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Author Topic: Winter feeding with pollen patches and fondant  (Read 362 times)

Offline FlexMedia.tv

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Winter feeding with pollen patches and fondant
« on: October 20, 2017, 10:05:24 am »
Good morning!
I'm in Michigan and I plan to wrap my two hives. Last year I didn't feed. I just left a bunch of honey in there. This year I have fondant and pollen patches. My strong hive has plenty of honey. My weak hive has none. Fondant didn't come with instructions. Pollen patch says to lay it on top and close. I'm guessing I only feed once then wrap for the winter? I'm also guessing I'll add one of each to each hive?
Thanks!
Art
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Offline Codford

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Re: Winter feeding with pollen patches and fondant
« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2017, 07:52:55 pm »
UK here (near Stonehenge).  We generally reserve pollen feeding for early Spring in order to give them a boost in raising new brood.  Fondant can be added at anytime over the Winter - usually when stores are running low and the hives start feeling a bit light.  We "heft" our hives over here, or use a baggage scale, to get an idea of the rate at which the bees are getting through their stores.  Hefting:
?The only time I ever believed that I knew all there was to know about beekeeping was the first year I was keeping them. Every year since I?ve known less and less and have accepted the humbling truth that bees know more about making honey than I do.?
― Sue Hubbell, A Book of Bees: And How to Keep Them

Online sawdstmakr

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Re: Winter feeding with pollen patches and fondant
« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2017, 08:53:14 pm »
Bees do not need pollen to survive the winter. They use it to feed brood. They will store it in the fall so that they have it ready for when they start raising brood before the flowers start to bloom.
I know that where you are you probably do not have a lot of SHBs but if you have any, the beetles will lay their in the pollen and then you could have thousands of larvae in your hive.
Here in the south, if we have to feed pollen parties, we can only give them a one inch square piece at a time and if they do not eat it right away, we have to remove it within a couple of days.
Jim
"If you don't read the newspaper you are uninformed.  If you do read the newspaper you are misinformed."--Mark Twain

Offline cao

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Re: Winter feeding with pollen patches and fondant
« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2017, 09:07:30 pm »
I feed my light hives sugar bricks that I make.  They are about 1" thick and about 6" in diameter.  I put a 1" shim/spacer between the top box and inner cover to provide the necessary space for the bricks.  Then I just set them on top of the frames.  I try to wait until it is cold enough that they are clustering most of the time then pick a warm day to add the bricks.  In you case, if you wrap your hives in a way that you still can access the hive than you can add the fondant whenever there is a warm enough day to get in to the top of the hive.  I will usually check on them when there is a warm enough day during the winter and early spring to see if I need to add any more.  I don't use pollen patties but if I did I would wait until after you had some freezing weather to lessen the chance of trouble with SHB.

P.S. After I open the hives during the winter I will tape the seam between the top box and inner cover with painters tape in case they can't get the propolis sealed again.

Hope this helps some.

Offline Bruce

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Re: Winter feeding with pollen patches and fondant
« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2017, 09:42:51 pm »
You have received great answers that pollen is to enhance brood production prior to the spring honey flow (8 weeks prior). Not necessary but optional. You say you have some honey but the question is how much? What are your winter honey requirements in your area? An experienced local will tell you. I have 3 bee yards now and each has a different winter honey food need (i.e 60 lbs or 10 deep frames in Vancouver). I only feed if necessary which can be in late winter for us (February-April) when I check on the food supplies. Good luck.

Offline FlexMedia.tv

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Re: Winter feeding with pollen patches and fondant
« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2017, 07:10:41 pm »
UK here (near Stonehenge).  We generally reserve pollen feeding for early Spring in order to give them a boost in raising new brood.  Fondant can be added at anytime over the Winter
Thanks for the reply!
See my blog and watch me bumble through starting hives:

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Offline FlexMedia.tv

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Re: Winter feeding with pollen patches and fondant
« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2017, 07:12:03 pm »
Bees do not need pollen to survive the winter.

Oh oh...
See my blog and watch me bumble through starting hives:

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Offline FlexMedia.tv

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Re: Winter feeding with pollen patches and fondant
« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2017, 07:21:52 pm »
CAO,
That's a good tip. Last time I opened the little Mason's sealed it shut.

Bruce,
Most of the frames in the super are full. Didn't know if I should add more since this is year two and I haven't had a hive survive a winter yet, not really knowing what happen since they didn't eat any of the honey.
See my blog and watch me bumble through starting hives:

http://beekeeper.flexmedia.tv/

Retired State Trooper. Part time Beekeeper. If you ever see me run, Run!