Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner
1 - 6 of 6 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
92 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My first overwintered hives - both doing well - knock on wood. They are out foraging and of course, there is nothing to be found. I've ready that feeding pollen stimulates brood development which can be tricky given the possibiity of cold weather snaps hitting us - even snow is not out of the question. So, are other Maine beeks feeding pollen sub now? We have carniolians which I understand start brood later than Italians...

Thank you!
Leann
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,425 Posts
In another thread, Erin (Maine beekeeper) says the rule up here is "no patties before St Patrick's Day." She sugests no patties at all but if you must, not before April 1st.

That's the advice I'm going by, though watching the girls flying yesterday, it was hard to not give them a little early boost.

Wayne
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
6,176 Posts
I'll add another perspective. When you add a pollen substitute you're creating a false food supply. The bees suddenly find that they have more protein available to raise brood. So, they raise brood. That's great so long as your supply is equal to their demand. If you toss a patty in the hive and they use it up before natural supplies are adequate, you're just making a problem. You then have a dependent hive without their "fix" and it's all your fault. To me, it's not a question of the cold weather. The bees can deal with that. It's a question of the queen "counting" on an abundant supply of brood food and suddenly running out. If you start, you can't stop and if that's OK with you, go for it. The reasoning behind the timing of feeding a pollen substitute is that you want to get a head start in building up the hive, but not so much that it's an artificial liability to the bees. Remember that a pollen substitute is still a substitute and that's the reason why bees ignore your offerings when the real stuff is a quick flight away.

Hope this helps.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
792 Posts
I have dry pollen substitute out in buckets for the bees to forage to.
This is not a feed or a brood builder. this it to keep the foragers "entertained" so they do not bother my city neighbors bird feeders (as much - I have gotten reports of bees in bird feeders in the neighborhood.)

this open feeding is a distraction for the bees only. when natural pollen becomes available they will quickly start ignoring the buckets and I will stop offering them.

As far as pollen supplement/substitute in the hive, I don't use it and I don't recommend using it unless in severe dearth/rain confinement situationsl like we had last year.

Let the bees build up on the natural pollen and nectar flows - that's the best thing for the bees.

If you have to feed to keep your bees from starving, focus on the sugar candy.

I hope this helps,
-Erin
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
133 Posts
I agree with ravenseye. I haven't feed patties in the five years I've been keeping bees. I'm not out to get the biggest honey crop either. My bees seem to find pollen anyway. They've been flying for the past four days bringing in quite a bit of pollen. Now, in ME the season is probably a bit later and I understand the feeling of wanting to see the bees flying and all that. Don't rush it. Youll be feeding pollen and sugar water for weeks if the brood gets ahead of the natural supply. Consider you goals and make a decision from there. There's no feeling worse than having 60 beautiful jars of honey w/no place to bring them.
 
1 - 6 of 6 Posts
Top