It was only about 7°C in the backyard today (45°F), but it was enough for the bees in Hive #2 to bring in some pollen for the first time this year.
I’ve embedded a slide show below, but to really get in and see the individual specs of pollen on the bees and their fuzzy little hairs, go to my Picasa page, click on the first photo in the series and click through them individually. The details in the close-up photos always show up better on the actual Picasa page.
I like this photo from Hive #1 because it shows how fuzzy all the bees are now:
We didn’t expect to see the bees bring in pollen for another couple weeks. Natural sources of pollen and nectar are scarce. The bees must have discovered some flowers like this growing in someone’s flowerbed nearby:
A friend of ours gave us these crocuses today. The bees were on them as soon as Jenny put them in the ground, but bees from Hive #2 were bringing in loads more pollen than could be had from the few flowers in our yard. One of neighbours must have planted a forest of flowers.
I noticed the pollen on the bees today while I was adding some peppermint oil to the syrup in our newly installed jar feeders (which replaced the leaky hive top feeders). I noticed the bees didn’t seem interested in the syrup from the original hive top feeders and I could tell they hadn’t touched a drop of syrup from the jar feeders. So I decided to add pure peppermint oil to the mix in the hopes that it might entice them to sample the syrup. (I also gave Hive #2 a pollen patty and a candy cake just for kicks.) The next batch of syrup will have anise seed oil, which apparently drives them wild.