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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I need a strategy for trapping pollen and feeding it and pollen substitute. The main Massachusetts flow is in spring. I think there's a flow in fall.

Tests for determining whether to feed pollen/sub (assuming they have enough honey):
jelly test
  1. Check 1 frame with young larvae. I think a variety of ages would be best.
  2. Compare royal jelly to larvae size. This ratio should look greater than that in a threshold picture.
  3. I used figure 8 here. It's not a minimum threshold pic, and doesn't show a variety of ages.
Ideas
  1. Dry feeding makes sense to me.
  2. If feeding in spring, wait until its warm or they start getting pollen.
  3. Feed a small amount of substitute. If they eat it, mix and feed small batches of sub + pollen.
  4. Grind pollen before mixing it with sub for dry feeding.
  5. When feeding in summer dearth, mix less pollen with sub.
  6. Fall feeding could include putting frozen undried pollen in empty comb.
  7. A hive top trap is easier.
  8. I might also freeze frames to get pollen without trapping. It couldn't be mixed with sub.

pollen drying plans
  1. I might not have to do this.
  2. Freeze pollen.
  3. Dry with a food dehydrator with aluminum window screen in the pans.
  4. Freeze dried pollen.
idea 2:
  1. Make pollen sub extremely dry.
  2. Mix sub + pollen.
  3. finish drying

Right now, I will buy sub and a trap. I didn't see great plans for making traps. Before spring I will decide whether to make or buy more traps. What trap should I get?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
It looks like I have to decide between the Sundance and Sundance II. They're expensive and liked (good signs). I want a trap with the best tech. Once I understand the tech, I can make better decisions on what to make/buy. Next year, I might only use 1 trap, and freeze frames to get the rest of the pollen. I had 3 hives last fall. Now I have 5.
 

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The 'front porch' style traps seem to work okay and they are only like, $20. Getting pollen out of frames is pretty difficult, best to collect heavily in the spring then freeze it. They will most likely be fine as most traps are only about 50% efficient.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Here's a link to questions I have to answer before buying a trap. I'm getting a top mount version of a Sundance or Sundance II.

Cost isn't a problem. It's 1 trap, and it teaches me about trap design. The trapped pollen is most useful for queenrearing and adding to sub. I only have 5 hives. 1 trap should be enough. If I need more, I can buy or make them. They should be for the top. I don't know how to have bottom entrances when it's cold out yet.

I wouldn't extract frozen pollen frames. This spring, 4 medium hives filled (completely, to the level of capped honey) 1-2 mediums at the entrance with pollen + 5% drone. They might have put pollen elsewhere. Next spring, I could freeze pollen frames at the top, and replace them with empty comb from below. In the fall, I could put the pollen frames back.
 
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