What to Use in the Fall and Winter

In the spring our bees will start foraging and, all being well, bring back plenty of pollen. This is a source of protein that is vital to any healthy colony. In some cases, we may determine that a pollen supplement is necessary. This can take the form of pollen patties, which are often laid across the top the frames in the uppermost box. The content of pollen patties also stimulates brood rearing, which is generally a good thing in the spring.

Pollen Patties
Pollen Patties

In the fall or winter…not so much!

We really don’t want our colonies to grow the population as they enter and endure the winter months. Existing resources in the hive are at a premium and the raising of brood will only place an additional burden on the colony. Therefore feeding pollen patties at this time not a great choice.

This is how winter patties can help. Generally becoming available in October or so, winter patties have a very low protein content, which greatly reduces the stimulation of brood rearing, while still offering important carbohydrates to the colony. Though not necessary in all colonies, when justified it is important to offer winter patties, rather than regular pollen patties, in the fall and winter.