Collecting Pollen Questions
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
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    Rutland County, Vermont,USA
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    2,469

    Default Collecting Pollen Questions

    Sorry if this doesn't belong here but oddly, "Products Of The Hive" has nothing in it about pollen.
    I am thinking about collecting some pollen next season and have read up on it a little bit but I question the sources. From the reliable info, I have learned that it takes constant attention to make sure your hive has enough pollen and to collect it before it molds. So, this may be more than I want to take on, but I remain curious about it. I have 3 hives and would like to collect pollen for allergies. I would like to hear from people who collect it and how they handle it after collection. Can I just freeze it until it is consumed or does it need to be frozen, then dried? Any info/experience in collecting and preserving pollen is welcomed. Thanks all! J

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Collierville, TN
    Posts
    124

    Default Re: Collecting Pollen Questions

    I collected some pollen this summer, it was new to me and like you I couldn't find a lot of info on it. Ray Marler described a cleaning method that worked well for me. You need a table, a fan, a sheet and 2 shallow bowls/plates or something like that. Play around with the fan speed and distance and winnow the pollen, pouring slowly from one container to the next in front of the fan over the cloth or whatever you use. The debris should blow out leaving you reasonably clean pollen. I freeze mine before, and after cleaning in a new container until I bottle it up. I tried drying some in a dehydrator but the result was hard and unpleasant. I have 10 traps ready to go, I had 5 or 6 I think on bees this summer. I have seen some simple designs that I would like to replicate, to get maybe another 10 or 20 going, if anyone reading this has plans or suggestions please let me know. Good luck on your pollen trapping Fivej.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Suffolk, VA
    Posts
    4,228

    Default Re: Collecting Pollen Questions

    I run Sundance bottom traps and there are awesome. They pay for themselves very quickly. I tried the small plastic traps and there is no comparison to the Sundance. I guess if you need only enough for yourself, then the plastic traps might be fine. Pollen MUST be collected daily (at least in the southeast). Both SHB and extreme humidity will result in problems if not collected daily. We keep our pollen frozen at all times. Colonies will still make honey, but I've found that yields are reduced. I could throttle back the pollen collecting and get more honey, but we only run 3 traps so the sacrifice is not huge, and collecting as we do provides about all we need to sell and consume ourselves.

    Even if you're not serious about selling, consider the Sundance trap. The bees tolerate it well and yields are incredible.
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Isle of Wight, VA
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    Default Re: Collecting Pollen Questions

    I'm in the same area as AstroBee. I have 2 of the plastic front pollen traps on 2 of my topbar hives. I don't sell it, only use it for myself and family. Have a bit stored up in the freezer for over winter.

    Pollen must be collected daily from the traps. Ants can also be a problem, at least in the front entrance traps. I like to pour mine into a shallow, open container and freeze it for a day before putting it in a Ziploc bag back in the freezer. That seems to take enough moisture out of it, and the frozen stuff has more nutrition than the dried pollen.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Suffolk Co, NY, USA
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    3,742

    Default Re: Collecting Pollen Questions

    Do a search for 'pollen traps' here on BS using the 'advanced search' feature near the top of the page. Choose 'all types' in the search type section.
    I got pages (20) of results.
    You are right, the posts are in every forum on the board and may be a reason you found such limited info.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    53,942

    Default Re: Collecting Pollen Questions

    Dee and Ed Lusby used to have pollen traps on their hives all the time and they got out to them once every few months. But pollen keeps much better int he desert. How often you will need to empty the trap will depend on your climate (humidity in general) and the current weather. It needs to stay dry and it's wet when they gather it. The Sundance traps have a screened bottom on the pollen drawer so if the humidity isn't too high it keeps pretty well and you can empty it once a week or so unless it's rainy. Then you may need to empty them more often. Also this will depend, or course, on where you live and how low the humidity usually is. I run top entrances, so the bees are used to a top entrance. I run Sundance II traps, which are a top entrance trap. I have not had trouble with ants in my climate (though Dee and Ed did in their climate). Probably having it on top contributes to that lack of ant problem as well. The top trap keeps the pollen very clean (important if you wish to sell it for human consumption, but not so important if it's just to feed to the bees).
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Rutland County, Vermont,USA
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    Default Re: Collecting Pollen Questions

    Thanks for the info and the search tip. My search term was "pollen collecting" which gave me threads on every post that mentioned pollen.
    Anyone care to guesstimate how much pollen can be collected per hive? I have 3 hives and my goal would be to collect enough for 3 people to use for allergies. My daughters started taking it last year (store bought) and think they worked up to 2 teaspoons per day. I know this will be hard to estimate. I am also concerned about taking too much away from the bees, but I will read up on this before I throw out more questions. Thanks again. J

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Location
    Portugal
    Posts
    1,306

    Default Re: Collecting Pollen Questions

    Fivej in this controlled study https://bibliotecadigital.ipb.pt/bit...aneiro%202.pdf conducted in Portugal are given information that may be useful to you about the pollen harvest. It has an abstract in English.

    "During this flowering period of the chestnut tree the average daily yields per hive were 178 g in REB apiary and of 228 g in the apiary VV." pg. 54

    "In three of the four experimental apiaries the production of honey was lower in the hives where it was performed pollen collection with an average reduction of approximately 18%, which confirms the negative impact of pollen pickling on honey production." pg. 56
    Last edited by Eduardo Gomes; 10-31-2017 at 10:14 AM. Reason: adding info

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Morro Bay, California, USA
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    2,272

    Default Re: Collecting Pollen Questions

    The owners of my out-yard locations wanted to pollen due to its popularity as a "health" food. I got one of the Mann Lake traps -- A clumsy wooden drawer with a screen entrance. These require a cantilevered shim to support the trap.

    The huge advantage of this system is the ability to build multiple shims cheaply, and the pollen collection unit can be rotated among many hives simply by removing the box and moving to another colony. The periodic rotation reduces the pressure on any one hive. The internet wisdom is the traps should be left in place for an intermediate period (as the colony adjusts the pollen collecting field force to make up for the shortage, and this adjustment is not rapid but requires a week).

    I even built a couple of boxes where the cantilevered shim was an extension of the side boards -- this removes the 3/4" extra space the shim introduces (and which is filled with burr comb).

    The unit itself is not thoughtfully designed -- oversize 3/4" board construction. No drone/queen escape in the hardware cloth pollen stripping mesh -- means the trap kills dozens of drones.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Isle of Wight, VA
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    2,835

    Default Re: Collecting Pollen Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Fivej View Post
    Thanks for the info and the search tip. My search term was "pollen collecting" which gave me threads on every post that mentioned pollen.
    Anyone care to guesstimate how much pollen can be collected per hive? I have 3 hives and my goal would be to collect enough for 3 people to use for allergies. My daughters started taking it last year (store bought) and think they worked up to 2 teaspoons per day. I know this will be hard to estimate. I am also concerned about taking too much away from the bees, but I will read up on this before I throw out more questions. Thanks again. J
    I'm taking about 1 tablespoon per day of frozen pollen for arthritis. Allergy relief should happen with a much smaller dose, say 1/2 teaspoon. My husband takes even less than that for his seasonal allergies. It has really helped him, but they say the fall pollen doesn't work on spring allergies. Who knows until you try it.

    Now on to your question of how much. I currently have at least 4 quart size Ziploc bags in my freezer from trapping off just one hive with the plastic front entrance trap. That will be more than sufficient for my 1 tablespoon per day until late spring when I can start trapping again.

    I have an apitherapy facebook group, where you are welcome to look a the posted files to see more about the benefits of bee pollen. https://www.facebook.com/groups/apitherapy/files/

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Mogollon Rim, Arizona 85933
    Posts
    747

    Default Re: Collecting Pollen Questions

    I bought a sundance...

    reversed engineered it, ripped it apart, I have 25 I made this summer @ a cost of $30.00 each
    finding the screen wasn't easy, but I found stainless 5,6,7,8, screen cheap
    bee escapes are made of stainless, altered my boxes a little, not a exact copy, front opening drawers not rear or side
    easy to make. works friggin great
    and no I will not offer plans, go buy your own sundance and figure it out.

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Rutland County, Vermont,USA
    Posts
    2,469

    Default

    Thank you Ruthie. I will have my daughter's check out your Facebook page. I am not sure where they got the information as to how much pollen to take for allergies and I may be wrong about how much they actually take. I do recall that they started out with very small amounts and worked up. They both say it has helped. J

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