A few weeks ago, we gave our bees sugar syrup, but now, the hives are becoming more active. The bees want pollen for protein, especially now that the queens are laying eggs. The worker bees need to feed protein to the new brood.
We found a basic chemical-free recipe for pollen substitute from the Scottish Beekeeping Association (SBA). What follows is our recipe, adapted with acknowledgement from the SBA Technical Data Sheet on Pollen Substitute.
Yield: Approx 1 lb
In a medium-sized bowl, mix the dry ingredients until well blended. Add sugar syrup a little at a time to make a stiff dough-like patty. The mixture should not flow under its own weight.
Prepare a sheet of waxed paper by rubbing a light film of vegetable oil on the surface. Press the patty mixture flat to a thickness of 1/4 inch. Cut into 4-ounce patties. To prevent sticking, separate the patties with waxed paper and seal in a plastic bag.
And did you know ... the two most important springtime plants for foraging honey bees are pussy willows and dandelions? In the coming weeks, if you are blessed with a lawn full of dandelions, leave them for the bees. The pollen from these early plants is indispensable food for the hive.
Honey bee on dandelion - via Wikimedia Commons
Honey bee on willow - Donnachaidh Bees
All other images - therebloomsagarden.com