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Date: Fri, 28 Feb 1997 12:23:24 -0500
Reply-To: Discussion of Bee Biology <BEE-L@CNSIBM.ALBANY.EDU>
Sender: Discussion of Bee Biology <BEE-L@CNSIBM.ALBANY.EDU>
Subject: Pollen subsitute
I am going to add my 2 cents worth on the subject of pollen substitute, brewer's yeast, soy flour and Bee-Pro. Here at Kona Queen we feed pollen subsitute on a massive scale. The last four months of the year are very dry and oftentimes pollen sources disappear. Since we are in permanent locations, we cannot move to the other side of the island and find a flow, so we use "pollen patties" to boost the colonies.
Our experience has been that soy flour will turn hard. Like cement!  Now this may be due to the humidity in our tropical climate, and you might not have this problem elsewhere. A strong colony will use the pollen pattie before it turns hard, but then we are not too interested in feeding the strong colony!
Two years ago we bought a container load of Bee-Pro. We thought it would eliminate the need to import pollen and save us the time of mixing the ingredients. Unfortunately, it must contain soy flour, as it turned hard. I still have half a container load left! We now order brewer's yeast by the container load from California Spray Dry. We mix it with pollen, and sugar syrup and put it in wax paper bags. The "patty" weighs a pound and a half. This goes directly on top of the brood nest. Results are astounding. If you would like a more exact recipe, I can provide it.
Mark at Kona Queen
Date: Sat, 1 Mar 1997 15:00:32 -0500
Reply-To: Discussion of Bee Biology <BEE-L@CNSIBM.ALBANY.EDU>
Sender: Discussion of Bee Biology <BEE-L@CNSIBM.ALBANY.EDU>
Subject: pollen pattie recipe
Because of the huge number of requests for my pollen pattie recipe, I have decided to post it to the list.
You will notice that this is recipe uses a 50 lb bag of brewers' yeast. We mix this in a commercial morter mixer and fill a 100 gallon water trough with two loads. I would imagine you might want to divide the recipe into a more managable size.
By adding more or less sugar syrup you can make softer or harder patties. The most important ingredient is the pollen. Without the pollen the bees will not eat the pattie.
Good luck!
Pollen Pattie Recipe
2 - 5 gallon buckets of sugar syrup
fill to 4" from top
40 oz. of pollen
50 lbs brewers' yeast
Mix for 3 minutes. Form into 1 1/2 lb. patties and put in wax paper bag.

Mark at Kona Queen

And Here are some more thoughts...

Reply-To: Discussion of Bee Biology <BEE-L@CNSIBM.ALBANY.EDU> Sender: Discussion of Bee Biology <BEE-L@CNSIBM.ALBANY.EDU> From: Stan Sandler <> Subject: mixing pollen substitute Mime-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"

Hi All:

A few weeks back I picked up on a post from Allen Dick that mentioned that brewer's yeast was available at his local feed mill, but he didn't know the quality. When I checked at my local mill I was able to get a 25 kg. (55 pound) bag for $50. It was not "feed grade", it was "food grade" from a company in Mississauga Ontario called Champlain Industries. It looked, smelled and tasted exactly like (and might have been exactly the same) as the stuff in the health food store for four times the price. Another local beekeeper got "debittered" stuff which was in flake form so one might be well advised to look in the bag before taking it.

Any good ideas on mixing the dry ingredients with the sugar syrup when making patties? I mix the soy flour and brewers yeast in a barrel. I dissolve the milk powder into the sugar syrup in a wheel barrow using a paint mixer on a drill then add the dry powder and stir periodically with a shovel over the next 12 to 24 hours trying to break up all the little lumps and get the gluey mass uniform. Last year I burnt out a mixer trying to "beat" it smooth. If it is not smooth I notice that the bees will not eat the dry lumps. I have thought that maybe one could adapt a gear pump so that the gears were churning away in the mass but the case was partly open.

When the stuff is runny the mixing is far easier. Should I be mixing it runny first and then adding some more powder after to stiffen it? (I am using 2:1 sugar syrup and putting about 1 pound of dry ingredients to 1 American quart of syrup according to a recipe in the Hive and Honeybee).

Regards, Stan

I wrote the above post last night, but didn't send it because my internet server was busy and I was tired. This morning I had an idea, and put all the lumpy mix through our big meat grinder (a 2 h.p. job). It did an excellent job using the smallest hamburger plate. Everything came out completely smooth. We even used the sausage spout for filling wax paper sandwich bags. That was an idea I got from Mark Spagnolo, and although it worked well with the sausage spout it would have been near impossible to fill them with a spoon, and I would have gone back to slapping a big dollop on a sheet of wax paper and folding it up.

Since pollen is the vegetarian bees equivalent to their relatives, the wasps' "meat", I guess the meat grinder was an appropriate tool.


Date: Fri, 9 Jan 1998 00:09:47 -0500 Reply-To: Discussion of Bee Biology <BEE-L@CNSIBM.ALBANY.EDU> Sender: Discussion of Bee Biology <BEE-L@CNSIBM.ALBANY.EDU> From: Stan Sandler <> Subject: Re: soyflower Mime-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"

Allen wrote:

> How well does the yeast work for open feeding?

I found the bees were flying and gathering from an open bag of brewer's yeast when I was mixing substitute last spring. However, there is a physical characteristic to all the powders that I think is important to consider as a factor in open feeding. It seems to me that the pollen pellet that the bees are able to make from either brewers yeast, soyflour (full fat or defatted, I have tried both), milk powder, or calf milk replacer, or combinations are never anywhere approaching the size of a natural pollen pellet. Pollen is sticky, but I don't think this is the only factor. The full fat soyflour is also quite sticky but the pellets are still small despite the fact that the bees hairs are covered with more dust particles than they would get at flowers usually. The fact that the pollen coating has geometric irregularities and sometimes spikes and protrusions likely has some effect. The brewers yeast must have an extremely small particle size (Andy referred to this particle size last year on his posts about DRINKING pollen) and although I have never looked at it under a microscope I suspect it is very smooth. The dust is so fine that the beating of a bee's wings puts it airborne quite readily. I think that the particle size is not very well adapted to open feeding alone.

I always used open feeding to get the bee's acclimated to the taste of substitute. I think the patties were consumed much better after a few foragers had brought some in from outside. But I had no natural pollen to mix with it.

Like Allen, I also was quite influenced by Andy's posts last year about soyflour and Mark Spagnolo's "Hawaiian delight" (just pollen, brewers yeast, sugar and water) and as a result trapped quite a bit of pollen last year for use this spring. But I will still use SOME soyflour in my mix. My reasoning is that the pollen+extender has to be the SOLE protein source for my bees in Prince Edward Island, who will be consuming it before any natural pollen is available. So it has to have a complete balance of all the amino acids that are necessary for brood growth. A single source, such as brewer's yeast, is not likely to have every amino acid necessary. I know when one is formulating a stock ration that the usefulness of the ration to the animal is limited by the level of the first essential amino acid that the animal runs out of. So, when using soy protein for pigs, lysine and methionine are added because they are very low and limiting. Probably the reason brewer's yeast works for Mark is that the deficient amino acids are present to some level in the natural pollen that is mixed with it. I think a mix of several ingredients helps ensure a mix of amino acids. And I think the early formulators of bee protein diets, like Haydak, must have had this in mind because they tried a variety of mixes with yeasts, flours, wheasts, milk powder, dried blood, meatmeat, egg powder,... But I will be concentrating on the brewers yeast.

It would be nice to be able to offer various ingredients to the bees and see what they like, but supposedly the bees are not terribly good judges of nutrional value. Which I guess I can believe, after seeing them gathering sawdust and barn dust crud.

I enjoyed reading Garth's post about maltose in some powders, but although it might increase palatability it would not affect the protein value.

Regards, Stan

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