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Bees setup in a strawhile bale


I can wear setting a hive back with a dud suggestion by a few weeks to get to the facts. I think from memory I did feed my bees 40 years ago when my mentor suggested it and recently found some info on the internet about it some did some more research. We have pollen and nectar all years here but the bees have taken to the unbleached wheat flour readily.
I work on the theory that bee’s don’t fly back from foraging empty, so if I see about 1 in 15 coming back with pollen I figure the rest are loaded with nectar, and that is a good figure that all is going well.
I had to smile about the wasp nest story, imagine trying to coax wasps into a bee hive. An easy to make mistake without seeing the nest, but it was so funny to read.
Cheers mate


Peter48, I, too, love reading your responses and suggestions. I thought the flour suggestion was really interesting. I also love the banter and off topic chat between you and JeffH. You guys don’t know it but you’re my mentors :):grinning:
Keep it up! Natalie


Thank you so much Natalie. That flour ‘trick’ was told and shown to me about 40 years ago by my mentor, and I am sure I did it for a few years in early Spring, according to my wife. I am now redoing the experiment.
Jeff is a real gentleman and a bit on the more traditional and environmental side of bee keeping. He supplies and sells nucs as a sideline and 6 months ago I bought 4 from him to add to my apiary. We don’t agree on everything we do for our bees but he is certainly thought provoking. He loves his interest in bees that comes across strong from him.
Thanks for the compliment
Regards Natalie (Mrs Matt?)


I too have enjoyed the discussion/banter about your unbleached flour suggestion. This started when I thought I was dealing with honeybees in a straw bale, not wasps. Although I won’t be discussing how to care for bees in a straw bale with my beek club tomorrow, I will be talking about using unbleached flour as a pollen substitute. I’ll let you know what I learn from my group of longtime beeks. Cheers.


Hi Peter. We are just seriously looking for a good Bee food and wherever one looks, it’s controversial. Asking questions is to clarify, not personal. Just trying to find out what is healthy for our little ones.
That’s the only reason for enqiring of your source of information and if it’s verified somewhere.
In the end, unbleached white flour is probably better than nothing. Same as soy flour, even if it clogs up their teeny guts.
There are commercial bee foods in Australia. Some use pollen from China. :scream::scream::tired_face:
We find it very hard to find trustworthy Bee food.
At the moment, while the bees go bonkers on pollen, we trap a day’s worth of pollen from some hives every fortnight and freeze them for the future.

Where you are, your bees can probably forage all year round, but up here in the National Park, we do get a serious dearth quite often.
So we are looking at recipes to keep our bees healthy, as we don’t migrate.
So the questions about wheat flour (unbleached) were to find out if it is an option or just hear say.
Hear say from old beekeepers is valuable, but as we had been advised, if bees roll around in anything pollen sized (flour), it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good for them.
And you are right, unbleached white flour has likely retained more of the bee beneficial amino acids that lack in most eucalyptus compared to bleached flour.
We are doing more research about this. Just thought you had more info.
Thanks for your suggestions.


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I’ve seen it fed in early spring here in the Deep South by large commercial bee keepers to stave off early spring starvation. I’ve put some out and the bees didn’t touch it by both home recipe and through a bee supplier. I might add my bees didn’t eat fondant eather. I figure if they eat it, they need it. But since I have all these foods I keep setting out just to see if it’s my timing or they’ve got ample stores. I mean what the heck right? I discovered bees like bananas last week. :joy::grinning::+1::raised_hands::honeybee::honeybee::honeybee::banana::banana::banana::honey_pot:


I am thinking the bees have their minds programed to forage for pollen on flowers but if there is a shortage of pollen then we need to look at alternatives, as good hive management or use the option of not feeding them and the result is less brood and a weaker hive.
If the bees are leaving it then they have ample pollen store and likely are foraging well for it.
I took the tops off my 3 experimental hives today having banana mashed on the tops of a couple of frames, it was covered in bees, I figure it must be of benefit to them and the colonies were not hot so for me that puts paid to what I was told by my mentor many years ago.


Banana seems like a fast easy food to feed when in a pinch too. And if it rids a problem in the hive then great.


Banana and flour, that’s sounding like a banana cake when you have some spare time on your hands.:grin: