Friday, March 19, 2010


Stella and I opened our hives yesterday to add pollen patties that would give our bees a spring boost. Her late gathered swarm that I had worried about all winter looks great! My mean hive looks good too. My oldest hive (hanging my head in shame) lost it's entrance reducer sometime (that I never noticed?!?) over the winter and mice moved in. They did a right smart amount of damage - eating honey and comb and in general stinking up the place - and my bees were angry. They had every right.

We noticed quite a few bees loaded with pollen flying into all three hives. Other than some croci, neither of us had noticed anything else blooming yet. The pollen was bright orange, so we agreed the source had to be the orange centered crocus.

I took my camera out this afternoon to try for some pictures and guess what? The bees in the crocus flowers had mustard colored pollen stuffed in their pollen baskets, not orange. So, either the crocus pollen is not orange as we thought or something else is blooming that they visited on the way. Regardless, there are apparently at least two sources for pollen available right now.

We had listened to a very interesting lecture on the waggle dance at bee school last weekend and I was tempted to pull out a frame of bees and see what I could 'cipher'. My choices were my mad hive or my mean hive though and I decided to let it go for another day. There's no telling what my bees would say to me, but I was pretty sure it was not going to be directions to the pollen source ;-).

Along with the honey bees, I notice at least two other bee looking insects checking things out. A common fly as well. I hadn't thought about flies being pollinators, but I suppose they are.

The pussy willows are turning.

And hosting yet another pollinator.

Please be kind to wasps. They (mostly) mean no harm.


Camp said...

and there is the lesson for the day...a good one!

not making any promises when it comes to wasps though...just sayin'.....

Far Side of Fifty said...

Wonderful crocus..and the Pussy Willows are so very have sprung into Spring! :)

Ed said...

Cool, looks like ya'll finally are getting some color..:-)

Lori Skoog said...

Gorgeous shots!

Mom L said...

Your post is so educational! I loved Biology in school, but I don't remember learning about pollen baskets when I studied the parts of bees!

I'm allergic to most stings, but I don't panic - just try to avoid confrontation and let the other species live.

Thanks for the info,
Nancy in Iowa

Alice said...

Awesome captures of the bees getting up to their knees in pollen, as well as the crocus and pussy willow blooms. I'm amazed at how clearly you are able to shoot closeups with your camera.

Christine said...

Awesome photos. I love the idea of beekeeping, but I doubt I'll ever go there. So fascinating though.

Denise said...

lovely nice to have some color...we need it badly! Next fall I should plant some crocus and maybe start a hive :-) How inspirational

flowerweaver said...

Hope you can repair your hive!

Joanna@BooneDocksWilcox said...

we don't have hives but we try to live in harmony with all wildlife. they were residents here before we were. great post. I like you more and more.

cyndy said...

This is such a wonderful post in so many ways!

DayPhoto said...

You did a really good job of those photos! A person can see right into the flower.


Anonymous said...

The crocus are beautiful. Mine didn't seem to bloom out as full this year. Maybe because of our strange winter down here?

I can't promise about those wasps.We have literally hundreds that swarm around our porches in the fall and spring(now). We try to avoid each other though.

Great post.
Have a good day.


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