A bit of pollen

The bees have found lots of little bits of early pollen.

Today’s high was only 12 ºC (53F), but the bees had discovered pollen. It’s surprising how small the pollen pelts are, and doubly surprising that nearly every bee is carrying some. Both of our backyard colonies are weak, but coming along. Both have sealed brood and enough bees to nurse their young. Although pollen is flowing, we still gave both hives a pollen cake to help them help themselves.

Pollen supplement, placed on top bars, over pearl brood.

The better hive has four frames of brood. That’s not much, but there were plenty of young adults emerging. With all the fresh pollen, the bees may be on their way to the big league. Should you feed supplementary pollen when the bees are gathering pollen? Well, it’s only April 3rd.  Here in Calgary, it can turn cold in a hurry at this time of the year. The last of the spring snowstorms is still in our future. The pollen supplement will help the bees through the bad weather that’s surely coming.

I see adults emerging from the brood!

This was only our third look at the bees for the year. On a mild day in mid-January, we gave them a bit of fondant. They were very weak and were already up in the second brood chamber. I’m glad we fed them because it turned really cold for the next six weeks. Then, on March 22, we dropped the hives to single-story and gave the bees their first pollen supplement and some liquid stimulation-syrup. Today, it was more pollen and an inspection of the brood nests. I was happy with what I saw.

If you work bees in cool weather, expect them to hang on to your clothes and face. It’s what they do.

About Ron Miksha

Ron Miksha is a geophysicist who also does a bit of science writing and blogging. Ron has worked as a radio broadcaster, a beekeeper, and is based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. He has written two books, dozens of magazine and journal articles, and complements his first book, Bad Beekeeping, with a popular blog at www.badbeekeepingblog.com. Ron wrote his most recent book, The Mountain Mystery, for everyone who has looked at a mountain and wondered what miracles of nature set it upon the landscape. For more about Ron, including some cool pictures taken when he was a teenager, please check Ron's site: miksha.com.
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