Archive for the ‘Supplemental Feeding’ Category

Make your own pollen patty

It’s a well known fact that honeybees need pollen just as much as they need nectar to thrive.  If you want your population to build quickly and produce a surplus of honey it’s a good idea to feed them in the early spring.  Not only sugar syrup, but also a pollen substitute or supplement.  There is a dazzling array of options out there, and readily available from every beekeeping supply store.  Pollen is generally fed in patty or dry form.  By far the most common is the patty form.  They are easy to apply to the hive and you can walk away from them and not worry about it.  There aren’t many downsides to feeding pollen patties.  If the bees don’t need the extra pollen, they’ll just ignore it.  About the only negative I can think of, other than the cost, is that small hive beetles like to hide under the patty and you could be providing a safe harbor for them.  For most beekeepers that’s not a major concern.

Pollen patties are actually very easy to  make yourself and a bit more economical than buying them as well.  The hardest part of making them may be finding the ingredients!   There are dozens of recipes available on the web, but here’s what I used:

1.5 cups soybean flour

1.5 cups sugar

.5 cups brewers yeast

1/4 cup honey

2 tsp Honey B Healthy

Left to Right Ingredient List: Brewer's Yeast, Soybean Flour, Sugar, Honey, Honey B Healthy

It’s probably worth noting that I also brew beer so the brewers yeast you seen in the glass jug is leftover yeast from a recent brew.  If you don’t brew beer you’ll need to buy some brewers yeast, generally available at health food stores (look at the same place you look for the soybean flour), or better yet start brewing beer!

It will be stiff and that’s ok.  Add a little more honey if you can’t seem to get it pliable.  But be careful you want if more stiff than not.  Note: If you are using dried brewers yeast you will likely need more honey or a few drops of water.  The moisture in my recycled brewers yeast largely eliminated the need for any additional wet ingredients from my batch.

After your happy with the consistency you simple press some between waxed paper.  They should be stored in the freezer if not adding to a hive immediately.

Here is a pollen patty just pressed between some wax paper.

All that’s left is to trim the excess wax paper and add to the hive.  I usually peel the wax paper off one side of the patty before placing the hive to let the bees have more access to the patty. One last thought, these need to be placed immediately adjacent to the brood rearing area of the hive.  If the pollen patty is more than a few inches away the bees aren’t as likely to utilize the patty.  Generally speaking if you just place dead center across the top of your frames you’ll be fine, since that’s almost always where the brood rearing is taking place.