Dead-out help (&how to remove pollen manually from a cell?)

Hello dear beekeepers,
This year was my 1st year as a beekeeper and 3 weeks ago I lost my bees : (
I am still reading and looking to see what happened.
I am also cleaning all my frames and notice I have tons of pollen. Is there a simple way to remove the pollen from the cell? Thank you in advance for your response. :sunflower: :honeybee:

I’m not sure how best to store pollen frames but I imagine that wrapping them up and freezing might be a decent way to keep them for future use. There was this post a while back that might have some good info for you.

I am sorry to read you lost your bees it can be so disheartening, good luck figuring out what the cause was, I hope it wasn’t anything to major. Have a look here to help with autopsying the hive.

I was thinking about this yesterday, I dont have experience with removing pollen myself and when I was sorting out some cross comb in two frames, I put the loose comb propped up in the roof cavity and the bees cleaned it out in a few days. What came to mind is using these tools to possibly scrape out the pollen.

Look up skin extractor tools :grimacing: :sweat: :nauseated_face:


So sorry :slightly_frowning_face: I’ve been there and it is disheartening…hope you try again in spring!

Kieran’s post will help you learn more but the timing of your loss is suspicious for varroa. Many new beeks aren’t proficient with varroa management/treatment strategies as they’re already learning so much about plain beekeeping, and get a big bad surprise at the onset of fall weather when bee population has reduced in prep for winter - and mite population explodes. My first colony died in October, on the early side of a typical varroa-related die-out period through December for colonies in colder climates.

For your pollen question, I’d go with what Alok suggested and just freeze the entire frames. You’ll preserve the pollen stores for your next colony while killing off pest eggs that might be in there. If they won’t fit in your freezer you could cut the comb out neatly, put in freezer bags, and rubber band them back into the frames and your next colony will wax them back together.

Of course there are plenty of other pests & reasons for colony loss, sadly - but I thought I’d mention varroa because it fits the pattern, and it’s important to plan your strategy for next year :+1:

Send us pics of the frames and perhaps we can help you diagnose things.

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HI Kieran PI,
Great idea!! I have some of those tools. I used them on my sculptures. I will let you know how it went. Thanks

Hi Eva, Thank you.
I was looking at the pictures yesterday.

They had been attacked by wasps for quite some time. We help them by setting traps for the waps but they were too many. At the time I was told to check for varroa it got very cold, cloudy, and windy. By the time we checked, I had my queen and less than a hundred bees when.

Thank you for the Pests and Diseases page. I will read it again.

I think I had a Wax moth larva in the tray. I am attaching that picture.
Thank you for all your help.

Thank you chau06 for sharing

Thanks for posting the pics, very helpful. Varroa looks like the culprit to me. That’s what likely enabled the wasps to get the upper hand. Still might be good to get an entrance guard for your hive to help your next colony keep the wasps out since there seems to be a nest near you.

As a newbeek I would sometimes put off checking a colony because of weather too, but an article by Rusty Berlew really helped send the point home - better to lose a few bees or brood when you do the necessary mite check, treatment, feeding etc than to lose the whole colony from something preventable (or best we can make it!) :wink:

Couldn’t find the exact article I read some years ago, but here’s a link to Rusty’s blog - a great resource:

You are fortunate to be in an area so rich in bee resources and this issue of pollen storage in brood combs needs to be dealt with…especially in combs that have stretched/sagging cells that usually end up as drone comb. This will become a perennial problem for you. I remove pollen regularly even in perfectly built out comb…or I sell those pollen frames to other beekeepers.

My approach would be to replace those imperfect and/or pollen bound combs with new frames that have inserted double wax coated plastic foundation. Then you have the option to do the following:

I save this work for during the winter months. Frames are warmed up and scraped (hive tool will work) down to the foundation surface. The scrapings are stored in large sized baggies and feed back to the bees in early spring…just make sure hives are disease free.

I find that quite a few pollen bound frames can accumulate over a few years…often sitting unused in supers in a corner somewhere. I also suspect that the nutritional value of the uncapped cells of beebread decreases over time.