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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    SNOW SHOE PA USA
    Posts
    1,222

    Default Pollen Substitute.

    So who all uses Pollen Substitute and why?
    What are the pros and cons?
    Thank you.
    Say hello to the bad guy!
    year five==== 31 hives==== T{OAV}

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Taylor County, Georgia, USA
    Posts
    713

    Default Re: Pollen Substitute.

    I used it this year with the intention of building up faster for Spring. I doubt that I will ever try it again, though. Bees here have access to real pollen starting in mid January and even earlier. They totally ignore dry substitute when the real stuff starts coming in heavily.
    Try it. What could happen?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    1,666

    Default Re: Pollen Substitute.

    I use them because my local beekeeper use them also. They are good to use when nothing is out there for my bees to eat during
    the early Spring/late Winter months when it is rainy and chilly outside. The bees will eat them when nothing is available. I figure there
    is something for them to munch on until the real pollen come in. The subs make bigger worker bees so I don't know if that is bad or good? I rather feed than having them starve to death. Don't you think so?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    1,433

    Default Re: Pollen Substitute.

    I have put on small amounts homemade patty using megabee for experimentation, started in early february. The stronger hives are readily gorging themselves, the weaker hives are consuming but at a lower rate. Unfortunately one hive already had SHB larva in a patty, little tiny tiny larva all over during a warm spell. You'de think the extreme cold would have knocked out all SHB. Still finding dead beatles on the inspection boards. Perhaps a couple hives had a few more beetles than I thought approaching winter.

    All hives were actively consuming patties while loads of natural maple pollen was coming in.

    I may experiment w/ patties on in fall to help winter buildup, beetle permitting.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Chattanooga, TN USA
    Posts
    685

    Default Re: Pollen Substitute.

    I won't from now on.

    Tried feeding them in the summer, it only got me hive beetles and maggots. Tried feeding them in the winter, bees ignored it. Tried feeding it in the spring, bees still ignored it in favor of the real thing they were bringing in.

    For where I am, there just does not appear to be any time of the year where the bees are interested in the things as it goes straight from "too cold to break cluster" to "loads of real pollen everywhere" with maybe a day in between.
    Beekeeper since 2013. Read my bee blog at:
    http://harrisonbayhoney.blogspot.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,925

    Default Re: Pollen Substitute.

    >For where I am, there just does not appear to be any time of the year where the bees are interested in the things as it goes straight from "too cold to break cluster" to "loads of real pollen everywhere" with maybe a day in between.

    Same here. I do see some failed fall flows where feeding pollen (I do not feed substitute) seems helpful, but most years it doesn't make any difference.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,325

    Default Re: Feeding Pollen Substitute

    Presently we're in a spring build-up flow that I usually only see in one out of ten years. The bees are filling the outside combs with lots of multi-colored pollens. They were vigorously taking dry BeePro pollen sub and brewer's yeast, but as more pollen has become available, they have entirely stopped taking the dry sub. Meanwhile I am still feeding a few pollen sub patties, most colonies are almost completely ignoring the patties, though a few are still taking them like a starving carnivore. The best consumer of pollen sub patties always seem to be the queen cell builder colonies. I usually need to give them a new patty, every few days, especially while they're building cells.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    West Bath, Maine, United States
    Posts
    1,128

    Default Re: Feeding Pollen Substitute

    Joseph, You draw out most of your combs in cell builders don't you? Is it the sub that helps or just the age and density of bees that makes the difference in your observations?
    4 yrs, Peak 14, back to zip, T lite; godfather to brother's 3.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,325

    Default Re: Feeding Pollen Substitute

    Actually I'm drawing most of my new comb, right now, in new splits. I'm selecting colonies that appear, to me, ready to split. Moving all of their nurse bees, and most of the brood, with them, leaving the queen and field bees at the old locations, giving them several empty combs and frames with plastic foundation, including some that are foundationless frames, and doing the same in both splits. They quickly build comb in the hives with the old queen, and soon after the queen cell emerges and the new queen is mated, the frames in the queenless part of the split, also build combs in their incomplete frames. I do leave a frame of brood, in all stages, emerging to eggs, in the old location, with the queen and field bees.

    I don't actually grow most of my new comb in cell builder colonies, but they are good at completing partially drawn combs and filling them with pollen and nectar.
    Last edited by Joseph Clemens; 03-06-2014 at 07:39 AM. Reason: Fixing a few, late night, typos.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
    Posts
    3,622

    Default Re: Feeding Pollen Substitute

    Here is late summer and fall dearth. If not fed pollen sub, bees don't do well into winter and have more die offs by spring. I feed in cell builders too. Nectar and honey is carbohydrates, pollen is everything else. If not pollen coming in, then bees are undernurished and not healthy.
    “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    fresno CA USA
    Posts
    113

    Default Re: Feeding Pollen Substitute

    Started feeding sub again yesterday almond bloom is over and no spring wild flowers because of drought! They are eating them up. trying to keep them building queens are coming next couple of weeks. No problem in CA with eating sub any time of year they are pollen starved most of the year.
    David
    beebotanical.com 40 years-4000 colonies-treatment eo's

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Chattanooga, TN USA
    Posts
    685

    Default Re: Feeding Pollen Substitute

    Quote Originally Posted by RayMarler View Post
    Here is late summer and fall dearth. If not fed pollen sub, bees don't do well into winter and have more die offs by spring. I feed in cell builders too. Nectar and honey is carbohydrates, pollen is everything else. If not pollen coming in, then bees are undernurished and not healthy.
    Um, you posted this yesterday, and both your location and your sig say you're in California. How exactly is it late summer in California in early March?

    Did you move to the southern hemisphere and just forget to update your info?
    Beekeeper since 2013. Read my bee blog at:
    http://harrisonbayhoney.blogspot.com

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