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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I decided to get into pollen harvesting this year. Everyone had nothing but good things to say about the Sundance II pollen traps so I bought one. I got the top entrance version (sold by Blue Sky Bee Supply) since I do cedar shim top entrances on all my hives. Three weeks ago I installed it. Last night I removed the shims putting the Sundance II into "collection mode". Today I've got massive bearding. I run all 8 frame mediums and this hive is 5 boxes high. Bees bearding from top to bottom on 2 sides. The other 2 sides have 2' of bearded bees. The instructions said to use the trap on your strongest hive. This hive is my strongest and it is quite strong. I didn't hear anybody reporting that you should expect this kind of confusion and congestion when harvesting pollen. Is this normal? Will the bees get it figured out over the next few days?

Below is what I harvested an hour ago. Might fill a Coke bottle cap. I read you can expect around a pound a day. What do you typically get?

Pollen.jpg
 

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You're doing good, I only got half the pollen you did the first day, and the second day. They may have eventually figured out how to get through the trap and back into the hive, but I didn't give them the chance, I removed the trap.There were more bees stuck outside bearding on the hive than were in the hive I think. I built my own after that experience and they work wonderfully.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
You're doing good, I only got half the pollen you did the first day, and the second day. They may have eventually figured out how to get through the trap and back into the hive, but I didn't give them the chance, I removed the trap.There were more bees stuck outside bearding on the hive than were in the hive I think. I built my own after that experience and they work wonderfully.
I'm open to building my own. How was your successfull one designed?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Does anybody think I should continue using the Sundance pollen trap? Or do more of you advise I pull it and let the hive get back to normal?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
On Sunday I removed the pollen trap. The tray had zero pollen pellets in it and I still had massive bearding. That confirmed that the bees were not using the pollen trap. After some researching I realized what my problem was. I had a "leaky" hive. One of the older supers had a rotted spot in the back about an inch and a half long. The bees were bottlenecked using this tiny entrance instead of the pollen trap.

I will attempt collecting pollen again on another colony with all supers in good condition. This was a good learning experience! BTW: Fresh pollen has a sweet taste that I quite enjoy the flavor of.
 

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I have exactly 6 days experience with my Sundance II Pollen trap...So, whatever it's worth, this is a recap of my experience thus far...

I've never trapped pollen before, but had been eyeing and intrigued by the Sundance traps for a while, and toying with the idea of giving one a try. I made the decision to go with the top mount Sundance II, I also decided that instead of trying to convert one of my existing hives from a bottom to a top entrance...I'd simple start a new hive from the beginning on a top entrance only setup, in anticipation of using the Sundance II trap on it. I realized I'd be sacrificing the potential for a larger pollen harvest, by not using it on a strong hive, but honestly, collecting a large amount of pollen isn't my priority, at least, not at this time.

I caught and hived a nice swarm on 3/16. I run all 8 frame mediums and started them with 10 frames of drawn comb and 6 frames of Pierco Plastic, and of course, only a top entrance. On 4/19 I added a third box of foundation. A week later on 4/26, this past Saturday, I added a 4th box of foundation, as well as the Sundance II pollen trap. Optimally, it probably would have been better not to add the trap at the same time as bumping them up another box height, but they needed the space, and I was anxious to try the trap.

Several hours later that day, I check on the hive and was shocked, as well as somewhat discouraged and concerned at the amount of bearding...



I wondered if maybe I had messed up, but decided to see it through....regardless of the outcome. Sunday morning the bearding was way down and probably cleared up by that night, however, the activity around the entrance was increased and seemed confused for several days. I also saw what seemed like an increased number of bees at the top entrances on the two hives located to the immediate left and right of the hive with the trap, so I suspect I may have lost a significant amount of bees to drift, but I'm really not sure.
On Tuesday, I checked and emptied the trap and retrieved a very insignificant amount of pollen. I checked it again tonight and retrieved what I considered an encouraging amount of pollen considering it's only two days worth of pollen from a modest hive that's only 6 weeks old.

This is what I collected today...

 

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Email Loyd the pollen trap maker and ask for help. I bet he can give you some answers. The ross rounds guy same same. That is sure nice clean pollen! I remember the bottom trash collectors I used to run that killed me trying to hand clean the stuff. I have two to put on here pretty soon. I have to get them using a top entrance before I put them on.
 

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>First day harvesting pollen. Is this massive bearding normal?

For the first day, yes. It should clear up when they figure out the trap and things get into a normal rhythm.

>I have lots of dead drones on the ground out front when I put my traps on. I don't think they could get back into the hive.

No, they cannot. They will usually drift to other hives though.
 

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I really don't think it appropriate to make comments to each of the posts, so I will not. But I will say that I personally use 8-10 top mount Sundance traps every summer and do not have the anxieties expressed in some of the posts.

Keep in mind that we 100% stand behind our products. If you are unhappy with your purchase I hope you ask for advice but if at any time you would like your money back return the trap directly to us and we will give you a complete refund!

With all that, while the top mount trap produced the cleanest pollen of any trap in the world, and is (eventually) readily accepted by bees, it is hell on beekeepers! When we talk, I advise beekeepers to put the trap on and walk away for a WEEK! Otherwise, they are tortured by the daily bearding. And that is what I do; my first visit after putting on the trap is in 7-10 days. Thereafter, I empty it every 2 days or so.

And one more matter...both drones and queens can exit from a Sundance trap without difficulty. But neither can get back in! As someone else said, the drones will just drift to other hives. I find that the queens usually end up UNDER the bottom mount trap, in a small cluster. I 'catch' that cluster with a pail and dump it into the hive. On top mount traps the queens will end up on top of the screen, usually in a small cluster. I take the trap off the hive, with the cluster, turn it over above the hive and give it a thump. The queen falls into the hive and the job is done.

Good luck. Email me at [email protected] with any questions, concerns, or complaints.

All the best,
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
With all that, while the top mount trap produced the cleanest pollen of any trap in the world, and is (eventually) readily accepted by bees, it is hell on beekeepers! When we talk, I advise beekeepers to put the trap on and walk away for a WEEK! Otherwise, they are tortured by the daily bearding. And that is what I do; my first visit after putting on the trap is in 7-10 days. Thereafter, I empty it every 2 days or so.

And one more matter...both drones and queens can exit from a Sundance trap without difficulty. But neither can get back in!...

Good luck. Email me at [email protected] with any questions, concerns, or complaints.

All the best,
Thank you Lloyd! I had not noticed your post till now. Thanks for the offer of assistance.

I didn't lose faith on your trap. I just had to take a time out and do some research (and focus on my Spring checkerboarding and brood nest opening). That's all over now and our Spring honey harvest is done as well.

I learned that your hive cannot have any "leaks". The pollen trap must be the only way in and out of the hive. I also learned that it takes the bees a few days to start using the trap. With that in mind I decided to deploy my trap again. I chose my strongest hive. I duct taped a few areas with rot that the bees could use to get around the trap. With the hive prepped I put on the top mount pollen trap.

Then waited 4 days and just realized the bearding would be a fact of life. Yesterday I checked the pollen drawer. Woo Hoo! I had way more pollen than you see in my first post. Probably good 1.5 cups worth. I'm sure this will increase as a higher and higher percentage of the foragers view passing through the trap as a fact of life.

I'm very excited. The pollen was very clean right out of the drawer. Only 1 bee leg. And some lightweight chaff that blew right off with a little winnowing.

So per Lloyd's advice I'll check every 2 days.
 

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Thanks for sticking with it...I didn't think you would be disappointed. And it only gets better from here. Lots more pollen collected, and lots less bearding and other confusion.

Lloyd
 
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