A variety of willow trees, wild and cultivated, provide an awesome hit of pollen and nectar for Newfoundland honey bees in the early spring.
I used to think Dandelions provided the first pollen for the bees in my climate, but it seems like Colts Foot might have the jump on the Dandelions, and Willow Catkins are a close second. When I see my bees bring in yellow pollen in the month of May (when it’s warm enough for the bees to forage), it could be from Dandelion, Colts Foots or Willow Catkins. It’s possible to see the difference between all these pollens as the bees bring them back to the hive, but that’s another story. Either way, willows are now on my list of honey bee friendly flowers in Newfoundland.
Yes, that’s the order here in NS: Coltsfoot, willow/alder, dandelion and maple. I just moved some hives to an area thick with willow, dandelion & sugar maple (all of which they never had good access to before) and it was total pandemonium. I’ve never seen so much pollen in my hives, frames full of it. And also yellow wax like what I see in your hives. Usually my wax is pale boring beige.
Here’s a great listing of all the pollens, colors and qualities: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_pollen_sources