feeding pollen

Discussion in 'Beekeeping' started by Oregonsparkie, Jan 12, 2005.

  1. Oregonsparkie

    Oregonsparkie Well-Known Member

    Sep 3, 2003
    OK... Ive read about it but have never done it... So what's the deal with feeding pollen or a pollen substitute??

    When should a person feed the pollen substitute??
  2. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

    May 10, 2002
    From what I have read, every baby bee needs one cell of pollen and one cell of honey to grow up.

    Also, the hive starts raising baby bees BEFORE it is warm out, so that they have a work force as soon as it warms up. In Kansas, I believe queens start laying again about January.

    Of course, if they run out of pollen the hive is weakened, because they cannot collect any more in the winter. A bee that was shorted on pollen has a shorter lifespan, also.

    A good supply of pollen to feed will also encourage the bees to raise a large number of babies, because they know that they can feed them.

    So, in the late winter many beekeepers feed pollen or a substitute so that the bees do NOT run short. They are more likely to come out of winter with a strong hive that way.

    I have heard that pollen substitutes are not as good as the real thing but I had no pollen to freeze. Instead I bought soy flour to give them in February. (Soy is a pollen substitute, not as good as bought stuff from a bee supply place but not bad either).

  3. becky4050

    becky4050 Member

    Jan 11, 2005
    There was an article a while back in Countryside about feeding bees and it had a section on feeding pollen. The article is by Ray Nabors, PhD from Univ. of Missouri. Here's what he says about it...

    "Pollen substitutes do not induce swarming. In the spring when brood rearing is initiated, pollen is often the limiting factor. Pollen or pollen substitutes fed in early spring will usually result in a larger population of foraging bees and consequently a larger honey crop. Pollen substitutes that contain 10% pollen are more acceptable to the bees. This is a good reason for beekeepers to own pollen traps. A good mix is sugar, soyflower, yeast and pollen. The mix should contain 35% sugar, 40% soyflower, 15% yeast and 10% pollen. That is a good dry mix that can be sprinkled over the top of the cluster in early spring. Bees prefer honey to sugar. If honey is substituted for the sugar, an extender patty can be made that will be much appreciated and rapidly consumed by the bees. The dry food is more easily handled. Bee Pol is an excellent commercially available pollen substitute product."

    Hope that helps.