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What do you know about feeding pollen to the bees?

I've seen packages of pollen for sale at our local healthfood store. It comes in both granules and powder. Would this be good to feed bees in the spring, or a new colony? If so, which would be better, and how would it be presented to the hive? If not, why not?

Thanks,

Adam
 

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I don't think you could just feed it to them as is. The bees bring back pollen a few granules at a time and mix it with nectar and other secretions to make "bee bread" that they subsist on. That is what you see in the frames.

You can buy pollen patties and there are recipies to make your own pollen patties (and pollen substitutes). You might incorporate some honey and maybe a couple of other ingredients to come up with something similar to the bee bread that they make for themselves.
 

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its not neccessary to feed pollen nor has it been for thousands of years. its done to give a headstart to get more bees in the hive for the flow,mostly. i dont do it. good luck,mike
 

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I've seen packages of pollen for sale at our local health food store. It comes in both granules and powder. Would this be good to feed bees in the spring, or a new colony? If so, which would be better, and how would it be presented to the hive? If not, why not?
That pollen is extremely expensive, comes in tiny amounts, and is not intended for bee feed. A good colony of bees will easily eat a pound of pollen in a week. Who could afford that at a health food store?

Chances are, also, it has been on the shelf long enough that the usefulness to bee has dissipated. Further, it may well not have been irradiated to kill bee pathogens which are common in bee-collected pollen. These pathogens are harmless to people, but bad news for bees.

Anything fed to bees except white sugar should be bought from a reputable bee supplier or beekeeper with good knowledge of what is proper. Animal feed products and other potential ingredients may or may not meet the standards required by bees and some may be toxic.

Bee protein supplements, pollen and patties sold by reputable sources are recommended if you suspect that your bees may be in a region where there is insufficient pollen or limited variety. All such products are safe and beneficial, although some suppliers warehouse supplies longer than they should. Any pollen, supplement or patty that has been over six months away from the factory is likely deteriorated in quality, and if older than a year may actually be toxic unless stored under refrigerated conditions. This is especially true in the south where ambient temps are high for much of the year and less true in the north where outdoor storage sheds are often at freezing temps for many months.

Pollen for bee feed should be fresh or stored frozen and irradiated at an approved dosage to eliminate AFB, chalkbrood, etc.
 
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