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Feeding pollen patties with Flow Frames on?


#1

Hello! I am a beekeeper in Washington state in the US.
I wonder if any of you feed your bees pollen patties while your flow super is in place?
I have two deep brood boxes with the flow super on top, separated by a queen excluder.
Beekeepers in my area have started feeding their bees pollen patties - as it seems to be a time of dearth. I worry that some of that some of the pollen patty would end up stored in the flow frames.
What is your experience?

Also - do any of you remove your flow frames for the winter and substitute with a feeder in the top box?
Thank you very much.
Mary Margaret


#2

Yes. My Flow super came off in early August. I have double deep boxes for brood, so I haven’t fed yet, but the hive weight is dropping, so I will inspect and probably feed this weekend.

As you can see, they are dropping by about 1.5lb per week. Our nectar flow stopped at the beginning of July, so they have consumed about 10lb of stores since then - so it is probably a good time to top up with some unripe honey that I took off when I removed the Flow super.

I would only feed pollen substitute if the hive doesn’t have enough in the frames already. One of my hives has 3 frames of pollen, and this is plenty to last until spring. I would take the Flow super off before feeding pollen substitute.


#3

Thank you so much Dawn_SD!
Do you empty your flow frames before storing them? Do you freeze them for the winter, or just keep them sealed in plastic bags?
I will follow your lead.
Mary Margaret


#4

Yes, I harvested them before storing. I tested the honey (most of it was uncapped for the last harvest) with a honey refractometer ($30 to $40 from Amazon). Two frames were 18% water or less, so I kept those for us. The remaining 4 frames had almost 2 gallons of unripe honey with 22 to 25% water. That is sitting in the freezer and I will give it back to hive I took it from over Fall and Winter. Saves me from making up feed, and probably more nutritious than syrup for the bees too! :wink:

I wrapped the Flow frames in cling wrap, and froze them for 48 hours to kill off any wax moth larvae. Then I put them into a tightly-sealed contractors’ black plastic trash bag (big, thick and strong, protects from light and stops wax moths from finding them again) and put them in the garage until next Spring. You could leave them in the freezer all winter, if you have space. I don’t so I took them out. :blush:


#5

Thanks again!
I appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions.


#6

@Mary_Margaret_Briggs Make sure your frames are absolutely dry or you will have lots of mould. I did as Dawn did but with too much moisture and I spent a couple days with an angry dishwasher (the mechanical one) cleaning them up.
Next year I will do as I have them now: sitting in the flow super which is completely wrapped and sealed by two layers of shade cloth and stored in shed. Air can circulated through the frames but wax moths can’t get in.


#7

Good advice! Thank you very much, @busso!