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Do you feed pollen sub in the Winter months?

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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I'm having a discussion with a Southern beekeeper who is adamant that it's good to feed bees pollen sub all through winter.
My argument was that while that may work in the Southern states, that's not the case in the Upper midwest.

One year I had made candy boards with pollen sub...I had planned on putting them on in March, but my bees started running out of honey in January.....the bees ate the candy but discarded the pollen sub to the bottom board where I actually saw hive beetle larvae feeding on it in winter! Our bees don't produce brood in the winter, so not much need for pollen sub.
I just think it's dangerous to put out a video telling people to feed pollen sub in the winter as a blanket statement. All beekeeping is LOCAL.
So, maybe I'm just plain wrong.....so I'll ask:


Do you feed bees pollen in any form from October thru February? (This poll is for Upper Midwest Beekeepers only please)
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Just an FYI...

Upper Midwest means PA, OH,MI, IN, IL, IA, MN, WI, SD, ND, MT, NE.......I'd also throw Canada in here as we have similar winters.

It's not new england, East coast, West coast or below mason dixon line. Just saying...Oregon is not Upper midwest.
 

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Oops, My brain got stuck on the part about "discussion with Southern beekeeper". I voted no. I have seriously skewed the results if no more than two people vote.
Can you remove my vote?

Sorry
Alex
 

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I agree. No where colonies go broodless for winter, and have no regular cleansing flights. Unnecessary for colony survival, and IMO, causes the colony to be too active creating more indigestibles in the gut...meaning a greater need for cleansing flights.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Oops, My brain got stuck on the part about "discussion with Southern beekeeper". I voted no. I have seriously skewed the results if no more than two people vote.
Can you remove my vote?

Sorry
Alex
That's ok...only two people voted so far and neither one live in the upper midwest....I made the poll public so I can weed out the people who don't live in the Upper midwest.
 

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Kevin, I agree that in beekeeping there can be no blanket statements about what to do or when to do it. Many heated discussions re: SBB, ventilation, wrapping, etc. Best thing to do is whatever works well in your particular location.
 

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Yes and no. We feed patties in winter but definitely not thru. I like timing my patties to be right before the maple pollen hit. We have cleansing flights every month of the year so things are easier here in that regard. Even though I can get away with it, I find that feeding really early is not the worth the time and the sub to me.
 

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For years, my rule of thumb was to begin feeding full fraction protein sub when the Arroyo Willow bloomed. This is about the 15th of January in my region of temperate coastal California. By Feb 1st, the hives are humming, and spring is full tilt underway.

Last year, tempted by a great deal on MegaBee (from our local developer, Dr. Gordon Wardell), dreams of taking nuc production to the next level, I began feeding two weeks early, on Jan 1st. January was warm and dry here, and the bees built out 4 or so frames of wall to wall brood on the sub. Then on Feb 1st, the rains came in with a vengeance, and my hives that were building up like boomers starved out in the month long rainy weather. Starved, because nothing consumes resources like growing brood. The rains washed all the Arroyo Willow pollen away, and there was not a drop of feed, and no warm dry days to forage.

Any other year, I likely could of pulled the "early feed" trick off, but not last year. Farming its all about the weather.
 

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I don't feed until the dandelions show here, usually around feb 15th - mar 1st that's our sign to get the bees built up for blackberry bloom starting may 7th - the 15th. that give 45 days for the hive to get strong.
here in oregon there's no reason to feed any pollen subs earlier, it's just way to wet, and rains don't really slow down about mar 1st.
 

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Upper Midwest means PA, OH,MI, IN, IL, IA, MN, WI, SD, ND, MT, NE.......I'd also throw Canada in here as we have similar winters.
i am 1 mile outside of you definition of upper midwest, but i wont put pollen sub on until after the first cleansing flight in the new year, usually second half of february but i want to see high temps above 40* in the 2-week forecast. let them alone november to february.
 

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I have always been highly skeptical of the value of feeding pollen patties at any time of the year in my location. (South Alabama/Florida Panhandle). I have never voiced this skepticism, but I have not fed pollen substitute of any kind for the past 3 years. I did a one-shot OAV this weekend (12/28/19) and took this picture of a small nuc as foragers were gathering at their blocked off entrance. Why would I ever feed pollen?

pollen legs.jpg

Also this weekend, I ran across this podcast where Dr. Jamie Ellis of the U of Florida Bee Lab in Gainesville, Florida discussed feeding pollen patties and said his group could never scientifically demonstrate any net benefit from feeding pollen patties. Ellis did qualify this by saying that his results (or lack thereof) should be read only for our region of the country.

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/dr-jamie-ellis/id1490768774?i=1000459019498

Dr. Ellis confirmed my suspicions about feeding pollen patties/sub in the deep south.
 

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KevinWI, agree and have also heard, informally, from southern researchers that substitute pollen feeding is just that - goes in one end and out the other with no measurable positive effects. More to be published on this subject I think.

Here, in "Southern New England" my first recorded date for pollen coming-in was March 19th, 2019. We also have versions of Witch Hazel that bloom Feb. to March.
 

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I have always been highly skeptical of the value of feeding pollen patties at any time of the year in my location. (South Alabama/Florida Panhandle). I have never voiced this skepticism, but I have not fed pollen substitute of any kind for the past 3 years. I did a one-shot OAV this weekend (12/28/19) and took this picture of a small nuc as foragers were gathering at their blocked off entrance. Why would I ever feed pollen?

View attachment 53007

Also this weekend, I ran across this podcast where Dr. Jamie Ellis of the U of Florida Bee Lab in Gainesville, Florida discussed feeding pollen patties and said his group could never scientifically demonstrate any net benefit from feeding pollen patties. Ellis did qualify this by saying that his results (or lack thereof) should be read only for our region of the country.

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/dr-jamie-ellis/id1490768774?i=1000459019498

Dr. Ellis confirmed my suspicions about feeding pollen patties/sub in the deep south.
Think this proves that PHDs put on their pants one leg at a time like the rest of us. Maybe in his area in Florida they aren't helpful but to a young colony here they make a world of difference. I have found the less I listen to our state bee people on how to take care of my bees the better my bees do. ( Not Jennifer tsuruda) she is cool
 

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Discussion Starter #17
All beekeeping is LOCAL.
Think this proves that PHDs put on their pants one leg at a time like the rest of us. Maybe in his area in Florida they aren't helpful but to a young colony here they make a world of difference. I have found the less I listen to our state bee people on how to take care of my bees the better my bees do. ( Not Jennifer tsuruda) she is cool
I reitterate my original comment to the person with which I was having the discussion. ALL BEEKEEPING IS LOCAL.....it's a great lesson to new and experienced beekeepers alike.
 

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My vote was no but then i thought the issue is more gray than black and white. Winter runs till Mid March, so to say that pollen should be withdrawn till the change of the season maybe appropriate some years but not others. As said beekeeping is local and here in Colorado it's not unheard of to find brood in February. When the queen lets us know she's laying is the best indicator of timing of pollen feeding.
 

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Just an FYI...

Upper Midwest means PA, OH,MI, IN, IL, IA, MN, WI, SD, ND, MT, NE.......I'd also throw Canada in here as we have similar winters.

It's not new england, East coast, West coast or below mason dixon line. Just saying...Oregon is not Upper midwest.
Yes, absolutely, all beekeeping is local.
No, I am not responding to the survey!
And it is somewhat foolish to do pollen subs in winter in some locals. (Unless a great deal of thought and attention be given to it.) No, it is not just something to do arbitrarily.
Just saying, whether my survey opinion matters or not.
SW WA.
 

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In Western Mass, feeding pollen substitute is suggested only if there were no natural pollen in the honey/brood frames supplied in the fall. Feed when brood rearing starts again. It can over stimulate egg laying so be sure they've enough honey/food as well.

In early spring, if there are long periods of cold or drizzle where workers cannot collect, pollen patties on the top bars can assist in maintaining brood rearing momentum.

There is no reason to put on pollen patties before brood rearing begins. If there is natural pollen is available, bees tend to not take the patty.
 
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