Each fall, honey bee (Apis mellifera L. (Hymenoptera: Apidae)) colonies in northern temperate regions rear a population of long-lived winter bees that maintains a broodless nest throughout the winter and resumes brood-rearing activities in the spring. Pollen supply in colonies is closely tied to this phenomenon; winter bees sequester large reservoirs of pollen-derived nutrients in their bodies and the brood-rearing capacity of colonies is dictated by the availability of pollen. We determined the effects of manipulating pollen supply during the fall on the number of winter bees present in colonies by spring, their mass and protein content before and after winter, and their capacity to rear brood during the spring. Colonies were either supplemented with or partially deprived of pollen during the fall, while a third group of colonies was not manipulated (control). We found that the performance of winter bees was not enhanced by supplementing colonies with pollen in the fall, nor did worker function suffer if pollen supply was restricted. Similar numbers of winter bees survived to spring in colonies and workers had similar physiology and brood-rearing efficiencies. These results suggest that beekeepers would not benefit by investing in fall pollen supplements to maximize colony growth in early spring.