Sunday, April 12, 2009

Bee pollen

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.


Anonymous said...

I am glad your bees all made it through. By winter I was down to one hive. And about a week after I posted the "glowing bees" I checked on them to find the cluster dead.... After 5 years I might just take a year off. I've had decent success, not sure what happened this time.
I think the gray pollen is alder and the yellow dandelion (I think)

Bruce King said...

Not all of them survived; I have normal die-off of about 15% a year. Just the year before last was especially brutal for me; lost about 60%.

Dave said...

I just hived my first three last week, I get two more tomorrow. I think the yellow is alder but could be skunk cabbage and the orange is maple but you never know,

Anonymous said...

I looked into bees for this year. I was finally organized enough to get them in time and get set up. Unfortunately, all the advise I got was 'don't bother'. Apparently Bella Coola is not a good option for bees, darn it! In fact, all the fellows (all two of them) who raised bees here lost them in the past two years: not enough fodder, too cold, too wet, too much mildew, and disease. Now I know why the prairies and drier places are where our honey comes from.

I'll stick to making birch syrup I guess!