Feeding pollen sub in the Winter

View Poll Results: Do you feed pollen sub in the Winter months?

Voters
18. You may not vote on this poll
  • Yes

    3 16.67%
  • No

    15 83.33%
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    Stevens Point, WI
    Posts
    227

    Default Feeding pollen sub in the Winter

    I'm having a discussion with a Southern beekeeper who is adamant that it's good to feed bees pollen sub all through winter.
    My argument was that while that may work in the Southern states, that's not the case in the Upper midwest.

    One year I had made candy boards with pollen sub...I had planned on putting them on in March, but my bees started running out of honey in January.....the bees ate the candy but discarded the pollen sub to the bottom board where I actually saw hive beetle larvae feeding on it in winter! Our bees don't produce brood in the winter, so not much need for pollen sub.
    I just think it's dangerous to put out a video telling people to feed pollen sub in the winter as a blanket statement. All beekeeping is LOCAL.
    So, maybe I'm just plain wrong.....so I'll ask:


    Do you feed bees pollen in any form from October thru February? (This poll is for Upper Midwest Beekeepers only please)
    Last edited by KevinWI; 12-28-2019 at 10:17 AM.
    Help is here to never misplace that hive tool again: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UvwlSiOzgOU

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    Stevens Point, WI
    Posts
    227

    Default Re: Feeding pollen sub in the Winter

    Just an FYI...

    Upper Midwest means PA, OH,MI, IN, IL, IA, MN, WI, SD, ND, MT, NE.......I'd also throw Canada in here as we have similar winters.

    It's not new england, East coast, West coast or below mason dixon line. Just saying...Oregon is not Upper midwest.
    Help is here to never misplace that hive tool again: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UvwlSiOzgOU

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Scott county, Arkansas, Usa
    Posts
    1,528

    Default Re: Feeding pollen sub in the Winter

    Oops, My brain got stuck on the part about "discussion with Southern beekeeper". I voted no. I have seriously skewed the results if no more than two people vote.
    Can you remove my vote?

    Sorry
    Alex
    Ten years of Beekeeping before varroa. Started again spring of 2014.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    8,173

    Default Re: Feeding pollen sub in the Winter

    I agree. No where colonies go broodless for winter, and have no regular cleansing flights. Unnecessary for colony survival, and IMO, causes the colony to be too active creating more indigestibles in the gut...meaning a greater need for cleansing flights.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    Stevens Point, WI
    Posts
    227

    Default Re: Feeding pollen sub in the Winter

    Quote Originally Posted by AHudd View Post
    Oops, My brain got stuck on the part about "discussion with Southern beekeeper". I voted no. I have seriously skewed the results if no more than two people vote.
    Can you remove my vote?

    Sorry
    Alex
    That's ok...only two people voted so far and neither one live in the upper midwest....I made the poll public so I can weed out the people who don't live in the Upper midwest.
    Help is here to never misplace that hive tool again: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UvwlSiOzgOU

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    4,257

    Default Re: Feeding pollen sub in the Winter

    Kevin, I agree that in beekeeping there can be no blanket statements about what to do or when to do it. Many heated discussions re: SBB, ventilation, wrapping, etc. Best thing to do is whatever works well in your particular location.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Gainesboro, Tennessee
    Posts
    1,462

    Default Re: Feeding pollen sub in the Winter

    Yes and no. We feed patties in winter but definitely not thru. I like timing my patties to be right before the maple pollen hit. We have cleansing flights every month of the year so things are easier here in that regard. Even though I can get away with it, I find that feeding really early is not the worth the time and the sub to me.
    Feeding early patties. https://youtu.be/bUDd3vk7bgY

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Morro Bay, California, USA
    Posts
    2,271

    Default Re: Feeding pollen sub in the Winter

    For years, my rule of thumb was to begin feeding full fraction protein sub when the Arroyo Willow bloomed. This is about the 15th of January in my region of temperate coastal California. By Feb 1st, the hives are humming, and spring is full tilt underway.

    Last year, tempted by a great deal on MegaBee (from our local developer, Dr. Gordon Wardell), dreams of taking nuc production to the next level, I began feeding two weeks early, on Jan 1st. January was warm and dry here, and the bees built out 4 or so frames of wall to wall brood on the sub. Then on Feb 1st, the rains came in with a vengeance, and my hives that were building up like boomers starved out in the month long rainy weather. Starved, because nothing consumes resources like growing brood. The rains washed all the Arroyo Willow pollen away, and there was not a drop of feed, and no warm dry days to forage.

    Any other year, I likely could of pulled the "early feed" trick off, but not last year. Farming its all about the weather.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    Wimer, Oregon
    Posts
    137

    Default Re: Feeding pollen sub in the Winter

    I don't feed until the dandelions show here, usually around feb 15th - mar 1st that's our sign to get the bees built up for blackberry bloom starting may 7th - the 15th. that give 45 days for the hive to get strong.
    here in oregon there's no reason to feed any pollen subs earlier, it's just way to wet, and rains don't really slow down about mar 1st.
    DavidZ

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Santa Rosa County, Florida
    Posts
    577

    Default Re: Feeding pollen sub in the Winter

    I have patties on mine now. Here in NW Florida we have some brood year round. Strong colonies are using about a pound a month and are already brooding up.
    54+ years 16 colonies Treat using OAV
    http://99-40.com

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Warren County, NJ, USA
    Posts
    553

    Default Re: Feeding pollen sub in the Winter

    Quote Originally Posted by KevinWI View Post
    Upper Midwest means PA, OH,MI, IN, IL, IA, MN, WI, SD, ND, MT, NE.......I'd also throw Canada in here as we have similar winters.
    i am 1 mile outside of you definition of upper midwest, but i wont put pollen sub on until after the first cleansing flight in the new year, usually second half of february but i want to see high temps above 40* in the 2-week forecast. let them alone november to february.

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Campbell River, BC, CA
    Posts
    1,724

    Default Re: Feeding pollen sub in the Winter

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    Any other year, I likely could of pulled the "early feed" trick off, but not last year. Farming its all about the weather.
    Simple solution. Once you start feeding, you should not stop until the natural sources become abundant.

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Covington County, Alabama, USA
    Posts
    1,600

    Default Re: Feeding pollen sub in the Winter

    I have always been highly skeptical of the value of feeding pollen patties at any time of the year in my location. (South Alabama/Florida Panhandle). I have never voiced this skepticism, but I have not fed pollen substitute of any kind for the past 3 years. I did a one-shot OAV this weekend (12/28/19) and took this picture of a small nuc as foragers were gathering at their blocked off entrance. Why would I ever feed pollen?

    pollen legs.jpg

    Also this weekend, I ran across this podcast where Dr. Jamie Ellis of the U of Florida Bee Lab in Gainesville, Florida discussed feeding pollen patties and said his group could never scientifically demonstrate any net benefit from feeding pollen patties. Ellis did qualify this by saying that his results (or lack thereof) should be read only for our region of the country.

    https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcas...=1000459019498

    Dr. Ellis confirmed my suspicions about feeding pollen patties/sub in the deep south.

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
    Location
    Wakefield, Rhode Island, USA
    Posts
    197

    Default Re: Feeding pollen sub in the Winter

    KevinWI, agree and have also heard, informally, from southern researchers that substitute pollen feeding is just that - goes in one end and out the other with no measurable positive effects. More to be published on this subject I think.

    Here, in "Southern New England" my first recorded date for pollen coming-in was March 19th, 2019. We also have versions of Witch Hazel that bloom Feb. to March.

  16. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    7,822

    Default Re: Feeding pollen sub in the Winter

    Quote Originally Posted by grozzie2 View Post
    Simple solution. Once you start feeding, you should not stop until the natural sources become abundant.
    This is vital!

  17. #16
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Gainesboro, Tennessee
    Posts
    1,462

    Default Re: Feeding pollen sub in the Winter

    Quote Originally Posted by psm1212 View Post
    I have always been highly skeptical of the value of feeding pollen patties at any time of the year in my location. (South Alabama/Florida Panhandle). I have never voiced this skepticism, but I have not fed pollen substitute of any kind for the past 3 years. I did a one-shot OAV this weekend (12/28/19) and took this picture of a small nuc as foragers were gathering at their blocked off entrance. Why would I ever feed pollen?

    pollen legs.jpg

    Also this weekend, I ran across this podcast where Dr. Jamie Ellis of the U of Florida Bee Lab in Gainesville, Florida discussed feeding pollen patties and said his group could never scientifically demonstrate any net benefit from feeding pollen patties. Ellis did qualify this by saying that his results (or lack thereof) should be read only for our region of the country.

    https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcas...=1000459019498

    Dr. Ellis confirmed my suspicions about feeding pollen patties/sub in the deep south.
    Think this proves that PHDs put on their pants one leg at a time like the rest of us. Maybe in his area in Florida they aren't helpful but to a young colony here they make a world of difference. I have found the less I listen to our state bee people on how to take care of my bees the better my bees do. ( Not Jennifer tsuruda) she is cool
    Feeding early patties. https://youtu.be/bUDd3vk7bgY

  18. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    Stevens Point, WI
    Posts
    227

    Default Re: Feeding pollen sub in the Winter

    Quote Originally Posted by KevinWI View Post
    All beekeeping is LOCAL.
    Quote Originally Posted by Tennessee's Bees LLC View Post
    Think this proves that PHDs put on their pants one leg at a time like the rest of us. Maybe in his area in Florida they aren't helpful but to a young colony here they make a world of difference. I have found the less I listen to our state bee people on how to take care of my bees the better my bees do. ( Not Jennifer tsuruda) she is cool
    I reitterate my original comment to the person with which I was having the discussion. ALL BEEKEEPING IS LOCAL.....it's a great lesson to new and experienced beekeepers alike.
    Help is here to never misplace that hive tool again: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UvwlSiOzgOU

  19. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    Littleton, CO
    Posts
    1

    Default

    My vote was no but then i thought the issue is more gray than black and white. Winter runs till Mid March, so to say that pollen should be withdrawn till the change of the season maybe appropriate some years but not others. As said beekeeping is local and here in Colorado it's not unheard of to find brood in February. When the queen lets us know she's laying is the best indicator of timing of pollen feeding.

  20. #19
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    woodland, wa usa
    Posts
    70

    Default Re: Feeding pollen sub in the Winter

    Quote Originally Posted by KevinWI View Post
    Just an FYI...

    Upper Midwest means PA, OH,MI, IN, IL, IA, MN, WI, SD, ND, MT, NE.......I'd also throw Canada in here as we have similar winters.

    It's not new england, East coast, West coast or below mason dixon line. Just saying...Oregon is not Upper midwest.
    Yes, absolutely, all beekeeping is local.
    No, I am not responding to the survey!
    And it is somewhat foolish to do pollen subs in winter in some locals. (Unless a great deal of thought and attention be given to it.) No, it is not just something to do arbitrarily.
    Just saying, whether my survey opinion matters or not.
    SW WA.

  21. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Holyoke, MA
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Feeding pollen sub in the Winter

    In Western Mass, feeding pollen substitute is suggested only if there were no natural pollen in the honey/brood frames supplied in the fall. Feed when brood rearing starts again. It can over stimulate egg laying so be sure they've enough honey/food as well.

    In early spring, if there are long periods of cold or drizzle where workers cannot collect, pollen patties on the top bars can assist in maintaining brood rearing momentum.

    There is no reason to put on pollen patties before brood rearing begins. If there is natural pollen is available, bees tend to not take the patty.

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