Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

1 - 9 of 9 Posts

·
Registered
zone 3 240 colonies
Joined
·
265 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Total newbee here, made every mistake that is in the books, my latest is I fed good (15% pollen) pollen sub patties on March 8th. I am in zone 3, we have 3 feet of snow on the ground and have had no flying weather since. Yesterday I went to see the bees and they were coming out of the entrance and taking little bitty cleansing flights (there was poop in the snow). Trouble is the wind was blowing temp was at 30F and many (1/4 to 1/2 cup below each entrance) were not making it back into the hive. It will be a couple more days before temps hit 40F and then there is rain in the forecast. How much damage have I done? Any advice? I am intentionally going for early build up as I plan to do much splitting later.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,054 Posts
Not a mistake that can't be corrected with few, if any consequences. You need to determine when they will start having a steady availability of natural pollen and good flying days to obtain it as well as increasing warm temps (especially overnight)so the brood will not get chilled. Then subtract 6 weeks for the earliest date to start feeding sub pollen. I suppose you don't know about when pollen is available being new, so ask fellow beekeepers in your area. If you are too early, just take the pollen sub out soon as you can. You might want to start a beekeeping journal. I just went over mine today to determine when I want to start feeding pollen. I put all of the things I notice blooming at the bottom of the page so I can find it in the future. It is reasonably consistent, but you need to look at the long term weather forecast too and that is always a roll of the dice. J
 

·
Registered
zone 3 240 colonies
Joined
·
265 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Fivej, this makes me feel better, I really felt I did them a wrong. I will get it out of the hives tomorrow.
 

·
Registered
zone 3 240 colonies
Joined
·
265 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
and very good suggestion on the journal...definitely will do.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,540 Posts
Not a biggie, though starting early means you'll have a bigger push towards swarming, so make plans for that now.

The six-week timing is not before access to natural pollen (which is pretty early, even in Z 3) but before your main honey flow, so as to have the max population for that. One thing, though, having started I would not stop, or be erratic about it, even if you cut it back a little. Erratic supplies of pollen availability are a risk factor in possibly developing EFB if the bacteria is already in your hives. EFB is sometimes a symptom of a poor foraging spring with erratic pollen availability. Do not unintentionally mimic that poor weather pattern.

That Global 15% patty is very nice stuff. I use it myself. I usually start here in my Z4b/Z5a area in the third week of March. I time it for my husband's birthday (the 23rd), but when I teach people without a personal signpost like their husband's b-day, I tell them no patty before St. Patty's Day, which because this area is wildly Irish is something everybody pays attention to.

But that being said, I know good beekeepers around here who start pollen sub in February, but they tend to be planning to bust their overwintered hives down into nucs for sale in late April/May. If your goal is the more typical one of collecting honey from late spring through summer though, your man risk is prematurely prompting swarming.

You'd be wise to study some of the more aggressive anti-swarm tactics, and add on some spare equipment and some double-screen boards to manage any swarms that seem imminent. I use Walt Wright's ideas, plus MattDAvey's OSBN. Plus I look underneath each brood box every week from early May through to my black locust flow to verify the absence of queen cells. I am ready, if I discover one the split on the spot with a Snelgrove or double-screen board. Sometimes, if I don't want any more colonies for some reason, I will recombine back when they've got over their urge.

Nancy
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,054 Posts
I have always understood the purpose of feeding the pollen sub is to build up hives before the flow, but the reason behind the six week timing to be access to natural pollen so you can safely stop feeding the pollen sub. Nancy knows more than I so follow her advice! In my area, the timing is roughly the same. J
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
713 Posts
Keeping the bees feed, queenright, and with low mites will allow you to get away with a lot of little mistakes.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13 Posts
So for us far northern beekeepers, this is my 4th year at overwintering my hives. I started with 4 and have two that are still alive. One has way more bees than the other but it appears that the lesser one still has two to three frames worth of bees. Not sure if that it is normal for 2/3 of the colony to die off or not? I am in an area of deep hard cold. Not uncommon to have 6-8 weeks of negative 30-40 degrees without wind chill. Usually this is the point where I still have hives alive but there numbers dwindle to so few that the hive dies. So I would like to give them pollen substitute to try to boost the numbers before they die off. Do you recommend the Global 15% patties? Someone recommended the Amino B patties from Honey B Healthy. Also if I start to give patties the 3rd week in March. How much will I have to feed them? usually they will start to bring in some tree pollen by the 1st of April.
 
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
Top