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Several threads regarding new swarms and packages contain comments that workers won't bring in pollen if there is no open brood, as there is no need for it as feed. My hive that went queenless, and has only capped and emerging brood, is still bringing in pollen. Granted, there has been a shift to more nectar (or water), just by looking at bees coming in, but two or three workers out of ten come back with pollen. In fact, the hive appears headed to being pollen bound. They aren't backfilling the brood frames with nectar, but seem to be filling recently emptied brood cells with bee bread. I left capped emergency cells, I have not given them a frame of eggs or open brood. Thoughts?
 

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Bees usually bring in pollen in response to open brood, but this is not a hard and fast rule. If you have capped emergency cells I'd leave well enough alone, although a frame of empty comb might be a good idea once you have a laying queen.

This time of year the bees tend to stuff the hive full of pollen queen or not -- they hoard it just like the hoard honey. In nature, there is often a dearth in the fall and they require significant pollen stores to make winter bees.

There are times when bees bringing in lots of pollen means something though -- if you have a new package or queenless hive and requeen, typically the bees only occasionally bring in pollen. If they suddenly are loaded down like crazy, you can figure that there is now open brood. Not always true, but a clue.

Peter
 

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I had a queenless hive filled half the frames in the brood box with pollen.
I think they bring back pollen on autopilot like that zombie movie where they all continue to walk around the mall as it is all they know.
 

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> They aren't backfilling the brood frames with nectar, but seem to be filling recently emptied brood cells with bee bread. I left capped emergency cells, I have not given them a frame of eggs or open brood. Thoughts?

I have seen the same behavior so obviously it is a myth that they will not gather pollen if there is no brood. It is true that brood make a pheromone that incites them to recruit more pollen foragers... but seeing bees gathering pollen proves nothing.
 
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