Winter has morphed into Spring almost overnight in the Northeast. What is a honey bee to do when nothing is yet blooming, meaning that fresh pollen for brood rearing is unavailable? Feeding a pollen substitute patty inside the hive is an excellent approach. Several companies sell ready-made patties as well as the soy-based powder with which patties can be made by the beekeeper. See Randy Oliver’s comparative study of several of these products: http://scientificbeekeeping.com/a-comparative-test-of-the-pollen-sub/
At the American Beekeeping Federation meeting in January, Randy also spoke about bulk feeding Ultra Bee powder to bees. Below is a picture of my honey bees gathering Ultra Bee from a bulk feeder outside the hive. Note that the Ultra Bee is picked up by hairs on the bees’ body, and the bees pack it into their pollen baskets, just as the bees do with pollen.