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During build-up and brood raising periods, a good hive needs almost a half a pound a day
of  honey and pollen!  A few pounds of protein fed one or twice is just not enough.

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 later when 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 bees 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!

Feeding your bees generously is the cheapest, most reliable way to be sure of having enough bees and good bees.  Why go through the worries of buying package bees or nucs as replacements when you could be splitting your own bees?  Feeding does not cost. It pays off in more bees and healthier bees.  Too many hives?  Just double up the extra colonies in fall.  The resulting hives winter really well.

Tests show that bees continue to eat Global patties and benefit even after natural pollen is available.  On cold, rainy and windy days and at night bees still need their protein.

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