Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

1 - 9 of 9 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
49 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Last winter we lost two colonies that each still had about 40 pounds of honey. What they didn't have was any pollen. Both colonies had Russian queens. I had included pollen patties in their candy board and had also fed them dry pollen in empty frames - they would have none of it. Does anyone know of a pollen substitute that is 1) good for the bees (and not like giving a starving man a Twinkie) and 2) a substance they are willing to eat? Winter is fast approaching here in New Hampshire and I would like to have some feed that they will eat in case the same thing happens. It may not, as we've had a wonderful summer with lots of pollen rich flowers - and a field of buckwheat is newly in bloom. But - I sure hate to open a colony and find the larvae and bees starved for lack of pollen. Any suggestions would be welcome. Thank you. Clairmont
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,376 Posts
I regularly have bees make winter with not a cell of pollen in the hive. Not ideal, but pollen is not consumed a lot in winter.

Although it would be a good thing to stack them with pollen prior to winter, it could have been something else killed your bees.
 

·
Super Moderator
Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
Joined
·
6,297 Posts
I keep a feeder out all autumn stocked with UltraBee from Mann Lake. If the bees need it, they will take it. Pollen patties do not get stored so you need to have the dry powder available. The bees start brooding again long before the red maples come out so a source of protein is important here.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,283 Posts
...... But - I sure hate to open a colony and find the larvae and bees starved for lack of pollen. Any suggestions would be welcome. Thank you. Clairmont
The more regular problem is - excessive pollen that plugs up the combs.
I harvest such pollen.
At least in my location, people usually looking for ways to get rid of old pollen.
Almost want to think this "missing pollen" problem could be a management problem maybe?
How is it there is no pollen flow in your location?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,772 Posts
They mostly consume stored honey to keep warm in Winter, then use up any pollen as soon as they find a pollen source in the early Spring when they begin brooding up, but not all bees are alike. Italian honeybees tend to lay eggs anytime they have honey and pollen, but your Siberian ("Russian") honeybees tend to cluster in a very small Winter colony and make no brood until later in the Spring than most other bees.

In Fall, when preparing them for Winter, I'd offer them every kind of appropriate food and let them take what they will. As it gets cold go from 1:1 sugar water to 1 part water to 2 parts sugar. I usually add HBH to the liquid food. Once it starts threatening to freeze, do not feed any liquid food. Fondant and powder is better, also sugar bricks.

When they start coming out on foraging flights in the Spring and you see some come back in with Pollen, go ahead and give them pollen patties. I use Mega Bee, the original "Tucson Diet" developed by Dr. Gordon Wardell when he was at the Dyson Federal Bee Research Laboratory. It is still the best of the lot, although some of the knock-offs. like Ultra Bee, are pretty good.

If you seek to really understand The Winter preparation process, read Randy Oliver's "Fat Bees" articles in www.scientificbeekeeping.com In fact, he has 13 articles on bee nutrition, and another article comparing the pollen substitutes. It is from this experiment that I can say that MegaBee is the best - they bees in his group fed MegaBee had the fastest population recovery rate in the Spring buildup at the end of his experiment.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
49 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
The more regular problem is - excessive pollen that plugs up the combs.
I harvest such pollen.
At least in my location, people usually looking for ways to get rid of old pollen.
Almost want to think this "missing pollen" problem could be a management problem maybe?
How is it there is no pollen flow in your location?
Last year the weather was unseasonably hot for us - 95 degrees for about 2 months and the plants just didn't do well. This year it's a different story - wonderful pollen available. Still, I want to have some supplements available for them should they need it. Thank you! for responding I appreciate it. c
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
49 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Whey do you think it was the lack of pollen that killed them. How do you manage your mites? I would look at that first.
We treated for mites, there were no deformities i.e. wings and still you may very well have a point - that there was something else going on.
 
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
Top