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February 22, 2009

Homemade pollen substitute recipe patties

Just to clarify a point. Pollen substitute patties have NO pollen in them.  Pollen supplement patties HAVE pollen in them.

Here is Al's of Garden View homemade bee pollen substitute patties recipe (no pollen):

1.5 cups (8oz.) fat-free soy flour
1.5 cups (12oz.) granulated sugar 
.5 cup (1oz.) Brewer’s yeast 
1.5 cups (12oz.) Sugar Syrup (2:1) or your honey 
NOTE: You can also use regular soy flour. Add water as needed to mix. In very warm climates it may be necessary to add an oil to prevent drying.

Mix dry ingredients together.  Then add dry mix slowly to syrup/honey until mixture is like stiff bread dough. Press between wax paper. Place bee patty over cluster with wax paper up.

Pollen Patty recipes

To make 24 (1 lb) patties:
0.5 kg pollen - or more (800 ml or 3.3 cups)
2.5 kg hot water (2.5 l or 10.6 cups)
5.0 kg white sugar (5.3 l or 22.5 cups)
4.0 kg brewer's yeast (6 l or 25.5 cups)
(plus up to 600g or 900ml extra yeast as nec.)

To make 6 (1 lb) patties:
0.125 kg pollen (200 ml or 0.8 c)
0.625 kg hot water (815 ml or 2.6 c.)
1.25 kg sugar (1.4 l or 5.6 c.)
1.0 kg brewer's yeast (1.5 l or 6.3c.)
(+ up to125g or 225ml more yeast)

Why should you feed?
Many beekeepers can easily tell if their hives have stores of honey.  But what is usually missed going into winter and in pre-spring is pollen stores. Without stores of pollen adult bees become weak and there is little to feed the winter brood or available for the spring build up. As a added bonus, bees in pollen or protein rich hives live longer, sometimes as much as 15 days longer.  This adds to the overall hive health and the ability to produce and care for more bees both in winter and at spring buildup.

How much pollen or patties do you need?
As a rule of thumb, one kilogram of pollen is needed for every one kilogram of bees (9,000 - 10,000 bees). Near the same amount is needed in patties. Once you start supplying patties you must continue until natural pollen is available or the hive will decline and/or collapse.  WARNING! SHBs will eat patties also, if they do you need another plan such as outside feeding (see below). SHB have been known to lay eggs in all types of patties.  Check often for larva.
How are patties working for you?  Let others know what you have learned below.

Where to place your pollen substitute patties.
In mid-February, remove hive cover and smoke the bees down below the top bars. The patty, flattened into a cake about l.5 cm (l/2 inch) thick, should be placed on the top bars directly over the center of the cluster. IT MUST BE PLACED WITHIN INCHES OF THE BROOD TO BE EFFECTIVE. This leaves the upper box available for grease patties and so on.

How to use the pollen patty.
The top of the cake must be covered with waxed paper to prevent dehydration and hardening of the patty.  The inner cover, when used, should be inverted with rim side down to provide space for the cake.  New cakes should be added before the previous cakes are consumed. Feeding patties at seven to ten day intervals is generally satisfactory. Package bees should be fed in the same manner.
Note: When natural pollen is available and the weather is suitable for foraging, the colony will not use the pollen substitute or supplement patties. However, in early spring and during any dearth periods, pollen supplements and substitutes will be readily taken up by the bees.

Other forms of food.
You can also make the supplement food in a thick liquid (like a milk shake) and pour into a in-hive division feeder.  This allows more food to be available and with less manipulation.  It is ideal for hives in more remote areas.

There has been discussions on feeding other supplements (vitamins and oils) to bees.  A good analysis of about bee feeding, courtesy of our brothers down-under is here.  You make the call.

Need to make a lot? Say 306 pounds?  Look here.

You can also:
Place open but protected containers of dry rye meal/flour or soybean meal/flour nearby and the bees in early spring will consume it.  Bee supplement powders such as Feedbee, Bee-pro or Megabee can also be used.  Feedbee is taken well by the bees.  You can ready a report on them here.  Once pollen is available, usually the bees stop taking these open products.

Bees will also consume some salt early in the season. Try placing some on a rock nearby.

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