POLLEN COLLECTION FOR FEEDBACK

The collection of high quality pollen for later feedback to bees is possibly the start to a bee nutrition management program. The use of pollen traps, deep freezes, and feedback techniques could allow better honey production, better queen bee breeding and greater profits from a beefarming business.

Many of the floral species utilised by beefarmers are extremely high quality pollens, and are suitable for collection. Examples are spotted gum, hill gum, Paterson s curse, and turnip weed.

Also, some honey trees such as yellow box, Caley's ironbark, mugga ironbark and grey ironbark are extremely valuable honey trees, but with little available pollen. Honey production could be increased by collecting good disease-free pollen and feeding back to the bees, when working these honey trees.

Queen production could also be assisted by feeding hives used for queen cell starters, cell rearing and drone-production with high quality pollen.

The technique in collecting and storing pollen is as follows:-

Purchase or make pollen traps. A number of the bee supply merchants make pollen traps suitable for the task. In 1996, these traps usually cost about $60 each.
 

Place the bees on a good pollen source and put the traps under the hive. Visit the traps every two to three days and empty the pollen into a bucket or container. Four-litre ice cream containers are ideal for the job and can be purchased from the makers in bulk lots. The pollen is stored in a deep freeze. If large quantities of pollen are to be collected, a deep freezer (purchased especially for storing the pollen) is fully recommended.

Make sure the pollen gets into the deep freeze within 8 hours after being collected.  When transporting the pollen, keep it as cool and dry as possible


Pollen dryers are available but often there is insufficient time to dry pollen and manage the hives. Poorly dried pollen will go rotten and become useless.

Of the major pollen-producing plants, some of the most suitable for pollen collection are:-

Turnip weed, canola or rape seed, spotted gum, St Barnaby's thistle, white mahogany, Blakely's red gum, broad-leaved stringybark, ellangowan, hill gum, and apple trees (angophora).
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