Here is a hive loaded
with patties on
March 10 , 2010
Here is the same hive
eleven days later
Some hives, the best
ones, eat even more.
This one had four patties only eleven days ago
In spring, honey and pollen
are converted into
brood and young bees to replace the old, overwintered adults
which are quickly nearing the end of their lives.
This brood is the future of the colony
and the surviving adult bees invest everything they have
into that brood, including -- if they must -- using up the
protein from their own bodies.
If these new young bees receive adequate
nourishment, they will be
healthy and well-nourished and the colony will build up
fully and quickly.
Each developing bee needs a constant protein
supply for almost six weeks in order to develop
properly. The developing larvae
receive protein in their jelly feed for 6 days. Then,12 days
they emerge as adults they must eat protein
during the next 18 days to complete their growth into strong
adults -- and to feed more larvae.
If protein is available when needed, your
will be strong and long-lived and
raise good brood, but if protein is lacking at any point
during that six weeks, some brood will either fail to develop or
become weaker, stunted adults. If they suffer from mite predation, the
outlook is even worse.
In a protein-starved colony we see eggs
and some small larvae, but that
brood is torn out again and again because it is underfed,
leaving only small
amounts of patchy sealed brood. When protein is provided, we
soon see a good brood pattern.
Feeding a patty or two and then stopping
before natural pollen is available in the field every day
means taking big chances with the future of the colony. It
makes a promise that is not kept and can weaken your bees by
making them invest in new brood that needs feeding.
The best plan is to put on more
patties than the bees will need immediately, and make sure the
bees never come even close to running out until the flowers are
blooming and the weather is settled -- and you see an arc of
fresh pollen around each patch of brood.
Check queens the easy way, without pulling frames
and examining brood!
Simply smoke the bees
down lightly and place
patties in the centre of the cluster, within two
inches of the brood. A week or
more later, the amount of patty which has been eaten
is a good indication of how much brood is being
raised & colony condition!