Early Pollen? | Unhealthy Beekeeping Weblog


Over-wintered hive in Calgary on March 22, good power and able to develop.

A few days in the past, on March 22, we had daylight and warmth. Honey bees had been gathering pollen. I don’t bear in mind such a rush of pre-season pollen on this space. It’s so much sooner than anticipated. I figured their goodies had been from pollen-producing bushes. Right here within the metropolis of Calgary, non-native elms present some early pollen. Different bushes, equivalent to poplar, additionally hand over a bit, even whereas snow continues to be scattered across the panorama. We don’t have a lot oak or maple right here, although in milder components of North America, these are nice for spring pollen and nectar. Since it’s too early for willow or crocus, I made a decision that the pollen move was seemingly from some massive bushes. The pollen was pale yellow, apparently from a single supply or species, and was packed in extraordinarily small bundles. Right here’s a brief video clip:

Tiny bits of pollen, all the identical color. Could possibly be from bushes, however might be from one thing else.

However then I noticed one thing that made me surprise concerning the pollen supply.

This appears unusual to me. We don’t typically see a honey bee hustling unconsolidated pollen on the entrance door. She has solely a bit in her seen corbicula. It isn’t sticky the way in which pollen often is and fairly a little bit of the mud is scattered exterior her baskets. This pale pollen resembles pine, however conifers received’t shed right here for a number of weeks. It occurred to me that the bees, gathering this uniform-looking bland pollen could be carrying pollen substitutet from one other beekeeper’s yard.

We now have a dozen interest beekeepers inside a brief foraging flight of our house. Though I don’t arrange open-feeding stations for soy or different pollen subs, some neighbouring beekeepers could be making an attempt this newest feeding fad. Pollen complement feeders can appeal to quite a lot of bees on a pleasant day when nothing else is blooming. Exercise can appear to be this, from beeinformed.org’s web site:

I don’t set out substitutes like this myself. I don’t wish to ship my bees off to feast at an all-you-can-eat buffet the place they’ll meet bees from neighbouring hives, maybe decide up mites, soil their ft with AFB spores, or get pushed round by bees from colonies which might be greedier and larger. (Perhaps you’ve seen related exercise at your native all-you-eat dinner spots on late Friday afternoons, one other place the place massive and grasping is abundantly rewarded.) In early spring, I like to put pollen muffins on the highest bars above the brood. This assures that even weak hives will get some assist. Protected, in-hive feeding additionally retains meals out there when a chilly snap or rain interferes and the bees can’t entry the fly-in diner. What do you suppose? Pollen or Pollen-lite? What are my bees gathering?

About Ron Miksha

Ron Miksha is a bee ecologist working on the College of Calgary. He’s additionally a geophysicist and does a little bit of science writing and running a blog. Ron has labored as a radio broadcaster, a beekeeper, and Earth scientist. (Ask him about seismic waves.) He is primarily based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.


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