How to Make
Pollen Supplement

for Honey Bees

Update: This is a legacy page...

Using Patties
Feeding Pollen Patties

Pollen Patties are used to feed honey bees protein in the spring before natural pollen is available, or any time that the bees need protein. The ingredients are carefully selected for appropriate characteristics and the correct proportions are important..  The instructions below were written for our crew, then a Hutterite Colony when we made our own, before Global started making them for us.  You can probably tell that we were always worried that something would screw up.

The Recipe...

To make about 306 pounds of pollen patties
( About 306 - One lb. patties) requires:

  • three  buckets of 67% sugar syrup

  • one bucket of white granulated table sugar and

  • two buckets of soy flour

  • two buckets of yeast

  • 1/3 of a bucket of pollen

Mixing up The Pollen Patty Material:

All ingredients are measured in 5 gallon pails which we refer to as 'a bucket'.

'A bucket' is a pail filled to within about two inches of the top. Several pails should be used for dry ingredients only, and several others reserved for syrup.

There should be enough buckets that all the ingredients are measured and in pails before each batch is mixed.  Otherwise, people always get interrupted and lose count and errors are made.  Bees may not eat the patties if the recipe is not followed.  If the products are pre-measured all at once before mixing, then there is little chance of accident.

The mix is made in a 3.5 cubic foot cement mixer. To convert for patty making, the paddles are removed and sometimes a stationary scraper bar is added. We built a bar, but removed it because we found it unnecessary and a nuisance.

The drum must be clean when you start, and be left clean at the end of work.  Run the mixer drum as close to horizontal as you can without the contents spilling out. 

Start with adding ALL the sugar syrup and then add the powdered ingredients slowly -- starting with the pollen, then the yeast, then the soy and finally, the sugar.  Add the ingredients  over about ten minutes. Do not add anything else or substitute ingredients. Check the recipe often to make sure you are following it.

Run the mixer tipped over as far as possible without having much fall out.  It works best this way.  It tips more one way than the other and is quieter to one side too.  There is a plywood panel to put on if there is a problem with spillage.  The hole is to see when the the dough is ready.

The pollen is expensive and is used only in a small amount in each batch.  Measure carefully.  Do not use it all up at the beginning.  We have no more.  The pollen has been irradiated with an electron beam to ensure that diseases are not spread from bee hive to bee hive. 

At first, the contents of the mixer will be gooey until -- at some point, -- a rough ball of dough will form and run around in the drum as you slowly add the last ingredients.  Work with that ball and add solids slowly until the ball becomes so stiff that the dough is ready.  It may be necessary to use a stick or scraper to loosen the ball from the sides and to scrape the sides so that the ball runs free. Sometimes adding a 1/2 cup of sugar or soy between the ball and the drum will make the ball form better.

When you get the right consistency, stop adding the solids.   It does not matter if the formula is exact as long as the dough is right.  If the dough seems perfect before the last sugar is added, quit and make up the patties right away.  Do not add more liquid.

The mixer should run about one hour  or so and the dough will get stiffer until it is about like heavy bread dough.  It must be stiff enough that the patties will not collapse when stacked in the boxes, but not so stiff that it is hard to work or like leather when finished.

Warning: The dough stiffens over time because the soy flour slowly expands and absorbs the water from the syrup.  This is good, because the dough is easy to roll out and cut into patties, but later the patties are strong enough to stack in a box without collapsing. This is not good, though if you haven't finished making the patties.  Don't break for lunch and expect to come back and find things as you left them.  Make the patties as soon as the mixer stops.

Roll out and cut the patties on a table that is well covered with soy flour and sprinkle lots of soy flour onto the patties as you roll them out with a rolling pin.  When the dough is dumped out of the mixer, cut it into rectangular pieces about the size of a small loaf of bread.  Place these on the table one at a time and roll them until they are about 5/8" thick.  Then cut out patties that will fit into a paper folded in half without hanging out the sides or end.  Use lots of soy on the patty and the paper.  The patties should weigh at least one pound each. Check from time to time.

Do not get the paper sticky on the outside of the patties will all form a huge mess in the box.  When filling the boxes, make sure that the dough is strong enough to stack in the boxes without squishing.  If not, then STOP. If you have a slightly soft batch, spread the the patties out and let them sit overnight before putting into boxes. 

Be sure not to get the mixture on the outside of the paper when handling.  It makes the patties stick together in the box and difficult to use.

Read these instructions over every day to make sure things are still being done correctly.

Call Allen at 1-

if there is anything that you do not understand or if you are thinking of any changes or improvements in the system.

Useful Measures:

16 tablespoons = 1 cup                      1 cup    =    236 ml

1 tablespoon = 15 ml

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