What do they do with the corn powder? Is it a source of pollen? What do they do with sawdust? Is this an indication that the bees are low on honey stores? Or are they just bored?I live in NE Tennessee. Winter weather here is erratic. On warm days my bees are swarming the chicken feeders. What are they gleaning from the chicken feed. My husband says they are flying home with pollen baskets full.
I use commercial co-op layer crumbles for the chickens. The bees are also raiding my neighbors scratch chicken feed.Is it purchased layer mash or are you grinding your own? Purchased layer mash is 15-20% protein by weight. Soy meal or canola meal is added to the ground grain in the purchased and meal can be added to home ground grain. The soy meal or canola meal are part of the flour mixture the bees are collecting. It may be well over 30% protein in just the flour weight. I don't see why bees could not utilize this protein in brood rearing.
They aren't wasting energy they just know they need protein of some sort to commence brood laying in the late winter early spring. Its a good sign. The bees will abandon those kind of sources as soon as a fresh pollen flow commences.I always figured the bees were confusing the corn dust with pollen and were wasting their time and energy. Is it actually a useful protein source?
Pollen Sub often has Yeast in it. As grain or other parts of chicken feed may have Yeast on the surface or in it, they are likely collecting yeast, or any other thing they can use as a substitute for pollen. they will also collect blood, some kinds of mushrooms, if available. If you have a shortage of pollen in the hive you could try open feeding a granular pollen sub. Some chicken feed is medicated, not sure how that will impact the bees.I live in NE Tennessee. Winter weather here is erratic. On warm days my bees are swarming the chicken feeders. What are they gleaning from the chicken feed. My husband says they are flying home with pollen baskets full.
They're after the salts and the minerals. They prefer what we'd consider as 'dirty' water to pure water. They're using the salts and minerals to rear brood ...Taste test? Medicated grain to rear brood? In the spring we get runoff from the manure piles. There is plenty of clean water closer to the home yard colonies but they prefer the manure. What are they getting? And where are they putting it? I am VERY confident it does not go into the honey or propolis or comb or anything else we eat from the hive! Yikes! 😮