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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Located in Ontario Canada. Finally got above 32F and some of the snow started to melt the last couple of days. We've got lots of snow so its going to be a long time until spring comes.

Checked the hives a couple weeks ago and they seemed fine.

Decided to add a couple pollen patties to one hive today. I lifted the outer cover and inner cover which is insulated with 1.5 inches of pink styrofoam. When I cracked the inner cover there were lots and lots of bees on the top of the 2nd hive body. I'm only a second year beek and going thru my first winter I had no idea on how many bees to expect. By the number of bees it looks like the Queen has been very active already. I added a couple of pollen patties and the bees were all over them. Went to put the inner cover back on and when I did it left a big gap of about an inch was left all around the back of the hive caused by the thickness of the pollen patties. I wasn't happy with that so I quickly took off the inner cover and put on an empty super body with no frames. I then put the inner cover back on and then the outer cover. We still have lots of winter left so I added some black felt paper around the super body to keep and drafts out. Bees seemed to be happy and were flying around a bit today in the sun.

My question is: Will that 6" super body create too much empty space in the hive now and the bees will get cold?? Or will they continue to be active when it is warm and move down into the deep when it gets colder. (tonight for sure)
 

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Re: Please help....Did I make a boo boo when adding pollen pattyies today. Ontario

The bees will be fine. Bees keep the cluster and brood warm, not the entire interior cavity.

Tom
 

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Re: Please help....Did I make a boo boo when adding pollen pattyies today. Ontario

What was the purpose of adding the pollen patties at his time?
 

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Re: Please help....Did I make a boo boo when adding pollen pattyies today. Ontario

I would say you are about a month early for pollen patties. Sugar or fondant may be needed if they are light. You don't want to stimulate them to raise any more brood then necessary at this time of year in Ontario.

Empty space above the brood nest is not helpful. If patties/sugar/fondant are too thick use a 1-2 inch spacer, or use thinner patties.

Regards Peter
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Re: Please help....Did I make a boo boo when adding pollen pattyies today. Ontario

I would say you are about a month early for pollen patties. Sugar or fondant may be needed if they are light. You don't want to stimulate them to raise any more brood then necessary at this time of year in Ontario.

Empty space above the brood nest is not helpful. If patties/sugar/fondant are too thick use a 1-2 inch spacer, or use thinner patties.

Regards Peter
Do you think I should wait maybe a week and then taken the empty super off? I put in two full size patties.

They were all over the patties so I would think it would be all gone within the week. Thanks for all advice!
 

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Re: Please help....Did I make a boo boo when adding pollen pattyies today. Ontario

I agree with what others have said. Protein will cause them to rear brood. Doing this too early means the bees are going to use more food and possibly starve out.
 

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Re: Please help....Did I make a boo boo when adding pollen pattyies today. Ontario

I am not quite brand new at beekeeping yet - my first bees should arrive mid/late May 2014.

Just to be sure, you did feed pollen patties, not Winter patties, right? I notice some people confusing the two terms.

Assuming that you did feed pollen, I agree with PeterP in that you may be at least a month early with the pollen. With pollen available, the bees are going to go into brood mode anticipating an also timely arrival of nectar. However, looking at the long range weather forecasts (I am about an hour East of you), I do not anticipate even dandelions, which are a major early spring nectar source, until at least the end of April and it could be significantly later even than that.

You may have a situation on your hands if your hives do not still contain an aweful lot of honey as, without either honey or nectar or sugar syrup, the bees are likely to eat themselves out of house and home. I am trying to recall the numbers and it is not working very well but I seem to recall reading that two or three rounds of brood, say six weeks or so worth, can use the equivalent of 100 lbs of honey. I think you will need to ensure a continuous supply of both pollen and syrup until Spring actually gets here. I would supplement the syrup with something like Honey B Healthy as sugar alone is not great for raising brood.

On your finding lots of bees a couple of weeks ago, I doubt that they are due to new brood. We have rarely had a day get close to freezing even for the high in nearly three months and there have been a lot of days with highs far colder. Rather, I suspect that you have some good Winter hardy bees that you prepared well (food, health and housing wise) for Winter. Hence, bees did not die off at any significant rate. The bees you saw are almost certainly the same ones you saw last Fall. The life span of a worker bee is inversely proportional to the amount of brood it is exposed to. In the absence of brood, a worker bee can live for many months.

Keep us posted on how this all works out.
 

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Re: Please help....Did I make a boo boo when adding pollen pattyies today. Ontario

You could hedge your bets and make up some of Laurie Miller's Delicious (according to my bees) Sugar Bricks and add those, too. That would give them a good source of sugars to go along with their patties (maybe you could pull one patty out when you add the bricks?) My girls have been groovin' on the sugar bricks all winter (though they also have plenty of honey and bee bread, which I think thay are saving for their brood, or maybe not. (I certainly haven't been down in my frames to check that out this winter - it's been far too cold!)

Enj.
 

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Re: Please help....Did I make a boo boo when adding pollen pattyies today. Ontario

I would say what you did was a mistake. Get the patties out of there. Expect to lose some bees.
 

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Re: Please help....Did I make a boo boo when adding pollen pattyies today. Ontario

I would say what you did was a mistake. Get the patties out of there. Expect to lose some bees.
I realize now I am a little early. Bunch of stuff I read on Internet last night talks about putting on patties after Winter Solstice (March 20th). I will continue to monitor and add sugar if things get low. I am more concerned about the extra space I added from the empty super and if that will cause too much cold air at the top of the hive. Finally it is starting to get a bit warmer here.
 

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Re: Please help....Did I make a boo boo when adding pollen pattyies today. Ontario

Given your successes last year, even if it was year one, I think you have a reasonable sense of bees.

Be careful about dates quoted on the Internet to be sure you know what region they are referenced to.

I would just keep a close eye on the bees and make sure they do not run out of feed - three days without food is enough to kill a colony especially if they have started raising brood. If your bees survived in as great of shape as they did with the Winter we have had, I doubt that that empty box is going to make much difference now although I would put some insulation on it.

You are close to Port Hope - do you get your supplies from Dancing Bee? If you do, don't hesitate to pick Todd's brain - there's some pretty good pickings in there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Re: Please help....Did I make a boo boo when adding pollen pattyies today. Ontario

Given your successes last year, even if it was year one, I think you have a reasonable sense of bees.

Be careful about dates quoted on the Internet to be sure you know what region they are referenced to.

I would just keep a close eye on the bees and make sure they do not run out of feed - three days without food is enough to kill a colony especially if they have started raising brood. If your bees survived in as great of shape as they did with the Winter we have had, I doubt that that empty box is going to make much difference now although I would put some insulation on it.

You are close to Port Hope - do you get your supplies from Dancing Bee? If you do, don't hesitate to pick Todd's brain - there's some pretty good pickings in there.
Thanks - good idea. I will send Todd an email. Yes I do have 1.5inches of pink Styrofoam on the inner cover. On Saturday, I also put some insulation on the top of the outside cover just for a little bit extra. Yes, I have purchased a fair amount from Dancing Bee.
 

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Re: Please help....Did I make a boo boo when adding pollen pattyies today. Ontario

Thanks - good idea. I will send Todd an email. Yes I do have 1.5inches of pink Styrofoam on the inner cover. On Saturday, I also put some insulation on the top of the outside cover just for a little bit extra. Yes, I have purchased a fair amount from Dancing Bee.
Dancing Bee is the way to go for decently priced equipment! Also currently has pollen patties on sale =)
 

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Re: Please help....Did I make a boo boo when adding pollen pattyies today. Ontario

I also think you're early with the patties. They can cause early brood rearing and dysentery if you're looking at a prolonged cold snap. You also don't want that much open space above the cluster.

Personally, I put the patties on around the time the first pollen sources appear. In my area, those will be the maples. The bees cannot always make the most of them due to the chaotic Spring weather, hence the patty.
 

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Re: Please help....Did I make a boo boo when adding pollen pattyies today. Ontario

With all of the snow we just got, I can't imagine giving the bees any patty over here. If they eat it, they might raise brood, and thus are more likely to freeze, and if they don't eat it, it'll absorb moisture and warmth from the hive and might therefore spoil. Neither outcome sounds good for the bees.
 

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Re: Please help....Did I make a boo boo when adding pollen pattyies today. Ontario

yeah probably was not a good choice. rearing brood at this time in ur climate can be dreadful in many ways. to ad to the reasons expressed by people on this thread,i will add another reason. if they rear brood across the frames,the bees will want to cover all the brood to warm them. thus spreading out the cluster and not really clustering at all. get it out if you can.
 
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