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Feeding Pollen Patties (Brown) and Grease Patties (Pink)
Important: The grease/sugar format is purposly chosen to be unattractive to the bees, and is therefore removed slowly by the bees, extending Terramycin® treatment over weeks and also keeping a vegetable oil presence in the hive over time.
Warnings: These patties must be placed inside the cluster near the brood or they will be ignored. Therefore, patties must go on the top bars above the brood in single hives, or on the top bars of the lower box in double brood chamber hives if the bees are raising brood below. Patties must not be used while honey is being stored for human consumption or while pollen trapping.
History: Bill Wilson's original formula requires two tablespoons (30 ml) of TM 25® per one pound of mix (1/3 lb. vegetable shortening and 2/3 lb. granulated sugar) to make two ½ pound patties that should last about 6 weeks. These ½ pound patties each would each contain about 844-mg active ingredient. Over 6 weeks this releases about 140 grams per week.
Using Alternate Tetracycline Products: Oxysol 62.5® is equivalent to TM-25. The former has 62.5 mg of active ingredient per gram of product; the latter has 25 g per 400 g, which comes out the same. Medivet's Oxysol 25S® has 55 mg/gram, and thus requires 13.4% more to do the same job. The first two make patties with a distinct pink colour, the latter makes a pale yellow patty.
Therefore a 150 pound batch (1- 40kg bag of sugar and 1-20 kg box of Crisco® vegetable shortening) includes about 4.05 kg (~19 cups) of TM-25® or Oxysol 62.5®. Add about 13.5% more if you use Medivet's Oxysol 25S®.
Large Colonies will Remove the Patties More Quickly, while small colonies may take longer, so the dosage is somewhat self-adjusting over time. Some beekeepers just take a pail of the mix to the yard and trowel some onto each hive, judging dosage by the colony strength. This method makes the patty material harder to move if it is not consumed by the time that frame manipulations begin, but may save on material and application time.
For Spring Use: 1/3 pound or 1/4 pound patties are preferred by some beekeepers due to slower removal by spring colonies. For smaller patties, increase the amount of TM used and maintain the other ingredients constant. Ie: for 1/4 pound patties, double the TM; for 1/3 pound patties, increase TM by ½. About 800-1000 mg of active ingredient per patty lasting six weeks is the goal.
Mixing The Patty Material: The mix is made made in bulk quantities using converted 3.5 cubic foot cement mixers. To convert for patty making, the paddles are removed and sometimes a stationary scraper bar is added. The mixture is a soft slurry at room temperature and can be squashed to fit under a hive lid, but sets a bit over time and in colder environments.
The actual patties are made up using a trowel, spatula, scoop or hands on 'scale paper', 8" X 11" inch wax paper that comes pre-cut from paper or butcher supply houses. One brand is made by McNairn in Whitby Ont. The paper is doubled over, and the patty is then easy to handle.
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Click here for a simple, printable instruction sheet
below compares sugar dusting with extender patties
and calculates their relative costs.