Prolific pollen gatherers

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I have one or two colonies that are prolific pollen gathers, manageable if given enough space - usually double brood. Thought unlike nectar, they gathered pollen for short term needs!

Can be useful at times when making up Nucs when I’ll remove the odd frame. However, this season one has also filled the first super wall to wall with pollen, yet they have sufficient space in the brood box - 10 combs of brood and 3 with pollen in & 3 for queen to lay.

Any advice on what else can be done to ‘manage’ pollen going into the super and if not, what to do with all these combs that are not being used by the colony?
 

ericbeaumont

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‘manage’ pollen going into the super
Give more brood space.

Bees park pollen in volume nearer to the entrance and if the BBs are full of brood the pollen must go elsewhere.

Years ago I had this problem and solved it by double, and then triple brooding. Last week I checked the bottom boxes of a couple of triples (out of curiosity) and found them 80% full of pollen.
 
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I often find some pollen in the first super, I guess they count that space as part of the arc of stores above and around the brood. A friend recently advised me to use drone foundation in the first super as they won't store pollen in drone cells. I haven't had chance to try it yet and wonder if anyone has tried this?
 

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use drone foundation in the first super
When storing nectar bees delay filling drone cells until they have no option, and then late in a flow. I believe they do so as insurance against the need to use the space to raise drones.

I used to scrape out the worst pollen in super combs and give them back to the bees for repair, which were made - almost universally - to drone spec. and so filled late.

Putting drone comb in a super may seem attractive for other reasons - less wax used, fewer cells to uncap - but it's not worth it if nectar is directed elsewhere, and if that elsewhere is the BB, watch out for swarm cells.

The natural place for pollen is on brood combs, and in bulk it's parked by foragers nearest the entrance, so better to work with bees and enable them to do that job by giving more brood space.
 

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Exactly. They want the pollen as near to brood as possible, so give them more brood box space. I never have pollen in supers, always running double brood, and triple occasionally
 
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When storing nectar bees delay filling drone cells until they have no option, and then late in a flow. I believe they do so as insurance against the need to use the space to raise drones.

I used to scrape out the worst pollen in super combs and give them back to the bees for repair, which were made - almost universally - to drone spec. and so filled late.

Putting drone comb in a super may seem attractive for other reasons - less wax used, fewer cells to uncap - but it's not worth it if nectar is directed elsewhere, and if that elsewhere is the BB, watch out for swarm cells.

The natural place for pollen is on brood combs, and in bulk it's parked by foragers nearest the entrance, so better to work with bees and enable them to do that job by giving more brood space.
Yes Ive noticed this Eric. On advice from someone around 3 years ago, I bought a load of drone super foundation and I've noticed the bees are very reluctant to fill it with nectar and also it's the last to get drawn sometimes. If nadir ia super with drone foundation n winter its the first frames to get laid with drone brood! Looks I'll need to start heading towards giving more brood frames in my double broods (on av 14-16 combs currently). Really don't fancy triple brood!
 
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Exactly. They want the pollen as near to brood as possible, so give them more brood box space. I never have pollen in supers, always running double brood, and triple occasionally
Both the colonies are on double brood (14-16 frames though)and already have 3-4 frames of pollen so just don't understand why they need a full super as well. They don't tend to go over 10-12 frames of brood, leaving plenty for pollen. Seems a genetic trait with some colonies. You're right though I just have to accept that I need to give even more brood frames. What to do now with all the super frames.

Do you know, (& @ericbeaumont ) can they be stored in the freezer and fed back in the spring when pollen gathering is either difficult or harder to come by? Could save on pollen subs!!
 
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When storing nectar bees delay filling drone cells until they have no option, and then late in a flow. I believe they do so as insurance against the need to use the space to raise drones.

I used to scrape out the worst pollen in super combs and give them back to the bees for repair, which were made - almost universally - to drone spec. and so filled late.

Putting drone comb in a super may seem attractive for other reasons - less wax used, fewer cells to uncap - but it's not worth it if nectar is directed elsewhere, and if that elsewhere is the BB, watch out for swarm cells.

The natural place for pollen is on brood combs, and in bulk it's parked by foragers nearest the entrance, so better to work with bees and enable them to do that job by giving more brood space.
Thanks I thought this was probably the case...if I increase the brood frames now, do you think they will remove the pollen from the first super, or is it just stuck there now?
 

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i think you are in a perfect bee brood orb nest with pollen perimetre (upsidedown)

pollen is blessing more when polychrome , ya can freez them but each month losses its power thats why bees insure pollen cells with nectar so as bee bread will continue to be fermented , its the most valued bee food something we humans didnt yet manage to copy it completely

as said you still ve space in brood boxes and can ve more( if take away already pollen brood box frames feeding other colonies) so may you can re arrange frames and put all brood to upper brood box so as nurses to be fed from super and bellow brood box be used for the income pollen

but i ussually dont like re organize nest frames but i play with QX and boxes as totals ,existing or new(nadir or supering)

so

if ya dont mind be layed , may remove QX ,if ve one , or as beaumont said follow them insticts nadir pollen super(my prefer) but then may is better not put the most brood box on top top otherwise may they will fill pollen your top super again

whatever you do in person i like this when happens , like those bees

anyway

chestnut?what kind of pollen ,flow on?may next year can collect pollen using those colonies!
for myself consumption i do try to copy bee bread(ambrosia ?)and fill a jar ,to the half pollen and rest film/insure it with crystalized honey saving in the fridge
 
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i think you are in a perfect bee brood orb nest with pollen perimetre (upsidedown)

pollen is blessing more when polychrome , ya can freez them but each month losses its power thats why bees insure pollen cells with nectar so as bee bread will continue to be fermented , its the most valued bee food something we humans didnt yet manage to copy it completely

as said you still ve space in brood boxes and can ve more( if take away already pollen brood box frames feeding other colonies) so may you can re arrange frames and put all brood to upper brood box so as nurses to be fed from super and bellow brood box be used for the income pollen

but i ussually dont like re organize nest frames but i play with QX and boxes as totals ,existing or new(nadir or supering)

so

if ya dont mind be layed , may remove QX ,if ve one , or as beaumont said follow them insticts nadir pollen super(my prefer) but then may is better not put the most brood box on top top otherwise may they will fill pollen your top super again

whatever you do in person i like this when happens , like those bees

anyway

chestnut?what kind of pollen ,flow on?may next year can collect pollen using those colonies!
for myself consumption i do try to copy bee bread(ambrosia ?)and fill a jar ,to the half pollen and rest film/insure it with crystalized honey saving in the fridge
Lots of food for thought there, forgive the pun! I’ve noticed they’ve been putting nectar on top of the pollen. Your ideas have given me lots to think about and act on, so thanks for taking the time to reply.

I think I’ve probably selected apiary sites with very good pollen forage and a wide variety- lovely big gardens with a wide variety of plants so never have a pollen shortage. So the bees are spoilt for choice and just can’t help themselves from collecting more of the good stuff! None of my colonies are short of pollen at all, so my only ‘outlet’ is Nucs for the surplus. Like you say it’s good for them and they will be healthy, it’s just an inconvenience for me and I should view the bigger picture. That’s partly why I was wondering if I could save it somehow for the time when they’re all short of pollen - early spring. But as you say it loses its nutritional quality but I bet it’s still better than pollen substitutes! I will definitely nadir but wait til autumn to do that rather than another super filling up.

I’ve probably also made the mistake of reducing double brood back to single temporarily during swarm control and they’ve continued to collect pollen and stuffed up the super.
 
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Ian123

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Plenty of mine on 3 brood boxes with the bottom box rammed with pollen. I’ll consolidate later in the season and add some frames to expanding nucs when moving up, the same with pollen loaded frames after extraction there a pain to store.
 

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3 brood boxes with the bottom box rammed with pollen
Same here.

In the days when I followed the regulation hobby hive set-up (one brood, a few supers) I had pollen in most boxes and and plenty of swarming. Since I learned the hard way to throw the book away and follow the needs of the colony, pollen remains in the bottom box, some in the brood combs, supers are clean and swarming is reduced significantly.
 

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pollen from the first super, or is it just stuck there now?
Stuck there, I reckon.

One year I nadired a super and they filled it with pollen. The following spring, on a strong flow and with the beekeeper late with supers on top, they cleaned the pollen out completely and replaced it with nectar.
 

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Same here.

In the days when I followed the regulation hobby hive set-up (one brood, a few supers) I had pollen in most boxes and and plenty of swarming. Since I learned the hard way to throw the book away and follow the needs of the colony, pollen remains in the bottom box, some in the brood combs, supers are clean and swarming is reduced significantly.
Yes I’ve had few try to swarm this season most are last years queens and buckfast. When the broods are full I put another on and stay well in front with space! I’ve got some real monster size hives that have been packing in the honey😎
 

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