Break on Through, Through The Other Side

It might not look like much, but with the melting snow exposing my dead lawn comes the crocuses, the first hit of pollen my bees will get to taste this year — as long as the plants don’t get covered with snow before they bloom.

Crocuses breaking on through. (March 21st, 2021.)

Not quite spring yet, but we’re getting there.

Crocuses on the first day of “spring.” (March 21st, 2021.)

Today may be the first official day of spring, but that doesn’t count until my bees are bringing in natural pollen, which is likely another month from now.

It’s always good to keep in mind that seasons in Newfoundland are usually at least a month behind everyone else.

A couple days later:

Honey Bees on Snow Crocuses

More slow motion shots of honey bees on crocuses. For people stuck at home looking for a break, it’s not bad to watch this one in full-screen mode in the highest resolution. No audio required, though you might like that too.

Honey bees on crocus flower. (April 14th, 2020, Flatrock, Isle of Newfoundland.)

This time the bees are in better focus (though I’m still working out some of the kinks).

Don’t ask me what variety of crocuses these are because I have no idea. (Update: But apparently they’re commonly called Snow Crocuses. I’ve revised the title of this post to reflect this newfound knowledge.)

The video was shot on a pocket-sized camera called a Sony RX-100v.

Honey Bee Friendly Flower: Crocus

I noticed bees from one of the hives bringing in pollen while I was at it. I looked around and saw these flowers — Crocuses, I assume — poking up through the dead colourless leaves and sticks around the front of ny house.

First flowers of 2012. (April 11, 2012.)

First flowers of 2012. (April 11, 2012.)

I couldn’t get a good photo of the bees bringing in the pollen, but if you look at the anthers inside these flowers, that’s the exact colour of the pollen the bees were bringing in.

Crosuses. (April 11, 2012.)

Crosuses. (April 11, 2012.)

I didn’t notice the bees bringing in pollen last year until April 13th. Way to go spring. It was almost 20°C when I took these photos.

First Spring Pollen

It was only about 7°C in the backyard today (45°F), but it was enough for the bees in one of my hives to bring in some pollen for the first time this year.

I like this photo because it shows how fuzzy all the bees are now:

I 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 mine gave me these crocuses today. The bees were on them as soon as I put them in the ground, but the bees were bringing in loads more pollen than could be had from the few flowers in our yard. One of my 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 my newly installed jar feeders. I noticed the bees didn’t seem interested in the syrup from the original hive top feeders I had installed 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 one of the hives 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.
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