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More advanced beekeeping discussion forum.
 #1477  by Chrisbarlow
 04 Dec 2018, 21:43
my recipe was inspired by a Michael Palmer recipe I saw else where. Its spot on. I have found that my colonies can overwinter much larger and most seem stronger compared with before I started using pollens subs. I find although they can be larger colonies they still dont need any more stores.

I find there appears to be no rhyme or reason to which ones will be very strong either but I suspect there will be, I am just ignorant of that fact.

I feed in Autumn once MAQs has come off early September every week until early October when they stop taking it and then start again early January with 1 pollen sub, 2 subs in Feb and 4 in March, By April they wont take the subs as I believe they are getting sufficient nectar in with a high enough nurtitional value.
 #1864  by cambsbeekeep
 04 Feb 2019, 23:14
Just wondering if it is too early to feed the bees with Pollen supplement/substitute to help get the queen in the mood for laying? Weather forecast for our area is 8 - 9 degrees daytime temp for the next week or so, but we could always get another cold spell of course. I don't want to trigger her too early, but then some people say they won't take the stuff when spring really arrives. A bit of a conundrum.
 #1865  by Patrick
 05 Feb 2019, 08:17
Good question. I always think of spring stimulation as trying to build population for foragers 6 weeks hence, so maybe the answer lies in the timing of the
first significant crop you are aiming for - OSR I am guessing in Cambs ?

Always a gamble with spring weather around here.
 #1866  by Jim Norfolk
 05 Feb 2019, 14:06
I never fed pollen in spring down south because there was always an adequate natural supply and temperatures were often mild enough for the bees to forage in February and March. I am now about the same latitude as Cambridge so I have been comtemplating the same question. Today plenty of bees flying but no pollen brought back yet. I know there are plenty of bees in my colonies and that a lot of ivy pollen was collected last autumn but how good is it and is it enough? Lack of pollen for larvae will mean small, short lived bees who are poor foragers, (see Heather Mattila NHS talk). It would make sense to give some pollen as a precaution but then there must be downsides, which presumably include too much brood too early which could be negelcted in cold weather. I think I will leave the decision for a few more weeks and maybe if there is no pollen about on fine days at the end of the month start feeding a supplement.
 #1867  by Jim Norfolk
 05 Feb 2019, 14:27
I meant to add what do people in even colder areas do?

Has anyone opened a colony in March and found they have plenty of honey but absolutely no stored pollen?
 #1868  by Chrisbarlow
 05 Feb 2019, 17:14
I fed my first batch of pollen subs last month and I will be trying to at least get another one batch if not two this month in to the colonies. I am in West Yorkshire. I want bees for OSR and nucs, the more the merrier. I find feeding in September and Spring beneficial. I find the colonies overwinter larger and I have less Winter losses.

I use Ultra Bee because it came out top in scientific beekeepings pollen/pollen subs test a few years ago.
 #1869  by Chrisbarlow
 05 Feb 2019, 17:17
Jim Norfolk wrote:
05 Feb 2019, 14:27
I meant to add what do people in even colder areas do?

Has anyone opened a colony in March and found they have plenty of honey but absolutely no stored pollen?
I have opened up bees in March a couple of years ago when we had a very mild March and these particular colonies were very strong. I must admit, I cannot remember the amount of pollen but I do remember they were still very heavy and I was adding extra space at the time. If I remember and the weather is ok, I might do it again this year and take note.
 #1870  by MickBBKA
 06 Feb 2019, 01:42
I am still on the learning curve ( as we all are ) but in 2017 I realised in April my bees were reducing in brood. I was very confused as to why, as it was noticeable in all my colonies at the time. It then dawned on me there was no pollen in the hives. Although the trees, bushes and ground plants were covered in flowers it was so cold and windy the bees were not foraging and were heading for a big dip. I am always looking at ways to mitigate my local climate and so in 2018 started to use pollen substitute in the same way as Nigel has described. What I have found is that the colonies that want it take it in huge amounts and others don't. The ones that do were much bigger and more productive. What was amazing was how quiet and content the bees became as I fed it. The video just shows them feeding. This is about 30 seconds after I applied the feed.
https://youtu.be/yW-43tKN_5U