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Too much pollen?


#1

Hi, is it possible to have too much pollen in a brood box?

My hive (L-8) is setup such that I have a single brood box at the bottom (9 frames inserted into an 8 frame box; I found this stops all bur comb and spacing seems ok) with an excluder, a flow super (6 frame) above that, and on top I have a hybrid flow super (4 standard deep frames, 3 flow frames).

When inspecting the brood box today I noticed that about 30-40% of space in the brood chamber was pollen, 50-60% was larvae (uncapped, capped, emerging) and only a small amount of honey. The 4 regular frames in the hybrid super are full of honey and about 95% capped. The 3 flow frames in the hybrid super (harvest last week) were already about 10-20% full of nectar already, depending on the frame. The flow super was about 80% full and mostly capped (harvested 5 of the 6 frames today as moisture content was reading 15-16% in the uncapped areas)

Now…one thing I did notice today when doing the inspection was a queen cup…but it was empty as far as I could tell (turned it upside down and grabbed a torch to inspect). The queen is still active in the hive, about a year old, and seems fine (good laying patter, all frames having brood up until the last 2wks when I’ve noticed an increase in pollen stores and decrease in honey stores in the brood box). I’ve read about bees making practice cups but have yet to come across a reason why this occurs…?

So, to get back to the first question, is it possible to have too much pollen in the brood box? I could literally take out 1 full frame (both sides) of pollen and put it in the freezer; that particular frame has nothing else but pollen (a month or so ago it was a mix of pollen, nectar, brood, and a spattering of drone cells around the edge.

And any comments on the queen cup would be of interest too.

Thanks.


#2

You only have too much pollen in the brood box, if the queen has no empty space to lay in. As long as there are plenty of empty cells, I wouldn’t worry about the pollen. You could put it in the freezer, but my bees prefer to have pollen next to the brood, rather than honey. After all, the major source of food for larvae is bee bread, which is fermented pollen mixed with a bit of honey and some special micro-organisms.

As you know, it is the nature of bees to swarm. Even when they don’t intend to swarm, they practice the things they need to do for swarming, including making queen cups. If there is no royal jelly or larva in the cup, they are not getting serious at this point.


#3

Thanks @Dawn_SD. I was aware of the cups but wasnt aware of a pref for pollen over honey when feeding brood - I had thought it was about equal.