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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The weather is forecast to be mid-40's and sunny today and tomorrow. Since my work schedule may keep me away for the next several weeks, I thought I'd check the hives today and, as a precaution, give them some fondant. Should I also offer some pollen (MegaBee patties?) at this point, too?
 

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This is a situation where you should have an idea of 'what' and how abundant your early blooming plants are; within a three mile radius or so. Around here in WI., which may be somewhat similar to NY., we have willows, some alders, Silver maple, and around houses; the crocus. These should be blooming in about 2-3 weeks. Skunk cabbage is an early bloomer but not always common in some areas. There is a consensus among beekeepers here, that one does not have to feed pollen substitute [in most cases].

Feeding substitute is great if you want your hive to build up fast and early, and be strong so that you can make divides or nucs/splits to increase colony numbers; make up for overwintered colony losses. It can often lead to swarming though when you don't want that, especially with a second year colony. But that can happen anyway.

You can provide the pollen sub if you want too! I don't think it is crucial for the survival of the colony right now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Oldbee.

I started to think about offering protein/pollen after reading Randy Oliver's Fat Bees- Part II when feeding syrup. In this case, I'll be using fondant.

I know this can be a tough time of year for the bees and can result in a large number of losses. At times, I can gone for weeks at a time and need to plan ahead. I thought some fondant would be cheap insurance against starvation in the next few weeks and some pollen in case the weather prevents the bees from getting to any natural sources.
 

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"At times, I can [be] gone for weeks at a time and.."

OK.,,, I understand your concern then. I myself, have been able to tend to my bees [1-4 colonies :rolleyes:] for weeks at a time when it might be important to do so; and not be absent. Except for this summer because of sugery but I timed that about right.

Yes, the weather can be quite harsh for the bees. Last year the Silver maple bloomed and the weather was nice [55-65 degrees F.] for about one day, as I remember,....and then it turned cold for a week+. But, I don't think many WI. beekeepers then rush out, and put pollen sub on as an 'emergency'.

The fondant is fine and you can add a pollen sub patty if you want to.
 
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