I am looking for fellow bee keepers opinions and advice on supplemental feeding coming out of winter and into spring. I realize everyone's situation is different and there are many variables to consider. I am close to Lake Michigan in Indiana and right now it is about 30 degrees. We have had some days in the past few weeks where temperatures have spiked into the fifties. Some maples have budded and the bees have brought some pollen in. For the most part they are still remaining in their clusters with minimal brood production. Historically swarm preparations have been observed in mid May.
There has been some debate amongst individuals I know as to when it is the appropriate time to add pollen patties and provide liquid feed. My personal opinion is that it is too early to stimulate brood production when temperatures are so variable. I typically just make sure my colonies have adequate resources, candy boards on ones that are lacking, and only give supplements a few weeks prior to the honey flow. I prefer to let nature stimulate the bees. The other camp is arguing that pollen patties and liquid feed should have already been in place and you should be ramping up brood production.