Wednesday, March 19, 2014

What Is Going On In Maria's Apiary: Adding Pollen Patties

My apiary is covered with snow
Spring is almost here. It may not look like it, but underneath the covers, the bees are getting ready for Spring buildup. The ice is gone from the Maumee river and the maples are budded up.

I am looking at our long range weather forecast. The highs for the next couple of weeks are hovering in the mid 40s, well below the average temperatures for this time of year. The forecasts also calls for long stretches of snow or rain showers - a spell of cold and wet weather that can prevent my bees from building up on the maple pollen. You can find my bloom dates here:  http://www.donnellyfarmsohio.com/2013/10/how-to-maximize-your-honey-production_20.html
The ice is moving on the Maumee river
As you can see from the above, the maple buildup is approximately 42 to 49 days before the dandelion and the fruit tree blooms. Optimizing the bee populations for those blooms will allow me to make my increase and to secure a decent crop later in the summer on the basswood flow. 

At least that is the theory - I will keep you informed on how that pans out in reality as the season develops :D.

Since it does not look like the bees will have good flight weather for the maple bloom, I've decided to supplement with a pollen patty.

The maple tree is ready to bloom
For the past 3 months, I've been waiting for Randy Oliver @ScientificBeekeeping.com to publish his latest research on pollen supplements. Unfortunately, he seems to have run into some snags and the research has not been published as of this writing. So, I decided to go with Bee-Pro from MannLake. To mix it, I used Michael Palmer's pollen patty recipe of 25 lbs 2:1 sugar syrup and 10 lbs Bee-Pro.

Today I put those on my hives. It is still just under 50F and quite windy - I did not take the time to take pictures. The survivors are looking pretty good. I will share some pictures once our weather settles down a bit.

Meanwhile, drop me a note on your thoughts on patties! Do you use them and when? What brands do you prefer?

PS. Diana W., I got your message, but unfortunately there is a typo in your email address. I am using a queen rearing calendar to get the timing right. I will share it here on the blog when it is time to rear some good queens. I usually start my Fall queens on the 4th of July.