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Collecting pollen

1929 Views 7 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  ruthiesbees
I put one of those cheap yellow plastic pollen traps with the flip down door on one of my hives. Never trapped pollen before and was interested to see how it works. I put the trap on in the morning with the door open. I went back at night and dropped the screen door they have to crawl through and left it that way for a day and a half. When I pulled the basket, there was approximately 100 dead bees in it along with a lot of pollen. Is it normal to have that many dead bees in the pollen basket or does that just happen initially as they try to figure their way back into the hive. I hate losing that many bees to just fill a 4 oz jar.
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I have used those traps before and never killed bees. I suspect your trap is not fitted well to the hive. FWIW, I never got that much pollen using them either. I have several in my garage that will likely gather dust for the next decade. This past year I invested in a few Sundance traps and would never consider anything else. A very good product that will easily pay for itself the first season. Even if you're using pollen for personal use, get a Sundance - you won't regret it.
2 days ago I added one of these too but I have not put the trap door down yet. Mine has been in the garage for a year, and I did notice a warp that will allow bees to go into the drawer. I put a small 2 oz jar in the opening to close off that gap, which I don't know if that jar will work when I put the trap door down. I will find something to close that off. Is that what happened to yours, they are finding a way into the small drawer?
Is this the one you have?

I'm putting trap door down tonight and will post results in a couple days.

Also purchased a Sundance II which is going on in 3 weeks, see my thread on that posted yesterday.
That is the pollen trap I have. The holes in the floor that the pollen falls through looks the same size as the holes in the door the bees go through to enter the hive. I think since it was the first time using it, a bunch of confused bees crawled through the grating on the floor into the catch basket instead of through the door grating and into the hive. I will try it again later this week. If I have the same issue I will try gluing some smaller mesh to the floor that pollen can drop through but bees can't.
I put the pollen door down last Friday and collected the pollen for almost 24 hrs later. I was quite pleased to find close to 1 ounce of pollen and only 2 dead bees in the drawer. I'm speaking of the plastic Brushy Mountain trap. This pollen I'm using for my own use and will collect when I need it. Tomorrow I'm going to collect for the second time, just one day at a time as needed and then clip the trap door open so bees can go directly into hive.
Why did you all start with the door "open" when you first installed the pollen trap? I have just installed mine today on my topbar hive and they didn't have any trouble wriggling through the small holes. After 30 min, I had a nice little collection of pollen in the drawer. I plan to empty mine each day so if a bee gets stuck in the drawer, I can let them out. Some pictures for those of you who don't know what the cheap yellow pollen trap looks like...

Bee Honeybee Beehive Insect Membrane-winged insect

Bee Beehive Honeybee Bird feeder Insect

Yellow Insect Bee Electronics Membrane-winged insect
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Very nice hive Ruthiesbees! I did it simply to let bees get used to it.

I'm having a problem with tiny ants going into the pollen no matter how often I empty it. I freeze the pollen in a flat rectangle Rubbermaid container and then empty the pollen into another container, back and forth. After each transfer I wipe out the ants that stick to the bottom of the container. Pretty time consuming and I don't get them all. I keep this for my own use. Typically I get around 5 dead bees in the drawer too.

Later today I'm adding the Sundance II to a different hive, and hope I don't have the same problem.
I had a wax moth larvae in mine last night when I emptied it. I wonder if your dead bees are the works of the mortuary bees when they are cleaning out the hive since they can't get direct access to the outside to dump the trash.

I've had to duct tape around some of the edges of my trap and I think I will undo one of the sides so the mortuary bees can do their clean up without stuffing them down the pollen trap. And it will be interesting to see how many bees bypass the pollen trap to get in now. I can't seem to find a whole lot of management info on the use of pollen traps, so I wish some others would chime in here with their experiences.
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