    You can find a variety of these references on Michael's page on stimulative feeding:

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfeeding...ulativefeeding
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Erin, NY /Florence SC
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    3,361

    Default Re: Stimulative Feeding-pollen vs sugar?

    Thanks radar- headed there now!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    4,218

    Default Re: Stimulative Feeding-pollen vs sugar?

    My experience is that stimulative feeding (of feed and/or pollen supplements) can keep bees brooding longer in the fall but that it takes a seasonal trigger in the spring to get the bees going again. Once they begin, feed demand is heavy and any hive that dosent have ample stores may either curtail brood production or simply run out of feed.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Erin, NY /Florence SC
    Posts
    3,361

    Default Re: Stimulative Feeding-pollen vs sugar?

    From the brief excerpts I guess I don't see MB's page or the experts he listed as saying spring (stimulatve) feeding is "Bad" so am a bit confused about that wording. Brother Adam even states in his quote they did spring feeding for the purpose of drawing out comb so I would view that has a postive statement. The Abbey's primary goals were likely different in timing and end result than most of our own although for us we draw out a ton of new comb annually.

    Jim's post about fall feeding is on point as studies quoted by USDA ( I think here on beesource) compare the production of hives in spring not in relation to spring stimulative feeding but the continuance of brood later in the season through pollen and sugar feed as well as in relation to the amount of total winter stores and the effect on the next seasons production. I think the "trigger" he speaks of is related to the circadian rythm or daylight triggers that affect every living thing.

    We've had great results during 20 years as a hobbyist - sideliner - full timer so am suprised to hear the practice put down. I'm interested to hear about what the bigs and small think about spring stimulus feeding as that's what we do here - challenge the norm and plod new paths. delaplane, cornell, peridocials, text books - a great deal of support information out there. I can not find an actual research paper but would like to.

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