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The last 2 years for example, I have had a lot of colonies come out of winter with really small clusters... I would also think that feeding pollen / sub to nucs could help in certain situations.


Anyone have PERSONAL EXPERIENCE feeding pollen sub successfully to small colonies and or nucs?

Even with a high content of real pollen (50%) I have not had good luck getting these colonies to take it either late fall or late winter ...

I know that if I freeze frames of pollen and feed them to these same small colonies or nucs, they will take off.... but they generally won't touch sub....on top or even spread into the cells on a frame adjacent to the brood nest / cluster

thoughts? secrets? advice?
 

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As long as patties are placed within 2 inches of brood, I haven't had a problem getting the bees to eat the sub.

If you are making your own patties, you may want to increase the sugar content of your patties. Bees will eat just about anything if you mix it with enough sugar.
 

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As Countryboy says, you may need to sweeten your patties more. What kind of sub are you using? I mix my own honey , as well as sugar syrup into the 50/50 mix of Brewer's Yeast, Mega Bee, and pollen previously trapped from my bees. My nucs are double stacked 5 frame mediums and when weather permits I'll put patties between chambers as well as on the topbars of upper box within an empty chamber. Also if you feed them sugar syrup with the patties I think it stimulates them more to feed on the sub. My bees just want to woof the stuff down, and make brood. :)
 

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I throw a small patty of MegaBee on my packages when I check to see if the queen has been released... 4th day. I have had no problem getting them to take it. It must be right over the brood frames and over 50°F.
 

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OK, I'll be the first to wrinkle my brow. For me, it seems that they don't take it more often than they do. I've always attributed that to colony need and not so much the recipe that I've used. I've never sweetened it because I don't want the attractant to be the sugar. It's possible that the colonies that do take it are colonies that have hungry brood to feed and the colonies that don't take it have ample stores and low enough brood populations that they don't perceive a need. I have no proof of this, just a thought. In my opinion, if they don't want it....that's OK with me. I offered just in case and I'm happy to let the bees decide how to manage their own colony.
 

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I feed from last flow in the fall till they leave for almonds in Dec. and then again in the spring. I make my own with sugar, brewers yeast and EO's. It really boosts the hives especially if they are low on stores. However, if you really want to kick in brood rearing you need to feed 1:1. I read an interesting article lately about adding brewers yeast to 1:1 and the brood nests grew by a much greater percentage. I haven't tried this myself yet, but am going to run side by side experiments on some of my splits this year to see if there is a difference.
 

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I just made my own substitute using one of the recipes found on here. Sugar, egg solids, soy isolate, brewers yeast, cinnamon, ground up organic lemon & EOs. Don't know if the bees will like it, but it sure smells yummy!

Getting the girls tomorrow, hiving them just before dark, & will slap a patty on top when I check on the queen next Thursday morning.
 

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For the last two years I've been feeding pollen substitute to both full-size colonies and nucs, late Autumn until plenty of fresh pollen is available to them in the Spring (they stop taking it then, anyway). I mostly use the dry Bee Pro powder from Mann Lake and mix my own patties. I mix small batches, by hand, and add hemp protein, vitamin C, lots of canola oil, and sugar. I've found that, if I add enough canola oil, the patties will remain soft and more palatable to the bees, longer. Though even patties that have dried up and become rock hard (when I was more frugal with the canola oil), were assimilated by some colonies, but not most. Plenty of pollen is available by foraging, now, so the bees have stopped taking the patties and I have stopped feeding them.

Feeding pollen substitute to my nucs, I believe, has helped them to continue raising brood and growing their populations, now that our Spring honey flow has begun they are really taking good advantage of it.
 
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