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Discussion Starter #1
I used to have Langs and it was easy to put pollen patties on top of the frames. I now have top bar hives. With a top bar hive, there are no gaps between the top bars for bees to come up and eat the patties. Also the patties on top of the bars are technically outside of the hive and would get cold. Any advice from a top bar beekeeper would be welcomed. Thanks.
 

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Take an empty bar and drill 2 holes, one near each end but not so far over that it is outside of the hive. Run hanger wire through each hole and bend the wire on the outside side of the bar to secure it in place. Hang the patty on the wire and place it next to the brood nest. That works for me.

You can do the same thing with sugar blocks except I use onion bags to hold the sugar block and staple it to the empty bar.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
If I make moderately hard bee candy and mix real pollen or pollen substitute in it, will that work as well as soft patties?
 

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Pollen sub mixed with hard candy can work almost as well as soft patties. The store bought patties contain mostly pollen sub powder and a bit of HFCS to hold it all together. Hard candy with pollen sub will be mostly sugar and some pollen sub. If you are making hard blocks, use the onion bag instead. However, this time of year and through the winter, do not give the bees additional pollen or sub. There should be plenty of natural pollen available right now and in the winter, adding solids to their diet is not advised. They will need to excrete it and since it will be cold, it may happen inside of the hive. Feed only sugar through the winter.

Finally, I don't advise most beekeepers to use pollen/sub patties at all. Most beekeepers use them for the wrong reason or at the wrong time and are wasting their money on them. Have a valid well thought out reason for using them. Using them because you read it was a good idea or the other beeks are using them is not a good reason. I only use them for newly created hives with a minimal work force or when there is a total lack of natural pollen available. In my area we have a total lack of nectar and pollen forage from early August to late Sept. every year. They are know to cause major problems in areas with small hive beetles.
 

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Mine don't get pollen patties because they don't need it in the fall, and if I fed it to them in the spring, I'd be picking swarms out of the trees. I'm already splitting my topbar hives earlier in the spring than I want due to high populations. Mine really grow the bees.

But if you are in an area that needs pollen patties to survive, there is no harm in putting the patty on the screened floor. The bees do walk around during the warmer days of winter so they can feed on them on the floor. It's quite fun to have observation windows on the hives where you can see what is happening during the winter. In my part of VA, they really don't go into a winter cluster and stay there.

I also do sugar bricks in my topbar hives, and I hang those from an empty bar using a popcyle mesh bag from walmart. They are built of a more sturdy mesh than onion bag, and have the label at the top which makes a handy place to thumb tack it on the top of the bar. I then knot the bottom of the bag to hold the sugar brick in place of a comb.
 

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I have to feed a supercedure swarm I caught six days ago so there is no pollen in the new tiny hive. I am going to more the hive into a storage shed for protection. They will need pollen to feed the larvae when the eggs hatch. Instead of making pollen patties, will it work to smear the pollen patty into extra drawn comb I have? I could just drop that into the hive into next to the eggs.
 

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I have to feed a supercedure swarm I caught six days ago so there is no pollen in the new tiny hive. I am going to more the hive into a storage shed for protection. They will need pollen to feed the larvae when the eggs hatch. Instead of making pollen patties, will it work to smear the pollen patty into extra drawn comb I have? I could just drop that into the hive into next to the eggs.
you should be able to pack it into brood comb. light colored honey comb will be too soft probably. or if you have trapped bee pollen, that can be dumped into the drawn comb. or if your other full size hives have a frame to spare, a small hive won't need much and you can just steal a comb from them and give the big hive the substitute.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
My other hives did not store much pollen, so I will just put some pollen patty into the comb. I am curious if adult bees also need to eat some pollen to survive or is pollen just for raising brood?
 

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My other hives did not store much pollen, so I will just put some pollen patty into the comb. I am curious if adult bees also need to eat some pollen to survive or is pollen just for raising brood?
pollen is primarily used by nurse bees to feed the brood. also used to make the royal jelly for the queen bee. I don't think I've read where a regular worker needs pollen in their normal, daily winter diet.
 

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Mine don't get pollen patties because they don't need it in the fall, and if I fed it to them in the spring, I'd be picking swarms out of the trees. I'm already splitting my topbar hives earlier in the spring than I want due to high populations. Mine really grow the bees.

But if you are in an area that needs pollen patties to survive, there is no harm in putting the patty on the screened floor. The bees do walk around during the warmer days of winter so they can feed on them on the floor. It's quite fun to have observation windows on the hives where you can see what is happening during the winter. In my part of VA, they really don't go into a winter cluster and stay there.

I also do sugar bricks in my topbar hives, and I hang those from an empty bar using a popcyle mesh bag from walmart. They are built of a more sturdy mesh than onion bag, and have the label at the top which makes a handy place to thumb tack it on the top of the bar. I then knot the bottom of the bag to hold the sugar brick in place of a comb.
What is a popcyle mesh bag? Was that supposed to be popsicle? If so, are you referring to a mesh bag that popsicles come in? Just trying to locate the sturdier mesh bag you are referring to. Thanks!
 

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I generally have three top bar hives going all the time. I've almost never fed them anything and I have never given them pollen patties.
Hi MB,
My TBH is filled with a small, late May swarm. I am definitely not feeding pollen this time of year as they have still been bringing it in and I really want the queen to take a break. I still have capped and open brood as of a few days ago. They are still a relatively small hive only 4 bars of brood each with a honey band. They also had 2 heavy bars of honey they were in the process of capping in August. Then...those stores were nearly gone over the course of about a week and a half. There were no signs of robbing: no wax fragments, no dead bees, no fighting. I found a yellow jacket on the honey comb once but it wasn't like the hive was overrun with them though they are always lurking (robber screen worked to keep them out of the hive but this was after the honey went missing). I don't know if they consumed the honey or moved it to the brood comb? There are noticeably a lot more bees in this hive than in June and I just don't see how they have enough honey to survive winter. I have been giving them 2:1 syrup and they back filled some of brood cells (I know from reading your site, that is not always good either because they hunker down in the empty cells). It is now too cold for syrup. I have been researching what to do for emergency feeding this winter and have prepared a fondant frame that I have frozen for later and now know how to hang a sugar loaf in an onion bag. I also read on your site how to use cardboard envelopes filled with lightly moistened sugar inside the TBH. I'm not doing any of this yet, but don't want to be in a panic in January....so just getting armed, with sugar. Does this sound like I'm on the right track?
 

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I used to have Langs and it was easy to put pollen patties on top of the frames. I now have top bar hives. With a top bar hive, there are no gaps between the top bars for bees to come up and eat the patties. Also the patties on top of the bars are technically outside of the hive and would get cold. Any advice from a top bar beekeeper would be welcomed. Thanks.
In Northern climates the interlocking top bars are more hassle than help (I am finding).
I regret starting out building my hives with the interlocking bars (gradually undoing this "defect").

There is nothing to prevent you making the top bars to be passable (trivial soft inner cover over the top bars works in TBH just as well - most any plastics or fabrics work).
At the same time you don't have later issue like this one.
 

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In Northern climates the interlocking top bars are more hassle than help (I am finding).
I regret starting out building my hives with the interlocking bars (gradually undoing this "defect").

There is nothing to prevent you making the top bars to be passable (trivial soft inner cover over the top bars works in TBH just as well - most any plastics or fabrics work).
At the same time you don't have later issue like this one.
My top bars do not interlock and taking out a bar would allow me to spread the bars on either side of the brood nest. That is another tool in the tool box that I am preparing. I am making a feeder rim/eke in which to place above the bars if I choose to go that route.
 

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My top bars do not interlock and taking out a bar would allow me to spread the bars on either side of the brood nest. That is another tool in the tool box that I am preparing. I am making a feeder rim/eke in which to place above the bars if I choose to go that route.
Confused.
IF your bars do not interlock/touch - then you do not need to spread them out.
The are already passable.
Like so:
20190815_191257.jpg
 
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