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Water and Pollen

The beekeeper that gave me my bees has many decades of experience with bees. He had a few hundred hives up until a year or two ago, when his health got in the way. He has a ton of no-nonsense knowledge, but getting information out of him is like pulling teeth! He’s very nice, but I think that he believes that most of the ‘new techniques’ are hogwash, but doesn’t want to say so outright. So, he loves to give an off-handed remark about it which is neither negative nor positive. He seems to like to talk about bees on occasion, but giving advice is not something he’s really on board with. It’s probably because I am so clueless he figures that I need to get some experience of my own under my belt. I am good with that and will continue to soldier on!

Regardless, the point of this blabber is that I specifically asked him whether I should feed my bees when I got home with them. I had read where a lot of folks put a 1-to-1 Sugar::Water solution and pollen on a new hive, to get them off to a good start. But, most of this advice was aimed at folks that received bees through the mail, which typically happens in mid to late-April around here. The thought is that the weather could be iffy and it’s a good idea to give them easy food to start.

But, I picked up Nuc’s, which you get a bit later since you’re getting local bees. I received my bee’s in what many call the Nectar Flow. Weather was good and food (nectar and pollen) was everywhere. But, I asked the beekeeper anyway. His only response was I’m not feeding my bee’s. So, I let it be and that was it. I should have realized that he was not answering me, but prompting me to figure this out for myself. I should have put more thought into it.

But, over the weekend I had some time to really read what a lot of regular first-time beekeeper’s are doing out there (on forums and discussion threads.) A bunch of them are feeding their bees and, with this easy food source, the queen will recognize all of the extra food and start laying more. This gets the hive rolling fast to take advantage of good times (which we are in right now.)

At any rate, I decided to feed my bees some of my pollen (of course, now I am wondering if the stuff is any good, as I had in in the garage and thought it was dry, cracker-like stuff and it appears that it is slightly damp…) I gave both hives a third of a piece this evening, placing it on the top board. We’ll see if this makes much of a difference. I might consider putting some sugar water on them later this week.

One final note that I wanted to record is the water drinking habits that I have witnessed over the past few days. Everybody always harps on how you need to keep water available for the bee’s (they use it to convert honey into food and, more likely at this time of year, to cool the hive.) You can either leave a faucet dripping all day or put out chicken waterers. I chose the latter, as the former will no doubt give me more well troubles.

Well, I think the only thing drinking out of my waterer’s are the birds and some mystery night-time visitors. I have never seen them on it. But, if I put some potting soil in a pot and water it, the soil will be covered with bee’s in NO time. They love some dirty water. I guess it’s easier for them to stand on the potting soil and suck up the moisture in it. Who knows. The bottom line is that I need to come up with a more permanent solution by July (when they will really need lots of water.)

At any rate, new experiences and lessons every day.

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