Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The bees at the end of March

Isn't rhubarb gnarly looking when it first pokes up out of the warming spring soil?
I think of aliens, and brains, or maybe alien brains? What I don't think of is pollen.
There isn't any.

 But take a close look at the bees...

You might just about be able to see that some of these little gals are so heavily laden with pollen that they can barely fly.  Look at that little group of three to the right of the sugar feeder.  The two flying above are looking at her stash of the good yellow stuff. 

They aren't finding any pollen in the currant bushes.  The first leaves are very tightly furled up, with no bud or blossom in sight.

If you look on the board behind her, you'll see another gal with some pollen, and another buzzing around in the air just above her.

The aspen trees have little catkins dangling down, but no yellow pollen could be coaxed out by me.  Maybe my little bees know a secret?

The lilacs are definitely bare, but they would be.  Even the tulips around here have a few weeks before they'll bloom.

Cherry?  Same thing!

I know of only one place in this whole town where you can find pollen.  It's about a half mile away, but that's definitely within a healthy bee's territory.  Tomorrow I need to go to the greenhouses in the Bi-Mart parking lot and see if any of my gals are hanging out in there.  I wouldn't blame them, what with the primroses and pansies and poppies in bloom, and the warm plastic sheeting over top to hold in the sun's warmth...

So yeah, I have a good scientific reason to go down there--I'm just scoping out the range of my bees, that's all.  It certainly isn't to imprudently purchase impatiens to plant in the snow forecast for tonight.

Bees. Yup.  That's my story, and I'm sticking with it!


  1. I'm smiling so big at your bees right now!! They're beautiful, and they look so happy.

    Rhubarb. Yuck. My dad grew a lot of it when I was growing up and my mom would ruin perfectly good strawberry pie and jam with it.

  2. My bees have been bringing home pollen for a few weeks now. At first it was a real mystery to me too. But then I noticed that in my area (Maryland, just a few miles north of the Washington, DC, line) the silver maple trees were blooming. And crocuses and a few dandelions. And cherry and pear trees are beginning to open up too. So there's obviously something out there for them. Always glad to find a new beekeeper out there!

  3. Pollinatrix: My parents detested rhubarb, so I never once had a taste of it before I was an adult. Maybe that changes things? Also, I NEVER combine rhubarb with any other fruit. That's just icky.

    Pam: I just started the whole bee adventure early last summer. I thought the hive was a goner this fall (wasps had moved in) but I'm really happy to be wrong! Now I need to learn where to go from here. By the way, I clicked over to your blog and am now quite lost in time over there. Only just remembered to come back over here to finish this comment. Love it!

  4. Look at all the full pollen baskets! That's great detective work. Bi-Mart gets the benefit of your bees for free, and your girls bring home the goods :) I love this pot.