-Posted by Isaac
Silly bees, pollen is for kids.
Yes we take a little pollen every fall. And yes, the bees need it. So we don't take very much.
But it's so dang delicious and nutritious. And sells for such high $. And and it gives our crazy-like-a-fox three year old some moments of entertainment. ("I'm a wolf!")
Especially the post-cleaning pollen dust. She loves this stuff.
And if you mix the dust with a little sugar, you can feed it right back to the bees.
Just a touch of sugar.
Pollen is the bees' source of protein. They need it! More so than carbohydrates (nectar) this time of year. They are trying to build rapidly to catch the spring nectar flow and hopefully, instinctually, throw a swarm in May. They say the queen is laying some 1500 eggs per day. I've never watched to make sure, but it really does seem like she's busy. The March growth is amazing!
And when our queens get busy, we get busy. It's time to feed protein! Actually, this post may be a little late. It was time to feed protein three weeks ago. With the return of the warm weather, I'm seeing plenty of willow and dead nettle pollen coming in.
Unfortunately we don't have enough real pollen dust to cover our protein needs, so we buy a lot of artificial pollen dust. Here are the magic ingredients:
Some years I'm lazy and buy a lot of pre-made protein patties. They look a lot like the winter sugar patties, but are about twice as expensive.
This year I spared myself that costly convenience, and one fine rainy day I mixed hundreds of pounds of protein supplement.
When you mix, you need buckets or tupperware or something to hold all this sloppy stuff. I don't like to use our normal liquid feeding buckets or, heaven forbid, our nice honey buckets because of all the washing involved later. So luckily I still have some old condom buckets lying around.
So once this stuff is mixed and ready, we simply take it out to the bees. It can be squeezed between the brood boxes, or if your winter spacers are still on, you just put some protein on top in combo with the sugar patties.
It's not BRAWNDO, but it's got what bees crave!
We're looking for muscle bees here!
The results speak for themselves.
Like my beekeeper friend Dan Williams said last week, "They're about to blow a gasket!"
(That was about his bees.)
Sometimes I think we pump them up too strong. Hives growing this fast in March just means we have to work that much harder and faster to keep up.
See all that burr comb on the cover? That will soon be solid drone comb.
And soon after all those drones emerge, we will be solidly into swarm season.