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Here in south central PA our winter weather has been very warm so far. Right now we are in another warm stretch with the temps today being in the 60's and in the 50's all next week. I noticed yesterday that the bees have started to gather the dust from the chicken feed. This is a little alarming because they didn't start doing this till early-mid February of last year and it was just a hand full of bees doing it. Compared to yesterday with temps near 70 there were hundreds of bees gathering the dust. Would it be safe to say, since they are searching out and gathering protein that the bees have started to raise brood? With it being so warm today I plan on checking food stores and general health of the hives.

The hives already have fondant on them however my main question is should I give pollen substitute to them now or just leave them alone?

My gut say no, way too early. I'm in need of guidance because it was a lot of bees gathering protein.
 

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I keep dry pollen substitute out for mine. If it is warm enough to fly, they will find something somewhere even if it causes problems for other people. Some other beekeepers here in Missouri have had bees in cattle feed and stinging cattle when they try to eat and have received calls about it and decided to put sub out. I try to keep my bees from becoming a problem for the neighbors so I don't receive those calls.
 

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I think it is not purely wax that they use for cell capping: I have watched them working on sawdust where I had cut firewood. I wondered if perhaps they used that for rough comb and cell capping?

In one discussion on pollen subs, someone mentioned that much of makeshift pollen substitute is too coarse a particle size for the bees to utilize. When you see them hauling weird stuff when you know there is lots of stored pollen, it makes you wonder if we are jumping to conclusions about their purpose. Maybe they are just bored and the queen is having them do make work projects to keep morale up!;)
 

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I am in no way a expert bee keeper. My opinion for myself is that if I were to start feeding, I would have to keep feeding until natural stuff was a available and that would put me into the position of having to be much better at swarm control at a much earlier time then I am prepared for. I would also then have to worry about carbs also due to the bees using more for brood. So my opinion is to not start feeding unless you want all that comes with it.
My bees are all over my chicken feed also.
Cheers
gww
 

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I am in no way a expert bee keeper. My opinion for myself is that if I were to start feeding, I would have to keep feeding until natural stuff was a available and that would put me into the position of having to be much better at swarm control at a much earlier time then I am prepared for. I would also then have to worry about carbs also due to the bees using more for brood. So my opinion is to not start feeding unless you want all that comes with it.
My bees are all over my chicken feed also.
Cheers
gww
Exactly. Once you create an artificial food source and the bees utilize it, they may count on it to always be there. If the brood counts on it and it disappears, you have a problem. Starting early, particularly in colder climates, means that your colony may build up early but only if you have the discipline to keep the food coming until real stuff arrives.
 
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