His workshop was on making pollen substitute. He began feeding his hives pollen substitute because in the last couple of years he had lost a number of hives and attributed this to their being weak and in need of more nutrition.
He said that the biggest problem in the south with feeding pollen substitute to the bees is the small hive beetle. The SHB has a breeding cycle of about 21 days, similar to the honeybee. So his reasoning is that if you put a pollen substitute patty on the hive, the bees should consume it within 5 - 7 days to avoid it being a constant food source for SHB to use for their young.
The pollen substitute patty is placed on the hive about 2 inches above the brood to allow ease of reach for the bees.
Here's his recipe:
1/2 bag of Megabee
10 lb dry sugar
1 cup canola oil
24 lb corn syrup or 2:1 sugar syrup
He adds the oil to the syrup and then puts the wet ingredients in the dry ingredients. He uses a masonry hoe to mix these things in a large vat - I didn't get a picture on the slideshow of the mixing but it looked like making bread on a very large scale. It takes him about 4 minutes to mix the whole thing up.
He greases the bucket that holds the finished 54 pound mix with some oil poured in the bucket and then swiped around with a paper towel - just like you would oil the pan for bread to use to rise.
I tasted the patty and it was really good. The Megabee has a citrus flavor and it looks like ginger bread with a citrus taste before it is baked. This was the most fun of all the talks and workshops I attended. Greg is practical and funny in his presentation.
Here are the slides. Click on the picture to see the whole show enlarged and with explanatory captions:
|Making pollen patties|