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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Nevada, MO
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    204

    Default Protein powder in winter

    My two first-year hives are light, and I'm feeding sugar. Today, I also fed a cup or two of protein powder. Not sure if this was a good idea or not?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,409

    Default Re: Protein powder in winter

    Bees mostly use protein for raising brood. That is, nurse bees need pollen/protein to be able to produce royal jelly. So when there is little brood being raised in winter, protein requirements are relatively low.

    A useful page on bee nutrition:
    http://www.beeccdcap.uga.edu/documen...Article10.html
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    DFW area, TX, USA
    Posts
    1,103

    Default Re: Protein powder in winter

    I've heard it will stimulate the queen to laying.....Any truth to that?
    LeeB
    I try to learn from my mistakes, and from yours when you give me a heads up :)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Concord, CA
    Posts
    4,167

    Default Re: Protein powder in winter

    I've had some sitting out in my yard the last couple weeks, the bees finally started taking it.
    If you put the powder in the hive the bees might remove it as trash. Its better to let the bees take it from outside the hive, or make patties by mixing it with honey.
    Dan

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Downingtown, PA
    Posts
    248

    Default Re: Protein powder in winter

    Something to consider ... When bees eat protein in the winter, there needs to be some warm spells so they can take cleansing flights. If you have long periods of temperatures below 40, you could cause other issues.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Nevada, MO
    Posts
    204

    Default Re: Protein powder in winter

    Thanks for the advice. I think I'll bring the protein home.

    How often do they need cleansing flights? Does it just have to be above 40?

    Usually we don't go more than 4-5 days without some warmer days. It's been colder than usual and the forecast isn't good .

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    carney, maryland, USA
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    594

    Default Re: Protein powder in winter

    Quote Originally Posted by PAHunter62 View Post
    Something to consider ... When bees eat protein in the winter, there needs to be some warm spells so they can take cleansing flights. If you have long periods of temperatures below 40, you could cause other issues.
    I am a bit skeptical about this. If bees store pollen (protein) in the comb cells, it is available to them during the winter. So I would assume that bees would moderate or stop their intake of protein when they sense a long cold spell. I am feeding both sugar and pollen patties during the winter, depending on the bees to use proper judgement.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,409

    Default Re: Protein powder in winter

    In many supplement patties, protein and sugar are mixed together (in varying ratios, depending on the product). If the bees eat the patties to get the carbohydrates, but also incidentally consume protein (because they are mixed together), then they will need to defecate the protein solids sooner or later. If bees cannot leave the hive to defecate, dysentery is a possible result.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Strafford, NH, USA
    Posts
    387

    Default Re: Protein powder in winter

    I tried some of the "winter patties" this year and just the other day after being stuck in the hives for ~7-10 days (too dang cold) the bees were trying to make cleansing flights in ~30 degree weather. The snow in front of the hives shows significant fecal spotting (I don't think dysentery yet) as well as numerous dead bees as far as 50' away from the hives. Even if it isn't dysentary, I wish I had left the winter patties of until later this month so the bees didn't feel need to clean out in such cold weather. This coming weekend we should have low to mid 40's, so I will see how the bees are doing.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Bedford, Indiana
    Posts
    43

    Default Re: Protein powder in winter

    Better yet, IMO, use the same size boxes (now you can put a frame anywhere) and if they don't have the stores needed to make it through the winter give it to them. No need to be greedy when it comes to a hive making it or not.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    4,118

    Default Re: Protein powder in winter

    Sometime in the next few weeks there will probably be some flight days, and at this time of year the bees will be searching for pollen on such days. Typically they will forage any kind of pollen like substance they can find - dust from animal feed, and sawdust for example.

    This is a good time to put dry pollen sub in an open feeder - a barrel, bucket, or trashcan laying sideways for example. Once natural pollen becomes available demand for that dissapears.

    If you want to feed pollen sub to stimulate brood rearing then you should make patties or candy to put inside the hives. In my area hardly a week goes by without a flight day and feeding sub in winter works great for me.
    Since '09-25H-T-Z6b

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    carney, maryland, USA
    Posts
    594

    Default Re: Protein powder in winter

    Quote Originally Posted by Rader Sidetrack View Post
    In many supplement patties, protein and sugar are mixed together (in varying ratios, depending on the product). If the bees eat the patties to get the carbohydrates, but also incidentally consume protein (because they are mixed together), then they will need to defecate the protein solids sooner or later. If bees cannot leave the hive to defecate, dysentery is a possible result.
    Good thought. We're supposed to get mid 50's on Monday with low wind. I'll take a quick look, and pull the patties off.

    Phil

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