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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Hudson, WI USA
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    2,243

    Default A pollen question.

    I was watching Michael Palmer's latest video at the National Honey Show and he was explaining how he used trapped pollen to add to his cell starter. He added it to an empty clean brood frame. It made me stop my bicycle. I was under the impression that bees had to eat fermented pollen to get nutrition. Clearly I was wrong. It also is an answer to my pollen frame worry. The first time I tried to make queens using a cloake board, I took a pollen frame from a broodnest, checked for eggs, and missed some. The bees found them and ignored my bars of prepared eggs. This method eliminates that possibility. A revelation. It's funny how you can labor under a misapprehension for so long. I think he said he could trap 100 pounds of pollen in a few weeks from 12 strong colonies, that means I should only need to buy/make 1 trap for an operation my size - to make 30 queens? Thanks Mike.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Flora,IL
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    2,644

    Default Re: A pollen question.

    Not sure what kind of pollen traps hes useing, but I would do more than one.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Schenectady, NY, USA
    Posts
    265

    Default Re: A pollen question.

    There is absolutely no question that pollen cannot be directly consumed by larvae. It must be converted to 'bee bread' a process involving the addition of enzymes by nurse bees and a type of fermentation involving a fungus in the cells.

    As to how many traps you need...a good trap (such as a Sundance) can easily collect a pound in a week, and in some seasons in some locations, more than a pound a day! How long can it be kept frozen with significant deterioration for the intended purpose of feeding larvae...dunno. I watch for such reports with some care and AFAIK no such research has been done.

    Regardless of what is said by others, if you are going to use fresh pollen make sure it is VERY fresh. Pollen is full of protein, all kinds of vitamins, and moisture...a perfect medium for growing all kinds of bacteria. If you can't add pollen frames from existing hives, together with their bee-provided enzymes and, etc. get the fresh pollen to your hives as soon as possible!
    Lloyd Spear, Owner of Ross Rounds, Inc. Manufacturers of round section comb equipment and Sundance Pollen Traps.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    6,076

    Default Re: A pollen question.

    If the pollen will not be sold, merely fed to the bees, the simplest method may be to empty the trap daily & put the pollen in the deep freeze until use.

    Interesting thing about the fermentation thing, I'm in two minds about this. Tasting fresh pollen, it's quite nice. But taste stored pollen from a hive, it tastes terrible, clearly fermented in some way, not rotten though.

    However, look at a typical healthy hive, you'll see large amounts of pollen coming in the front door. But look inside the hive at the amount of pollen in storage, it often will not be much. So the only conclusion is the turn around time cannot be much, in many hives it could only be hours, rather than days. So, not a lot of time for fermentation in some situations. The royal jelly and bee bread making process happens within the bee. Not sure how long it takes but understand it's less about fermentation and more about enzyme action.

    How about those new swarms that start raising brood within days of starting the hive. Virtually zero stored pollen but using the pollen as it comes in.

    No science to back me, but my belief is the bees can use either, fermented, or non fermented. If it has to be stored for a while, by fermenting it the bees have found a great way to extend it's usable life.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,901

    Default Re: A pollen question.

    Correct Oldtimer, they can and will use it just as it comes in, no doubt about it. As for trapping pollen, I had a top mounted sundance that didn't work well in my opinion, I ended up taking parts off of it and building my own trap that sits on the entrance board and traps about 1/3 lb. a day.
    Last edited by jmgi; 12-31-2013 at 09:05 AM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Flora,IL
    Posts
    2,644

    Default Re: A pollen question.

    No offense intende to LLoyd, but same issues here, I had 4 sundance units on last year, and none performed well. I used a cheap plastic porch style that worked fine, but pollen gets wet very easy the pollen in the sundance stays nice and dry!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,901

    Default Re: A pollen question.

    Someone on Youtube uses bottom mounted traps, maybe they are Sundance traps, and they appear to work real well. I got the top mounted one for ease of use.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Flora,IL
    Posts
    2,644

    Default Re: A pollen question.

    I have 2 of each... and a dozen of the 5.00 porch style..... The bottom mounted did do a little better but any one of the porch styles outdid it.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,901

    Default Re: A pollen question.

    gmcharlie, I like to be able to put them on and off easily that is why I now only use the porch style. Even though they are not rainproof, they work best for me because I just go out in the morning on a day that looks like it will be nice when pollen is coming in, I put on all my traps around 6 a.m. and take them off around noon or 1 p.m. and let them have the pollen for the rest of the day. Pollen comes in best early in the day anyways, although it may be a bit damp from the morning dew, so I empty the traps into cookie sheets and spread it around to dry for the rest of the day and then freeze it.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Flora,IL
    Posts
    2,644

    Default Re: A pollen question.

    I am not sure takeing them on and off is a good plan. I didn't put any on until after the nectar flow. But the theory is that if your trapping a percentage, the hive will boost pollen foargering to cover the loss. if your takeing them on and off, then they may not be able to do that well...

    Just thinking out loud. For me the daily grind is a pain. Working on a redesign of the sundance the pollen drawer inside works great or a better design on the porch type some of the europeans use a star shapped hole which reportedly works great.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,593

    Default Re: A pollen question.

    The bees innoculate the pollen as they collect it. If you have it in any kind of warm moist environment (like when you feed it back) and you haven't killed off the bacteria (with essential oils etc.) it will quickly ferment.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,901

    Default Re: A pollen question.

    gmcharlie, never gave much thought to that, I just figured by only trapping a half day at most then removing the trap, I wouldn't be totally greedy! Even with my homemade traps, I witnessed that many bees with very small pollen loads would still squeeze through the trap without losing their load, some bees would only lose the load on one leg, so they still are getting some pollen with the traps on, and then of course after I take off the traps around noon they have the rest of the day to themselves, maybe I'm wrong but I don't think I am hurting them very much.

    I have seen the traps with the star shaped hole, that shape must help remove pollen loads better without as much effort for the bees to get through the trap, maybe.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Flora,IL
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    2,644

    Default Re: A pollen question.

    I am not saying your wrong at all, not sure where the "balance" point on pollen intake is, is it hourly daily or weekly to the bees?? I have no clue. I have noticed when I leave the traps on it doesn't seem to harm or slow down the hive at all. I had mine on for about 6 weeks straight

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    salisbury, wiltshire, united kingdom
    Posts
    76

    Default Re: A pollen question.

    I have traps that were designed by a local beekeeper in the uk, I have made my own copy with a modification or two the pollen mesh is mounted on a swivel so that the trap can be opened to allow bees to take pollen into the hive as well as the beekeeper trapping some aswell, it sits under the hive and is similar to the sundance, I have to upload some pics to a uk forum for one of their members so if interested I will upload them here as well, (pics are not taken yet)

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Flora,IL
    Posts
    2,644

    Default Re: A pollen question.

    I would love to see some pics.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Gainesboro, Tennessee, USA.
    Posts
    397

    Default Re: A pollen question.

    Even if the bees have pollen in the queen rearing hive they will not give the fullest amounts of Royal Jelly unless they know they have plenty coming in for all the long haul. Hives don't need tons of queens they just need one good one so they will regress if needed.

    The fed pollen might not be getting eaten right away but it shortly will be fermented and what is already beebread will be consumed at high amounts to create more royal jelly.

    Bees are smart and know their resources well. It is beekeepers many times who ends up messing up the bees plans in the area of food stores.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Suffolk, VA
    Posts
    2,735

    Default Re: A pollen question.

    Quote Originally Posted by gmcharlie View Post
    I didn't put any on until after the nectar flow.
    What's your logic with this approach? Are you trying to maximize brood rearing during the flow? For us, the pollen really slows prior to the end of the main nectar flow. There is still some coming in, but nothing like that prior to and at the early stages of the main flow.

    I've never used the sundance traps, but I was under the impression that you just move a lever and the trap is not collecting. This is the one that I've used: http://www.brushymountainbeefarm.com...uctinfo/ND464/ It works OK, but not great. It can be easily opened and closed. I'm planning to get a few of the sundance or similar traps this spring.
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  18. #18
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Flora,IL
    Posts
    2,644

    Default Re: A pollen question.

    Well my logic in delaying was not to slow the bees at all. when A nectar flow is on, I didn't want to screw up the "balance of foragers" and make them switch to pollen. once the flow is over I don't care if they all chase pollen.

    THe sundance is a finely built trap. my bees just never seem adapt and moving in and out of it.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    salisbury, wiltshire, united kingdom
    Posts
    76

    Default Re: A pollen question.

    Quote Originally Posted by gmcharlie View Post
    I would love to see some pics.
    I will try and get some taken this w/end and upload to the site.

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