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Author Topic: Do they really eat it?  (Read 1667 times)

Offline Stone

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Do they really eat it?
« on: March 31, 2011, 11:57:08 AM »
or do they just trash it?  In American Bee Journal - in the January or February issue - there is a discussion in "The Classroom" section about pollen substitutes.  I don't have the issue in front of me so I'm writing from what I remember. His premise is that bees actually don't eat these substitutes - for simple biological reasons he explains rather clearly - and in reality likely treat them as trash and dispose of them outside the hive.  If this is true, we're spending a very great deal of money on garbage.   :)


The writer is very knowledgeable: Based on the very interesting facts he presents his answer makes good sense, but it would be very interesting to hear what others think and have experienced - and what the actual research has shown.

Offline kathyp

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Re: Do they really eat it?
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2011, 12:31:25 PM »
just guessing, but i'd say they do both.  early in the year when there is not much else and they start raising brood, they probably use it.  later, when there is natural stuff available i doubt they do.  i know mine usually abandon it as soon as the natural stuff is out there.
.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

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Offline VolunteerK9

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Re: Do they really eat it?
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2011, 01:05:03 PM »
Same here...when I put mine on in February, one of the hives really went to town on it fast, after I replaced it the second time, real pollen was coming in and I noticed the patty pieces were being chunked out the front door. I think they have their uses though. Im going to give a package that Im getting in April one to see how they take to it (or not). My feeling is that once they have active foragers, that they will ignore it though.

Offline Stone

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Re: Do they really eat it?
« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2011, 06:07:50 PM »
I just placed Megabee inside my colonies two weeks ago when we had a day near 50 deg. F and the bees were flying.  This was the first time I used it.  I haven't been able to go back and check the hives since then and besides the weather here has been absolutely awful - very cold and snowy.  I'm glad I got the patties in when I did.

Offline Kelly

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Re: Do they really eat it?
« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2011, 07:18:22 PM »
I have a question regarding pollen substitutes. 

Natural pollen is fermented (for 2 weeks?) in the hive to transform it into bee bread.  Would a pollen substitute require the same fermentation process or do the bees feed it to the larvae without fermentation? 

I fed all my 5 bee hives a Mann Lake "Ultra Bee" pollen patty 2 weeks ago, and fed then syrup for the first time today.  It was 40 something degrees outside when I added the top feeders with 1:1 syrup to my hives, my weakest hive has 3 full frames of bees and all my strong hives have nearly consumed all the pollen sub.  The bees are not bringing in any pollen at this time. Here in SE Minnesota the weather has been slow to warm up an my packages have been delayed two weeks. 

Best wishes for a heavy harvest!   Kelly

Offline iddee

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Re: Do they really eat it?
« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2011, 08:14:58 PM »
This is what dry pollen sub feeding looks like 50 feet from the hives before there is real pollen coming in. I don't think they are trashing it. Of course, this isn't the first time I have disagreed with Jerry. Sometimes I think that Florida sun has gotten to him a bit.


"Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me . . . Anything can happen, child. Anything can be"

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Offline Stone

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Re: Do they really eat it?
« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2011, 08:19:13 PM »
That photo is encouraging Iddee!  I hope those girls are enjoying the patties.  :)

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Do they really eat it?
« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2011, 12:32:55 AM »
I feed real pollen usually and when I'm short I mix it 50:50 with either whole soy flour or dry pollen substitute.  I feed it dry.  I feed it inside an empty hive on some screen.  The bees are collecting it in a frenzy and they are not hauling it out for trash...
Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm en espanol: bushfarms.com/es_bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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Offline Finski

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Re: Do they really eat it?
« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2011, 04:19:35 PM »

When pollen patty is good. Bees consume it  0,5 kg a week.
There are many reasons why bees do not eate patty.
It took a long time before I learned how to do it.

Very few follow my advices.

Soya flour must be so fine that it is mentioned to make drinks. Bees cannot eate coarse flour. They cannot bite small pieces from grains.

Bees stop patty eating when they get multiflower pollen from nature.
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Offline Finski

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Re: Do they really eat it?
« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2011, 04:30:09 PM »
 
if snow covers ground, don't on't feed patty to bees. They need much water to eate patty, and they need bare ground to suck water. Colonies become sick and larvae die without water.
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