Honeyflow.com | FAQ's |

No pollen coming in

Hi everyone,

My new colony is busting, Queen laying and honey super coming along nicely but observing the landing board not many bees coming in with pollen so I’m at a crossroads as what to do.

As the honey super is on feeding a pollen substitute isn’t something I’d normally do and with the stores of honey and pollen in the brood am I over thinking it or do you have some advise I should look at.

Thanks in advance.

Dean

3 Likes

If your hive has about one frame of pollen, they should be fine. I have never fed pollen this far into the season. January/February yes, but by May, they should have plenty. I bet they will have a frame and a half by now.

You are not overthinking it, you are just being a responsible beekeeper. :wink:

2 Likes

Thanks Dawn. Last check there was plenty. I’m due to inspect this Friday/Sat.

It’s my colony that made it through last winter so probably just over thinking it.

Maybe I need new glasses :nerd_face::rofl::rofl:

2 Likes

I sympathise with you Dean. :smile: I too, even after years of keeping bees, often miss pollen frames when doing an inspection, particularly if there is newly drawn comb in the hive. The paler coloured pollen is sometimes difficult to spot. Quite often I’m stood looking at a frame thinking “is that pollen”. I noticed today that my bees were not bringing in much pollen, but knew when I inspected at the weekend they had at least 1 full frame of pollen. I suspect mine are just going nuts at the moment bringing in nectar with a full on flow happening here.

2 Likes

Hi Gaz, hope you don’t mind me calling you that :blush:.

Aye I’m hoping that’s the case when I inspect next. Best colony I’ve had so really looking out for any signs of trouble.

Stay safe bud

2 Likes

You could try a pattie and if they go for it then they need it. As your into Summer there should be pollen about but it depends on your area and climate to some extent.
I find here at any time of the year about 30% of the bees returning to the hive are carrying pollen and there is no shortage of it. It seems my bees don’t know when enough is enough and part of my hive management is taking frames of pollen out of the hives.
Your not overthinking, you are doing good management and monitoring the conditions.
Cheers Dean

1 Like

G’day Pete :sunglasses:. Always appreciate your thoughts. So if I’ve already got my honey super on what would be your thoughts on how to feed a patty?

I’m waiting till tomorrow (Friday UK) as I’m inspecting he hive but if they need pollen with a FlowHive no room above the brood box to place a party.

I’m hoping it’s just a case of plenty pollen stores in the hive.

It’s been pretty dry around here last couple of weeks.

Can the pattie be placed under the roof with the plug removed so the bees can get to it. If not then if you have a spare hive box that can sit over the super on top of the frames.
If your desperate then you could remove the Flow Frames from the super and put the pattie in the super box for a few days.
I have to wonder why you have put the super on and at the same time feel they need feeding? I’d like your reasoning as I have never had to feed any of my hives patties and always willing to listen and learn.
Cheers

Pete,

I’ve never fed over a super before this would be the first time hence asking for advise as not something I’d do.

I can sit a pattie under the roof over the crown board plug that’s on top of the super but I wasn’t expecting to need to.

Couldn’t insect the hive today way to windy so I’m holding off until I can check the brood stores to see if like I mentioned just being a bit over protective of the little guys and gals.

Put the pattie on the crown board giving access to the roof area for the bees. They will find it quickly Dean.
I don’t pamper my bees and only feed syrup when I do a split to boost the bees into faster wax production at 2:1 water to white sugar or 1:1 if on inspection I don’t see nectar in the cells for the bees to increase their stores if there is a drought or a prolonged dearth…
Here even in the drought last year the bees were still foraging pollen while the flowers didn’t have nectar in them. If I see 30% of the bees returning to the hive are carrying pollen they are bringing in more than they need. Seems the bees don’t know when enough is enough and I often have to remove frames that are packed with pollen.
I’m thinking your a bit too over protective of the bees, I don’t know your climate but it is Summer there now and you have put the super onto the hive so I assume the colony is strong and they are foraging nectar, if they are also foraging pollen then I wouldn’t be offering them a pattie.
Cheers

Finally got into this hive and no visible worries. About 1pm UK time today I was worried they were swarming as serious activity outside and in the air (video attached).

It’s been extremely windy and showery past 4 days with as mentioned above very little activity and signs of pollen coming into the hive but on inspection every thing looked fine. Queen spotted on frame two out of 8. Plenty of stores, tonnes of brood and larvae.

No cups or cells to suggest pre swarm activity.

Thanks in advance

Dean

Any thoughts.

Did you take this video before or after the inspection? I am asking because robbing can look a bit like that, and robbing can follow an inspection. Did you see any bees fighting on the landing board?

It could just be a lot of foragers returning, or bees returning from cleansing after a long wet period. You wouldn’t need to do anything about that. But if it looks like there is fighting, you might want to think about a robbing screen. :wink:

Hi Dawn,

This was before I inspected and 10 minutes before I started videoing there was about double the amount of bees up and out.

Didn’t notice any fighting going on but my patio does have alot of poop so possibly just the bees cleansing after being stuck inside.

Watching the bees around the hive later they were doing alot of preening (I have vain bees :rofl::rofl:).

I don’t get the same time during the week to sit and watch them so it’s not a common site for me.

1 Like

Have a look at the video and concentrate on just one bee and you will notice it is flying the same distance from the entrance while moving up, down and sideways. That is orientation flying. Going on you weather there would be a lot of cleansing flying as well.
Not seeing the landing board and entrance it would only be a guess if robbing was happening in my opinion, but if you were a bee would you even consider trying to rob from a hive that appears to be really heavily populated and there fore well defended. Have a look on the ground below the landing board for an increase in dead bees, you will normally find some, but after a hive is robbed out there will be many more dead from trying to defend the colony and their stores.
I find when robbing happens there is a dearth happening and the weakest hive is the victim usually.
Cheers

I’ve been studying videos online and all point to young bees maiden flights and cleansing flights.

Not many dead bees around the hive either.

Was good to get inside the hive. Queen is stunning but too fast :rofl: and camera shy lol.

Cheers Pete

1 Like

Thanks for the update Dean. Accept that some bees will die of old age in the hive and will be unceremoniously dumped off the landing board. Work on a queen laying on average 1400 eggs a day and peaking to 2000. Most bees die on the return flight to the hive flying with the extra weight and they drop exhausted, but some do get back to the hive. Don’t get alarmed to find dead bees, 1400 hundred emerge and 1400 will die. Thanks too for the video, there is no way to describe that accurately.
Queens will soon get the idea your looking for her and play hide and seek. I take the outer two frames where she shouldn’t be first with just a quick check. Then the queen is isolated to one of the remaining frames, I hold a frame up with the sun over my shoulder, if she is on that frame she won’t be on the sunny side for long, she will be making for the shady side while the other bees carry on working so I look for a bee moving fast then concentrate on her for a visual.
I used to make the mistake of just taking one outer frame and working across but realized the queen had just stepped off the last frame onto the brood box wall and missed. Try that method Dean, it works for me 95% of the time without having to recheck the frames.
Cheers

In that case, I would say orientation, cleansing and foraging are the most likely reasons. I wouldn’t worry unless I saw fighting in front of the hive.

Take a deep breath, and r e l a x… :wink:

1 Like

Nice tip on the Queen spotting and sun facing side of frame to encourage her onto the other side.

I did see her, she didn’t hang about and I want to mark her so next time.

1 Like

Sonic cat repeller.

So just to throw this in the mix. I have a problem with cats capping in my garden :angry: so I bought one of those battery operated sonic cat repellers. Coincidently when I first turned it on ea the day my FlowHive went nuts outside. I’ve had it off fur a few days as it does my nut in at night lol.

Turned it on about an hour ago and shortly after same issue outside my hive… Turned it off and the bees seem to have chilled.

Do you think there is a link?