Early summer low-pollen issue
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Winchester, Ontario
    Posts
    37

    Default Early summer low-pollen issue

    Hi all.

    I have two colonies that I started from nucs a little over 3 weeks ago. I fed them a couple pints of 1:1 syrup to get them started. At the time, the dandelion bloom was on, and there was a ton of pollen going in.

    At the 1-week inspection, there was some nice solid patches of brood, a decent ring of pollen, and some nectar / syrup stores.

    I've fed intermittently since then, and just inspected a second time. Both colonies are well set for nectar/syrup, but there is a complete lack of visible pollen inside. I was expecting as much as while observing the hive as I saw very few bees bringing in pollen supplies. Furthermore, the brood was quite spotty. I found both queens, but I'm wondering if the bees are cannibalising the eggs and young due to the lack of protein.

    Both colonies have expanded from ~2.5 frames of bees up to 5-6 frames of bees, so they've grown a fair bit.

    I think we are on the edge of clover starting to bloom here - I'm seeing some blooms on my lawn. However, there isn't a ton of pasture close by.

    Should I be thinking about feeding some sort of pollen substitute?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    washington, vermont, USA
    Posts
    389

    Default Re: Early summer low-pollen issue

    I would as starting from 2.5 frames of bees they have a lot of growing to do and not many bees currently to do it. Pollen sub as well as syrup to draw out frames just keep an eye out they don't plug all the comb with syrup.
    How spotty is your brood? Try looking at the open brood, see how well the larva are being fed. Are they loaded with jelly or do they just have a small puddle around them? What color are the larva (they should be pearly white)? Might want to try doing a mite wash. You could use powdered sugar or co2 method as to not sacrifice the nurse bees. Keeping the mites in check is going to be another key to getting these nucs to build up in time. Good luck bud

  4. #3
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Winchester, Ontario
    Posts
    37

    Default Re: Early summer low-pollen issue

    Just to follow up on this:

    My hunch about the clover blooming was right; I posted the original post on Friday. On Saturday, there was *some* pollen heading into the hives. Sunday and this morning, there is a steady stream. Seems all is well for now, but I am going to get some protein supplement on hand for next year to help bridge the gap between then end of the dandelion bloom here and the beginning of 'everything else'.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    6,172

    Default Re: Early summer low-pollen issue

    Keep in mind that there are seasonal differences each year. For example, hardly any of my crab apples bloomed this year although my regular apples did. You may not always need to bridge a gap.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Grant Co WV
    Posts
    54

    Default Re: Early summer low-pollen issue

    Also remember that the majority of pollen is fed to the brood. If there are not enough foragers to bring in ample pollen and nectar they feed all that comes in. The brood cycles leave the look of brood patterns different depending on what cycle you are looking at and where it is in the cycle.

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