13 hours ago
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Click on the picture for a larger version. The bees have found something that is producing pollen. Probably alder, maybe maple. The two bees in the center of the picture have pollen on their rear legs. One has yellow pollen, the other, in front of it, orange pollen.
Pollen is a high-protein food that bees use directly, and feed to their larvae. They also store it in the combs, usually close to where larvae are being raised. Since I've started feeding them they've switched their forage from nectar (which there's not much of this time of year) to pollen.
I had pretty good survival this year; out of my 45 hives I lost 2; normal losses for me are 15-20%. The primary difference I think is the screen bottom board, which both allows bee mites (a type of bee parasite) to drop through, and provides more ventilation, which seems to keep the hive dryer.