Thursday, March 18, 2010

They're Bringing In Pollen!

Yes pollen. In March. If you don't live in southern Canada, you may not know that it's still winter here. In fact, next week we're booked to have some snowy weather again.

(look carefully at the single bee sitting on the plastic wrap - she has yellow pollen on her back legs).

This week though we're having terrific warm weather with lots of sunshine and temperatures around 15 and 16 degrees Celcius. Many Canadians go to Florida during this week which is the Spring Break holiday for most Canadian children. But the weather is so nice that staying home is very pleasant indeed.

Yesterday we went to the bee yard to check on the bees and to give them pollen patties. As soon as I arrived I could see that there were lots and lots of bees flying around outside the hive.

The sun was starting to set, but still warm, and shining directly on the hives. When I opened the inner cover I could see many very healthy and young bees running around on the top bars.

I laid two pollen patties on the top bars of both hives. The bees were already landing on them before I had them in place. They must smell really good.

We had the smoker lit although we really didn't need smoke other than to clear the bees from the top bars so they wouldn't be crushed when the patties were set inside. (I forgot the camera so I only have small cell phone photos on this trip).

I was shocked and surprised to see yellow bumps on the back legs of a few bees returning to both hives. Was that pollen I wondered? I had to lean close and watch a minute. It didn't take long until I saw that the bees were actually finding pollen and bringing it back to the hive.

My respect and admiration for the clever bees grows all the time. How smart, to forage in old flowers from last fall for bits of pollen that wasn't collected last year. The bees are so resourceful it's amazing.

I'm very grateful to see the hives have survived our winter. This winter was not as cold as usual and we did not get the fluctuating temperatures from warm to cold to warm again. That is what my friend Henry says causes problems for the bees.

I am very much looking forward to another year with the bees. They've never been far from my thoughts.

I have ordered two more nucs for this spring so I'll be increasing from 2 hives to 4. Hopefully that'll mean enough honey for all the sweet tooths in the family.
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