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How much pollen ?


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Very little for me, yet there is still some gorse/broom around. Most of it seems to be dark, so perhaps off fruit trees.

I'm having to feed too as the honey reserves are going down not up. Signs on the student hives last week of the risk of starvation for those that weren't fed.

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You guys are frightening me. My hives still have capped honey so I figured they would be fine without feeding at the moment. There seems to be quite a lot of pollen coming in as well, except that the weather has been so wet and then so windy that they can't get out as much as they should. But it's my first year with hives at home, so I can't compare. Our berry bushes and fruit trees are covered in much more fruit this year, which I put down to my hard-working girls.

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I dont think you can call it generally. Each hive is different. My hives at home, some 3km from school are in a better situation and I know hives closer to the city are overflowing with honey at the moment, so its definitely not something you can call on a provincial scale let alone a national one.

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Marcia, do you have uncapped larvae in the hive or has your hive recently swarmed and re-queened? I ask because you will notice an increase in packed pollen stored around the hive whenever the hive goes through a broodless period. Nurse bees feed pollen to larvae and the foragers will keep bringing it in regardless. If there are no larvae to eat it, the pollen will be packed into frames for later use. My bees bring pollen in all year round and I often replace at least one frame of densely packed pollen in each hive each spring. Pollen tends to mouldy over winter and the bees need the space.

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DSCF0204.JPG.95b086477d8b8479d33dd8c93d553563.JPG I have been feeding syrup for the last month but not pollen as supplies seem to be holding,plenty of both around as this caggage tree shows,just a case of getting out to harvest,they say a heavy flowering cabbage tree means a dry hot summer.... roll on that.
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Not much in my country hives. As ChrisNZ said, the only hives that have any sort of stores are the broodless ones. However I'm putting the general lack of food in mine down to the rubbish weather we've had so far. Little flying time means they are sitting at home feeding all their stores to the brood without replenishing.

 

I'm considering feeding Feed Bee, however it's a beautiful sunny day today, so I'll watch the front of the hives and see what is coming in.

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it is becoming more and more popular to feed pollen substitutes and in some areas they can be useful but certainly where I am it is very rare for hives to be seriously short of pollen. If you place a pollen trap on a strong hive you will soon see just how much pollen hives bring in , it's a lot more on a good day than a few pollen patties. As long as there is some pollen stored around the brood there should be no need to feed any substitute. it is one of the main reasons for running hives in two broodboxes as there is more area for them to store pollen. brood boxes are not just for brood . I never worry about so-called pollen bound frames , a healthy queen will use up eventually. I once had some hives that came out of Apple pollination absolutely choked with pollen and three weeks later after unrelenting bad weather they were starting to die from lack of pollen. That was the only time in over 40 years beekeeping that I have seen hives suffering really badly from lack of pollen. Usually it is just a temporary problem that the bees will rectify on the first one-day.

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My hives are in city. There is always some pollen of some sort coming in. During spring all hives bring in a lot of pollen. But they use it up pretty fast in spring. You can see the rapid conversion of pollen into brood in spring in most of the hives with a good queen and bees.

 

I have one to three frames of pollen in my Italian hives usually going into winter and they use it during winter months or at spring build up. Never seen pollen been thrown out of them.

 

I have seen carniolans storing up a lot more pollen in the frames going into winter(4 to 5 frames) and not using the old stock as new pollen is available. They basically pull the old pollen out and you can see it as small pellets in front of the hives. I think its because the carniolans dont have a very strong populaton in winter. So the pollen is not always covered with bees and it may have gone bad. Not sure about it though.

 

Even during winter months there is some pollen coming in on fine days.

 

Both Italians and Carniolans bring in a lot of pollen of all different types during spring. Italians start bringing in large quantities of pollen around a week or two before they carniolans do. But once carniolans start they are also very good at collecting pollen and they do it a bit more during summer months than italians. I would say bees coming in with pollen in late spring comapared to Italians and carniolans will be a 7:10 ratio. Just my observation. It could also be to do with the development time of the colonies.

 

I have seen hives going honey bound but not pollen bound. Even if they have a lot of pollen during spring or summer and when I inspect they look pollen bound, they have a reason to collect a lot of pollen. They usually turn it into brood very fast or eat it. Never seen queen running out of room because of pollen in the hive. They consume it very fast.

 

Personally I dont like to feed my bees. Never been a fan of feeding anything. I have always left a 3/4 size box of honey on all hives to winter with and they seem to collect enough pollen as they need. Never had a hive suffer from pollen deficiency. Bees building up on stored honey and natural pollen develop much better than bees building up on sugar syrup and pollen substitutes. Thats what I think anyway. May not be the case for others.

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I had a look today as there was lots of activity in the afternoon sunshine, but not much of any pollen coming in. Even the dark types were not noticeable. I did however see the girls scrabbling over a little clump of clover, so perhaps that was producing in the fine temps. Rain expected again tomorrow, so perhaps another week of feeding.

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