Didn't you all in RI have a drought recently? I imagine you had a dearth of pollen along with a dearth of nectar. I would offer them a quarter of a patty and see how they respond. If they eat it, give them some more.
In a "normal" year the best time to feed pollen is late winter but with a drought the pollen production by the flowers in the fall is minimal and the bees need some protein.
A nice article on feeding pollen" https://www.honeybeesuite.com/when-..., in some areas, fall,It depends on your area.
The last two seasons my bees had very little pollen available due to drought so this year I bought extra patties to feed in the fall and I have even though the fall pollen flow has been more than adequate. I still think the patties were a sound investment building strong winter bees.
Many references, Hive & Honeybee etc., state that feeding bees pollen sub in the fall prompts the making of ordinary, summer bees & delays the production of winter bees. Supposedly, the declining pollen availability initiates the raising of winter bees & by feeding pollen sub, you're actually encouraging more summer brood.
Feeding pollen sub is never a mistake during flying weather. Treating varroa has nothing to do with feeding pollen sub. The treatment all in all is more important. Do not over think it. Do not over critisize it either RIGHT?
A forum community dedicated to beekeeping, bee owners and enthusiasts. Come join the discussion about breeding, honey production, health, behavior, hives, housing, adopting, care, classifieds, and more!