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Pollen Trapping

Pollen is trapped for several reasons

Beekeepers trap pollen to provide a protein source that can be supplemented to bee's feed when raising queens or drones and for human consumption.

This is considered by some to be a "black art" but there are no mysteries here. If we embark on queen rearing, there is no point in producing "substandard" queens (and the same applies to drones). By feeding pollen along with honey and syrup we can ensure that full nutrition is available (whether the bees will avail themselves of it depends somewhat on how it is presented within the hive). It is very rare for there to be a pollen shortage, more likely the opposite, but if there is a shortage, pollen can be collected and used in several ways. Pollen can also be used for human consumption, many people liking it on breakfast cereal.

The "Pollen Traps" button deals with the layout and details of several different types of construction. This page deals with the principles or reasons why it is considered necessary and the way the resulting pollen is delivered to the bees.

Although there are several designs of pollen trap, the principles are similar. Pollen foragers can only return to the hive by passing through some sort of screen that removes the pollen pellets from their legs. This is collected in a receptacle that, depending on the design, should prevent debris from contaminating the pollen. There are two main types, to fit on the hive entrance, or placed underneath the hive.

Those beekeepers who harvest large quantities of pollen often leave the traps on the hive permanently, as they claim that sufficient pollen goes through the trap that the nutrition of the colony isn't affected. That might be the case in areas of good pollen sources, but my guess is that as there is a sizeable reduction in pollen income to the colony, the nectar foragers may be diverted to collect more pollen to make up for the shortfall, therefore reducing the nectar income. In less favourable locations, I suggest only harvesting for a day or two, then remove the screens for a few days, before trapping pollen again.

Originally written by Dave Cushman. Edited and additions by Roger Patterson.

Page created pre-2007

Page updated 10/12/2022