pollen sub recipes

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by Mama Beek, Jan 19, 2011.

  1. Mama Beek

    Mama Beek New Member

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    It can be so confusing to try to feed bees sometimes! There are a million different mixes, special recipes, and so on. I've probably collected at least two dozen different recipes for pollen substitute but we ended up combining a few different ones to use and it seems to work well for us. (maybe we should have a bee recipe sticky?)

    4 cups brewers yeast
    1 cup soy flour
    1/4 cup milk powder
    1 cup sugar
    1/2 teaspoon vitamin C powder

    Blend all together to mix well. I just throw mine in the blender and whir it around for a little bit. Gradually blend in syrup to make a thick dough and form into whatever shape suits you. We put ours in between the lids from yogurt containers (like a sandwich) and when it comes time to put them on the hives we just take the top lid off and set the bottom lid on top of the frames in the hive.

    I've read about all kinds of different essential oils and such to add to them as well and I guess to each his own. Right now I don't want to mess with it and take a chance on getting robbing started.

    I've also read about chamomile tea, powdered citrus peels, and different herbal infusions but right now I thought the bees have enough to deal with without introducing so many things all at once so early in the season.

    I would be very interested in reading what y'all are doing!

    It's been pointed out on this board that you shouldn't feed pollen or pollen sub unless you are going to feed syrup as well and continue to do so until you get the spring flow action going.
     
  2. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Now try leaving the syrup out and placing a bowl of the same recipe out in the yard on a sunny day. Let them take it dry. Then you don't have to worry about SHB
     

  3. Mama Beek

    Mama Beek New Member

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    Thanks Iddee, I was wondering if the bees would take it as well dry for that very reason!
     
  4. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    Iddee writes:
    Now try leaving the syrup out

    tecumseh:
    I would think with field feeding you would want to leave the suger in???

    to mamabeek:
    does the milk powder contain lactose?

    if it were me I would simplify the mix and just use ingredient 1 and 2 and add suger to get them to take it up quickly. I would be more likely to add vitamin B than vitamin C.

    in the past one of my barest bones receipts was 1 part real pollen cut with 1 part defatted soy flower and 1 part sugar. then I toss in just enough water to make the blend stick together.
     
  5. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Dry sugar, yes.
    Liquid anything, no.
     
  6. Mama Beek

    Mama Beek New Member

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    yes, the milk powder does have lactose but it's a reduced lactose brand. I had read at this link: http://entomology.ucdavis.edu/faculty/M ... Pollen.pdf about the lactose and thought it would be better to use the reduced kind ( I know lactose free would be best, but sometimes you work with what you have). I was actually considering leaving it out altogether but read another page (can't find the link right now but will keep looking) that the protein and b vitamin benefits from the retained whey would outweigh the negative effects of low lactose milk. I admit that I should probably have left it out but I tend to be a little bit on the cautiously experimental side of things.

    I was amazed at the amount of information available online about the formulation of pollen sub recipes though. I have found so much that I've managed to give myself a heavy dose of information overload! This was a pretty interesting article though: http://www.ibra.org.uk/articles/20090217_11

    Here's one about the toxicity of various carbohydrates in the pollen subs. http://www.culturaapicola.com.ar/apunte ... dratos.pdf it seems that the dilution of the toxic carbs is a definite key.

    As far as the Vitamin C goes..... I had read several articles that indicated that vitamin C is essential for brood rearing and is a large component of natural pollen. I had also read that ascorbic acid aka vitamin C will increase the acceptability of the pollen subs to the bees. Also because of it's antioxidant values it will delay the decline of available nutrition in the pollen sub. It is in a very small amount though because it's acidic and I don't want to further upset the bee's digestion. This article specifically addresses the benefits of feeding vitamin C (in ascorbic acid forms) to honey bees http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1 ... 4/abstract

    About the B vitamins..... I was pretty sure that most of the B vitamin needs would be addressed via the brewers yeast and I have not found a B vitamin powder that isn't filled with gelatins and so on that is affordable and I had no clue in what amounts to add it if I did have some. :(

    I am hoping to get a pollen catcher (or a few) made or bought to put on the hives.... it will certainly simplify feeding, plus if we're lucky we can use some ourselves :)
     
  7. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    great post Mama Beek I can understand why you mentioned information overload in your comments. it is quite evident you did your homework. hats off to ya'.

    Mama Beek writes:
    I am hoping to get a pollen catcher (or a few) made or bought to put on the hives.... it will certainly simplify feeding, plus if we're lucky we can use some ourselves

    tecumseh:
    I bought a bunch of those yellow and brown plastic pollen traps that you afix to the front door of the hive and they not only work well but are inexpensive. Once or two strong hives and you can capture a lot of pollen in the early part of the season. Do no buy one of those fancy and expensive bottom traps since (my experience) if you miss a day collecting they become excellent habitat to rear shb, wax worm, and every other kind of nasty since all the debris from above falls directly into the trap.

    and finally to Iddee... why no liquid?
     
  8. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    :why no liquid?:

    In the cold, they don't take it.
    In the heat, SHB love it.
     
  9. Mama Beek

    Mama Beek New Member

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    tecumseh:
    I bought a bunch of those yellow and brown plastic pollen traps that you afix to the front door of the hive and they not only work well but are inexpensive. Once or two strong hives and you can capture a lot of pollen in the early part of the season. Do no buy one of those fancy and expensive bottom traps since (my experience) if you miss a day collecting they become excellent habitat to rear shb, wax worm, and every other kind of nasty since all the debris from above falls directly into the trap.

    Mama Beek: Thanks a bunch Tec!! I was planning on asking which ones work well and why.

    Iddee: BB set out a bowl of just the powdered ingredients mixed with dry sugar..... I'm hoping to see how well the bees take each just for experiments sake (and to help Little Man and XLB with some graphing assignments for math).
     
  10. rast

    rast New Member

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    And besides that, if you get warm weather, it will sour and start to stink.