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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I'm using Randy Oliver pictures (figs 7 (needs sub) and 8 (good) here). Bees ignored whole wheat flour I open fed. On 8/30, I got Ultra Bee, made a quick mix of ~200 ml of 1:1 sub : sugar + water, and added it to all 5 hives (2 with 2 mediums, 3 with 3). Then I set up an open feeder with 2 containers (dry sub, sugar water). They ignored the feeder. Now, they go in the feeder, but don't use it.

I just made and froze 6 lbs of patties. I used the Ultra Bee recipe. Instead of HFCS, I used sugar and water equal to the amount in the HFCS. I boiled the water, turned the stove off, added 1 ml of citric acid and the sugar, waited, and added the sub.
 

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Why a substitute ? What's wrong with the real thing ?
LJ
Somehow it is assumed the real thing is not in existence anymore.
I don't know who is pushing this idea.
:)

I for own don't know what the heck to do with the real thing anymore - everything is plugged up.
Need to pull some of these plugged up frames to make room for laying.
The bee-bread plugged combs will go directly into the freezer for later use by myself and the bees too (in early spring).
You simply take a chunk of bee bread comb; place it directly onto the frames; done.
 

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Give them small amounts of patty if you live in an area with small hive beetles. You can open feed the dry ultrabee. Putting a little lemongrass oil on a q-tip in the feeder will help them find it.
 

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If you are in a habit of reading the pollen band, it will tell you when feeding pollen substitute is appropriate. You're reading the frames that have open brood and the ones that are not entirely capped yet.

In a healthy situation when there is plenty of pollen flow, the brood patch is surrounded on top by a 1" to 2-1/2" band of pollen stored as "bee bread", usually a mosaic of pastel colors.

The part closest to the brood will have some empty cells where the nurse bees have taken some and used it for feeding the larvae grub worms. Beyond that, it will be increasingly more densely filled with bee bread, then honey or open nectar in the upper corners.

If the pollen flow drops off, the band gets used up a bit more, and after a few days it almost disappears, and the brood production is often stopped until more pollen and nectar is found.

By taking photos each time you visit, you'll see if they are expanding, holding steady, or contracting. Pests will have an influence on the population dynamics and, consequently, the pollen band dynamics. You have to adapt the view to the open brood that is current, and calculate back a few days where the worms are bigger, and how much is capped.

Getting fine-tuned at reading the pollen band is one of the hallmarks of becoming an excellent beekeeper. Your decisions become 90% better. It helps to ride along with a commercial beekeeper and see a lot of beehives. You'll learn a lot more than reading the pollen bands from the pro's, but you'll notice that the guys and gals who open hives all day long have a great sense of what is going on in a hive.

They flyout rate, how the bees are behaving, how much pollen and how much variety is coming in on the back legs of the field bees, etc. are all giving you a lot of clues. The pollen band read should give you a confirmation of what you saw going on before you opened the box. This is just some of the evidence of how your bees are doing.

If you have brood and no pollen, FEED POLLEN SUB NOW. If you don't the girls may start consuming the brood.

As you learn what and how much your bees are packing into the pollen bands around the brood patches in your apiary, you'll learn to read more and more info that you can fine-tune into excellent beekeeping decisions, including when and how much pollen should be added.

By keeping records and applying some math, averages for strong hives, early and late nuc's for wet years and for dry years, the view becomes fairly clear.
 

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IMO if they're not taking it they don't need it. Why are you stressing out trying to force them to take what they don't need?
Late winter/early spring when I check stores levels I'll toss on a pollen patty to assist in early buildup. If they need more feed I'll give a sugar block. I've found that they use the early spring pollen patty only about 1/2 the time.
 

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I for own don't know what the heck to do with the real thing anymore - everything is plugged up.
Need to pull some of these plugged up frames to make room for laying.
Me too - I don't see much in the way of pollen 'bands' - my girls store whole combs of the stuff. Due to different shaped/sized frames perhaps ?
LJ
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I will look for and try to maintain pollen bands. No one ever mentioned them.

Should I get all the pollen I need for a year in spring (and not use sub)? Should I trap a small amount to mix with sub?

What pollen form should I get, freeze, and feed later?
  1. trapped
  2. frames
GregV: Is that how you remove old comb? In spring, 25-50% of comb filled with pollen.
 

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I will look for and try to maintain pollen bands. No one ever mentioned them.

Should I get all the pollen I need for a year in spring (and not use sub)? Should I trap a small amount to mix with sub?

What pollen form should I get, freeze, and feed later?
  1. trapped
  2. frames
GregV: Is that how you remove old comb? In spring, 25-50% of comb filled with pollen.
You don't really maintain pollen bands - the bees do it, not you.
Depending on the particular setup, they may or may not do it.
You should see one on a large frame that is run in the cold way (Dadant, Lazutin, etc).

If you want to harvest protein for the bees for later use - harvest the bee bread (not raw pollen).
The bee bread has been processed by the bees and is a fermented product - this is what bees eat; they don't eat raw pollen.
Because of this, it is best to harvest the bee bread when the frames get plugged up - now you get the ready product and bees are not starving for it.

The easiest way is to just harvest from the dead outs (if you get any; I always have those and the problem solved).
It is trivial to just freeze the harvested combs; I do it.

When needed, you can simply the place a bee bread comb chunks onto the frames.
Watch - bees will chew out what they need during the hard times and they are starving for pollen.
If not, then not.

I also proposed this method before and was ignored (on our local forum when they kept talking of the subs and complaining of too much bee bread at once - where is the logic in that?):
- freeze a bee bread comb
- send the frozen comb through a blender (or however you do it) to create more or less uniformed mix of bee bread and wax
- mix this mix with some thick honey or wet sugar, if in a pinch - should be thick and sticky enough to hold shape
- you now have high quality protein/carb food for the bees (the real deal, not some soy junk).
- make patties; wrap the patties into waxed paper or thin plastic; apply to the hives as if normal protein patties
- slash the wrap on the bottom 2-3 times at the application time to help the bees to it
The bees will take what they need from these patties.
It is all there.
 

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I suppose a weak colony may have low protein issues.
I got some of these for variety of reasons.
Problem is solved by simply robbing a strong colony of a bee bread packed frame.
Otherwise at my location people are complaining of plugged up frames - our local thing.
 

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I suppose a weak colony may have low protein issues.
I got some of these for variety of reasons.
Problem is solved by simply robbing a strong colony of a bee bread packed frame.
Otherwise at my location people are complaining of plugged up frames - our local thing.
Exactly my situation too - that's all I ever do. From time to time I think about making a pollen trap and freeze-drying pollen - but I really don't have any need to do this, and so it stays on the very bottom of the project list. It's a great pity I don't have the same issue when it comes to nectar ... :)
LJ
 

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Quote
"If you want to harvest protein for the bees for later use - harvest the bee bread (not raw pollen).
The bee bread has been processed by the bees and is a fermented product - this is what bees eat; they don't eat raw pollen.
Because of this, it is best to harvest the bee bread when the frames get plugged up - now you get the ready product and bees are not starving for it."

I'm afraid this is old information.

Read:

http://scientificbeekeeping.com/reevaluating-beebread-part-1-the-story/

http://scientificbeekeeping.com/reevaluating-beebread-part-2-the-players/

http://scientificbeekeeping.com/reevaluating-beebread-part-3/

Bottom line:
Bees do fine eating, and may prefer, fresh pollen.
Bee bread is just a method of preservation for when there is no fresh pollen.
 

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Jack Grimshaw: "Bee bread is just a method of preservation for when there is no fresh pollen." Thanks for the information I will read it. Your comments supports what I have concluded as I have not fed patties in three years. I am fortunate in that winter, meaning lack of significant nectar with hive weights dropping, around me is 5-6 months but lack of pollen is more like 3-4 months. (Time difference is in part due to a lack of foragers?) I feed syrup, if required, to a hive weight by Nov. 1 or so. I do not feed anything again until next October. I will feed a serious dearth. I also have used UltraBee protein as test of hive activity in early Spring but not sure why as temperature sensors indicate brooding up accurately. I am getting good Spring buildup. Last year and this year have been terrific harvested honey years. One hive is particularly good at finding pollen - first sighting was March 2 this year. More to learn by observation and sensing.


I seldom see any bee bread in my supers and lots of bee bread stored below the QE. One recent club speaker has said that they see no affect from feeding protein substitute other than they eat it. They were planning more experiments to determine the value of patties.
 

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I find it interesting that those that are the most negative about feeding protein are in areas that have little to no summer dearths. In some places in the US there are summer dearths of nectar and pollen for 3-4 months. Colonies that didn't sock away a ton of beebread are going to be severely compromised and more susceptible to varroa and the viruses they carry if not supplemented. In my location I have no quality or quantity of pollen from mid June to almost Sept. (longer if we don't get good summer rains.) Moving bee bread is great but not always available.

Pollen sub is not a cure all and isn't nearly as good for the bees as the real Mccoy but in the right hands it can make a colony that is in limbo between going backwards and going forwards a sure thing and have them ready and strong for when the real stuff is available.

It is an excellent tool that can be used correctly or incorrectly.

Our current recipe will fit in a 5 gal bucket and uses 32lbs of sucrose syrup and 15lbs of Ultra bee. Makes patties that is soft, easy to scoop, quickly eaten, and absorbs moisture instead of drying out.

You can make your own inverted syrup at home with granulated sugar if you don't have a source for it.
 

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6a High Desert- Dry sub is fed Feb/March which is the only time they take dry. Pollen patties are fed the rest of the time. Going for strong large hives going into winter. Unless they are plugging out the brood nest I feed.
 

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I find it interesting that those that are the most negative about feeding protein are in areas that have little to no summer dearths......
Unsure if this applies to the OP's location.
Nothing is mentioned in terms of dearth.

Fair enough - my locality has abundance of pollen all season long.
But like I said - lot of backyard keepers still feed pollen sub anyway - because they are told so and do know any better.
 

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....

I'm afraid this is old information.

Read:

http://scientificbeekeeping.com/reevaluating-beebread-part-1-the-story/

http://scientificbeekeeping.com/reevaluating-beebread-part-2-the-players/

http://scientificbeekeeping.com/reevaluating-beebread-part-3/

Bottom line:
Bees do fine eating, and may prefer, fresh pollen.
Bee bread is just a method of preservation for when there is no fresh pollen.
Let them argue it out.
I am only a consumer of the content.
scientificbeekeeping guy, while asking interesting questions, is not really making a definitive conclusion.

As far as I understand, the bees prefer the fresh bee bread over the old bee bread.
But they don't just eat straight raw pollen.

Here is a case speaking FOR the bee bread:
Using probiotics to protect honey bees against fatal disease
https://phys.org/news/2019-10-probiotics-honey-bees-fatal-disease.html

Here is a research of the bees being omnivores and depending on the micro fauna/micro flora found in the bee bread.
A principal researcher is from my home town, of all places:
Omnivory in Bees: Elevated Trophic Positionsamong All Major Bee Familie
From the PDF:

Our findings reframe the trophic identity of the dominant global pollinator group—bees. This casts bees as omnivorous animals that actively farm microbial“livestock”within their aged pollen provisions.
https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/pdfplus/10.1086/704281

So this is a pretty darn fresh paper that talks FOR specifically bee bread as food.
Like it or leave it.
I am only a messenger.
 

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Our findings reframe the trophic identity of the dominant global pollinator group—bees. This casts bees as omnivorous animals that actively farm microbial“livestock”within their aged pollen provisions.
This is quite a leap after having read the paper. The conclusion they make draws an analogy to leaf cutter ants farming microbes but I fail to see the evidence presented that this is so in their study of bees. In fact, there seems to be as much a chance that the bees have little to do with the microbe wars taking place in mixed pollen/nectar stores and just reap the reward of the results. Maybe I'm missing something though.

On another note maybe Crazy Roland would find the study interesting and useful as the effects of fungicides on honey bee colonies has been a topic of concern for him for some time now. This study seems to agree with his claims of honey bee colony damage due
to fungicides, specifically in the nutritional value of bee bread microbes compromised by exposure.
 

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I open feed just straight from he bag ultra-bee powder only in late July to the end of August. In my area, we have a total dearth of both pollen and nectar most years. I usually put it out in early July in an old plastic cat litter container turned on its side. If there is pollen available, they will not touch it. When the pollen completely disappears, then they will begin collecting it in earnest. Don't mix the powder with anything when open feeding. Other than that small period of open feeding, we have plenty of pollen the rest of the year and no supplementation is needed.

I often think that beekeepers have been sold a bill of goods that makes you believe you have to use pollen patties. Pollen patties are a tool that can make a huge difference when used correctly but they can also be used incorrectly. Be sure you are using it at the right time and for the right reasons.
 
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