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The black locust bloom started around May 15th this year. I had a couple of colonies that I believe brought in a good bit of BL nectar, but I wish the population had been a little greater.

Would a couple of pollen patties and a light, stimulative feeding two or three weeks before the Crocus bloom make much of a difference?

... or is it best to simply combine hives or use booster packages?
 

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Would a couple of pollen patties and a light, stimulative feeding two or three weeks before the Crocus bloom make much of a difference?

Patties and feeding can help if done correctly, or they can do a lot of damage.

If all you give them is a couple patties, and some syrup to stimulate them, they will start using resources and building up. As soon as the syrup and patties are gone, if they don't have reliable nectar and pollen coming in, they may tear out the brood they started to raise. Or, they can start to build up, and eat themselves out of house and home and starve before flow hits.

If you are going to give patties and syrup, keep the patties and syrup on until the bees have a reliable source of nectar and pollen coming in.

Keep in mind that if you have the hives built up great to take advantage of the flow, it will rain everyday during the locust bloom.
 

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All that and i would start feeding about a month and a half before the expected flow seeing how it takes 4 weeks for the brood to mature. the extra 2 weeks would allow them to get strong enough to make a surplus. Even still you need a little luck as the weather can be fickle this early in the year and the BL blossoms rather fragile.
 
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