Pollen Patty Consumption During a Major Flow
Looking at the pictures below, I put these patties onto the hives on July 9th and this is the 18th. That was just over a week ago, and during a strong nectar and pollen flow. There are hundreds of acres of clover, alfalfa and canola in full bloom all around these hives. (see the entrance activity in a typical hive, below).
Keeping in mind that some of these hives are queenless, and some quite small, take a look at the consumption. Note that one hive ate most of two patties already! Another is just nibbling around the edges. I took these pictures at random and did not open more than the first few hives I came to. I was not wearing a veil or using smoke. One of the pictures shows why I should have used a smoker last time I peeked. Note the bees trapped and dead on top of the patties. I normally smoke them down a little before closing.
The point here is that bees will eat good patties at any time of year. When it rains, when it is dark, when it is windy, patties benefit the bees and keep them building. Less tangible is the improved health and robustness of the bees and the improved wintering that comes after a season of patty feeding. For that you'll have to take my word, or try it yourself.
In case you arrived here by a direct route, this topic is part of this diary page, where the history of this apiary is described more fully.