Bees: Feeding Pollen in Early Spring

For my bee-keeping friends (all two of them, I think) ~ Linne

Urban Overalls

Early spring marks an unsettling time for beekeepers.  The weather can fluctuate between winter conditions to a gorgeous short-sleeve type of day.  We worry.  Have the bees survived the last round of cold weather?  Is the hive strong?  Are enough plants blooming to provide food for the brood and the rest of the colony?

commercially available pollen substitute commercially available pollen substitute

Now while we can’t control the weather or how strong the hive is at the beginning of spring, we can give our hives a helping hand.  Namely, we can provide pollen so the colony has a protein source.

According to The Beekeeper’s Handbook 4th Edition by Diana Sammataro and Alphonse Avitabile,  “Beekeepers feed bees pollen, pollen supplements and pollen substitutes to initiate, sustain, and increase brood rearing.”  And as experienced beekeeper’s know, the queen begins laying eggs in late winter, which can be late January through February.  At this time of year…

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9 thoughts on “Bees: Feeding Pollen in Early Spring

  1. The Bees have been brought out early here with the Sun last week… Lots of Big bumble bees.. We were lucky to have two nests last year in the garden. Plus one under the shed in the allotment… I also saw several very early butterflies… Now we are in for another cold snap again.. So its tough out there for our insect world..

    • Nice you already have bees out; we have a pair of pigeons scouting our balcony for a nesting spot. We would be evicted if we fed them, unfortunately. Wish I could, though; it’s so nice to have ‘livestock’ of any sort . . .

      Nice you have an allotment, too. Wish we had them here. Something I could walk to would be nice; even nicer if the weather permitted growing closer to year-round like on the Island . . .

      I worry about plants and wild things when the weather yo-yos like that. Hard on things when they think it’s spring and then it isn’t . . .

  2. Our bees don’t need any extra pollen, they are weighed down with the stuff thanks to my pumpkins refusing to stop flowering. I wonder what pumpkin honey tastes like?!!! 😉

    • That is good to hear, Narfie; I never thought of pumpkin honey. I suspect you would have to grow acres of them first . . . and then the possums and quolls would die of a surfeit of pumpkin . . . 🙂

      • You should have seen how many pumpkin flowers (male and female) there were on my patch! I couldn’t believe it. The place was thronging with regular European bees as well as fat little bumblebees all buzzing about in a most excited manner and it makes me smile :). The European bees come from about 300 metres to the rear of my garden where an elderly man keeps bees and has an apiary. Steve hates honey and I don’t eat it as a vegan so we don’t buy it from him but his bees will be producing a most peculiar flavour this year methinks 😉

      • “Steve hates honey”??? What’s up with that? Oh, well, we all have our . . . ‘stuff’ . . . I like him anyway . . . sigh
        You might take your camera along to that neighbour’s one time and share a pic with the rest of us . . . hint, hint . . .

        If he put some cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, etc., into his honey as he bottled it, he could maybe sell it as ‘Pumpkin Pie, Honey!”

      • That neighbour isn’t actually a neighbour…more across the road at the back of Glad’s property and he isn’t a nice man. He has hens and ducks and geese and doesn’t look after them and they are constantly being killed on the road :(. Steve has never liked honey, hates rhubarb, isn’t a fan of maple syrup and would be a perfect person to have with you if your stocks were dwindling, much like me with the meat stocks 😉

      • Oh, too bad about the neighbour. How come awful people so often have animals/birds etc.? I’d be tempted to kidnap them . . .
        I love honey and rhubarb (rhubarb pie). Not a fan of maple syrup??? What’s up with that? I’ll have to post about how my FES made his own from our large maple tree (not a sugar maple, but was edible, anyway). You are so right, though. Hmmm . . . Steve gets the meats and Narfie gets the goodies!

      • Sounds like a good plan to me ;). I like rhubarb raw dipped into raw sugar how my grandmother used to serve it up to us as kids (before telling us to “now bugger off and play you lot!” 😉 ). I like honey but don’t use it as it is very expensive here now. We have a sugar maple in the ground now and hopefully it grows. We won’t be able to make maple syrup as it doesn’t get cold enough here to do so but the autumnal colours are magnificent and worth the tree for its own sake 🙂

Thanks for stopping by my blog! I look forward to reading your comments. ~ Linne

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