Occasionally there is a shortage of pollen, or perhaps you simply desire to promote the
raising of brood. Pollen substitutes can be used in such situations, however despite its
name, pollen substitutes are no real substitute for genuine fresh pollen.
"The size and quality of the surviving populations in over wintered colonies are
proportional to their Fall Pollen Reserves when they entered the inactive season
with a normal population, good queens, and adequate honey stores."
Dr. C. L. Farrar wrote the paragraph you have just read. He was the former Chief of Bee
Culture Investigations that was connected with The Entomology Research Division of the
U. S. Department of Agriculture.
Colonies begin rearing brood in late January. If ample pollen is on hand, they will replace
their Autumn population with young bees by the time the new pollen from Willows,
Maples, Skunk Cabbage and Winter Aconite is available. It is only at that time that the
spring weather allows for the foraging flights to begin. In the meantime, they need food
for brood rearing. The colony is active, eating, and rearing brood (to replace the winter
bees who are now at the end of their lives.)
Remember: It takes one cell of pollen and one cell of honey to raise one baby bee from
egg to adult (over the 21 days of development). Pollen is the protein and honey the
Pollen reserves from the previous year are not guaranteed to be present, and inclement
weather can cause delays in gathering new pollen, even once it is available naturally.
Don't take it for granted that your bees have plenty of pollen. Play it safe and feed a cake
or patty of pollen substitute and avoid the intermittent brood rearing which stresses the
colony. Help to make them become a strong colony before the main flow of nectar. If
your bees miss that flow, then they have really missed the season.
An excellent and easy-to-use pollen substitute is available from www.blossomland.com.