Protein feeders

Looking to consistently improve how I keep bees is one of my long range goals. I find the quandary of small hive beetle control and the need to feed pollen substitute are at odds with each other. To get young bees earlier, I have been feeding pollen patties starting in late February. I’ve had long conversations with other bee keepers about the merits of this and one thing that keeps coming up is that small hive beetle ramp up around the same time and lay eggs in the pollen patties. To help resolve this challenge, I built simple feeders using plastic pipe. I purchased pollen substitute in powder form. Last week I placed feeders in the yards not expecting much bee activity because of cooler temperatures.

Today I checked and was surprised to find that most of the protein powder was gone. The feeders have ½” hardware cloth keeping out mice and birds so my first trial turned out to be successful. I’ll refill and check bee activity on a warm day but it looks like the plan is a good one. The Maple trees are starting to break open so natural pollen should be available soon. The bees and I much prefer natural pollen.