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Saturday, July 18th, 2009
(From Allen Dick's Diary)

These patties were put on July 9th, 2009.  The pictures were taken on the 18th.  That was just over a week on the hives, and during a strong nectar and pollen flow.  There are hundreds of acres of clover, alfalfa and canola in full bloom all around these hives. (see the entrance activity in a typical hive, below).

Many people think that bees won't eat patties when there is honey and pollen coming in.  Here is the proof that they will eat good, fresh patties.

These are Global standard patties with 15% pollen -- that was what happened to be handy -- but these bees would be eating patties even without pollen, but probably not as quickly.

Consider that what I gave these hives -- and the almost two pounds that some splits ate in a week -- is as much or more than many beekeepers put on their hives in a whole year!

Keeping in mind that some of these hives are temporarily queenless, and some quite small, take a look at the consumption.  Note that one hive ate most of two patties already!  Another is just nibbling around the edges.  I took these pictures at random and did not open more than the first few hives I came to.  I was not wearing a veil or using smoke.  One of the pictures shows why I should have used a smoker last time I peeked.  Note the bees trapped and dead on top of the patties.  I normally smoke them down a little before closing.

The point here is that bees will eat good patties at any time of year.  When it rains, at night, and when it is windy, patties benefit the hives and keep them building.  Weaker hives especially benefit.

Less tangible, but very real, is the improved health and robustness of the bees and the improved wintering that comes after a season of patty feeding. 

For that you'll have to take my word, or try it yourself.

An Afterthought, Written After the First Killer Frost - October 3rd

These 34 splits were made on July 3rd from 18 splits that were in turn made previously on May 17th from an original 9 overwintered hives.  None of them were given queens.  They had to raise their own.

Most splits continued to eat a pound a week (approx) all summer and a pallet of four, chosen at random went onto a platform scale and produced nearly 90 lbs each in the one month I had them on the scale at the end of the summer!

That calculates out to roughly 360 lbs for each original overwintered hive during the time I measured, and I only thought to measure during the last month as summer ended.  They had already produced quite a bit of honey I did not measure.

I think patty feeding pays.

Click any picture for a better view

Not much left

2 lbs - almost gone in a week

You can tell where the brood is

Not as hungry - Maybe weak?

Average hive - good for another week

You can see where the brood is

A double that has been split twice.

Hundreds of acres in bloom.  Canola & alfalfa, plus some clover and wildflowers

Alfalfa Bloom.  Heavy flow. Very fragrant

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