I'm a few hours south west of your county by car Cynthia. I saw the bees bringing in pollen yesterday. Although I could see putting the patties in earlier or not at all ... it makes sense what Vance said about waiting to see the bees bringing in Pollen. Every hive was bringing in Pollen yesterday but the bees practically ignored the open feeders I had out. I'm guessing they are rearing brood right now but if the cold weather keeps up they may not be able to get out to get enough pollen. Based on using the pollen patties as a necessity the cold weather may be making a good case to use them this year. Maybe someone could agree or disagree with my thinking on that? If they are raising brood and then it gets cold for a month is that a good reason to put the pollen patties on?
I too have been reluctant to open the hives but will probably put some pollen pattie mixture up top here in the next little warm day when it is close to 50. If we over stimulate them with too much pollen we will need to keep an eye out for swarm cells when it warms up. I have less experience than others that have posted but I think I am giving an ok response to your question. I hope so. I wish you luck.