While it’s ideal for bees to be able to feed themselves, sometimes the beekeeper has to step in and help. By the end of winter, even established colonies may be running low on food.
Early spring is a crucial time for the bee colony. This is when they are preparing to produce new brood. To do this, they need a good supply protein and nutrients. Read on to learn what to feed bees in early spring.
Why Feed Bees in Spring?
Early spring can be a difficult time for the bee colony. Throughout the winter, they have been living off of stored honey and pollen from the previous year. However, by the time early spring rolls around, they often have run out of food.
If the beekeeper does not offer supplemental feeding, the colony must then wait for new pollen and nectar to be available. Lack of food during this crucial time can lead to detrimental colony development.
Of course, this also depends on your location. If you live in a warmer area, and forage is already available, you won’t need to feed bees in early spring. But in areas that are cold and rainy, with no blooms in sight, the beekeeper may need to feed their bees.
What to Feed Bees in Early Spring
Honey bees nutritional requirements differ in the summer and later parts of spring, compared to early spring. While they can live off a diet of mostly carbohydrates in the later parts of the year, they need different nutrients to produce and feed brood.
For egg laying, brood rearing, and colony development, honey bees need a diet of protein, vitamins, minerals, and fats. These nutrients are typically found in pollen. If pollen isn’t available naturally in the early spring, beekeepers can give their bees pollen supplements.
What Does Pollen Do?
Pollen is given to bees to increase brood production. It also allows nurse bees to create royal jelly to feed larvae. When bees eat pollen, they will prepare brood cells, which will signal to the queen to start laying eggs to fill them.
Therefore, pollen should be given to bees only when you want to more brood.
Pollen Supplements for Bees
Pollen supplements can be made or bought. Some beekeepers like to make their own mixture by combining pollen, sugar, brewer’s yeast, and essential oils. However, most beekeepers find it easier to use a pre-made product, like pollen patties.
Pollen patties, like the ones made by Hive Alive, contain real pollen and extra ingredients, such as amino acids, minerals, and vitamins to boost brood and honey production and also to increase bee gut health. This keeps the colony strong and growing.
Sometimes the bee colony will run out of food and the beekeeper will need to step in and feed them. Early spring is a good time to feed bees. They should be fed pollen in order to boost brood production. Pollen supplements contain a mixture of pollen, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.