I post this for my own records. I saw some of my bees with a sprinkle of yellow pollen on their legs yesterday and today I managed to snap off this blurry photo of a honey bee with what I’d call a good load of pollen.
First pollen of the year in Flatrock, Newfoundland, and it’s yellow. (April 17, 2016.)
It seems too early for dandelions or any other naturally yellow flower, so I’m guessing someone has some crocuses planted nearby. Good enough. Spring in Newfoundland hasn’t quite sprung yet, but we’re getting there.
First pollen on the year. Bee resting on old sugar cake. (April 17, 2016.)
The pollen could also bee from coltsfoot, a.k.a. Tussilago, though I haven’t seen any around. It could pollen from pussy willows too. I’ll have to look around when I have a chance.
April 24th, 2016: A week later the bees were bringing in more of the same pollen.
Seeing how there was snow on the ground, my guess is the pollen had to come from a bush or tree, not a ground level plant like crocuses.
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.