I Spent some time this evening making pollen patties. I now have around 110 ready and waiting in the freezer to go on the hives the next warm spell we have. Hopefully that will be in just another week or two in time to get the bees moving shortly before the maple trees start blooming. When trying to raise early queens in northern climates as I am, early drone production is often the limiting factor and feeding pollen (protein) helps get them started. It’s not the only limiting factor, but it’s one of the few the beekeeper can do anything about. It also increases the size of the hives earlier to one can afford to make all the splits necessary for mating nucs. With luck I’ll be running around 200 this year.
Another sure sign spring is coming: emails and calls daily from other beekeepers wanting to order queens. The earliest queens have been booked for some time now and recent orders are starting to book the summer and late season queens. It seems like the demand is as high as ever, and the supply seems to be diminishing. So if you need to order queens, get your orders in now if you can regardless of who you are ordering them from.