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Feeding Dry Pollen during the Winter

Feeding dry pollen substitute can be beneficial during the winter months, however, it is not as critical as feeding pollen patties.

To feed dry pollen powder, you must place the powder outdoors, ideally at least 20 feet from your hive. You can purchase dry pollen feeders or make one.

Essentially, you need a container that will keep the powder dry if it rains, keeps livestock out, and to which the bees have easy access. A simple and cheap option is a 5 gallon bucket lying on its side with half of the lid cut off. My personal favorite dry pollen feeder is a Pro Nuc box, with the plastic entrance slide removed completely.

I add about 5 lbs of powder, and put either container in a tree to keep varmints and livestock out of it. The bees will forage during warm winter days that are sunny, calm, and above about 45 degrees. They bring the powder back to the hive to use much like natural pollen. Keep in mind, bees will only forage on dry pollen powder if there is no natural pollen flow. The advantage of open feeding is it more naturally simulates a natural pollen flow, and may encourage some additional brood rearing. The disadvantage is you are feeding all the neighborhood bees in addition to yours. 

DIY Pollen Feeder

Materials List:

  • 4” Thin Wall PVC Pipe (12-14” long)
  • 4” PVC End Cap
  • 3X4 PVC Sewer & Drain Downspout Adapter
  • PVC glue if desired (not required)
  • Hacksaw for cutting pipe

Here are the directions and it’s going to sound a bit simplistic, because it is!

  • Cut your pipe to your desired length (12-14”)
  • Put the End Cap on one end and the sewer/drain downspout adapter on the other!
  • Fill with Ultra Bee Pollen!

That’s it! Well, I guess if you want to glue it you can… but it’s not necessary – your bees won’t try to take it apart , ha-ha!

Placing your pollen feeder:

As you see in the video, hanging works well. 2 eye bolts were placed in the pipe before the ends were installed, and it hangs at an angle (front down) to prevent rain from getting inside. Ideally 5-6 feet from the ground but any height will do. You can also suspend this feeder on a fence post, placed in the crook of a tree… just about anywhere!

Limit the amount of pollen you place inside if where you live has high humidity or rain in the forecast so it doesn’t crust over. If it does, simply get a stick or hive tool and stir it around to freshen it!

Then - sit back and enjoy watching your bees work!