...with pollen, that is! My two hives of bees survived the winter and seem to be doing well. Yesterday I watched them flying in, absolutely loaded with pollen.
They gather the pollen by packing it into "pollen baskets" on their hind legs. The big yellow blobs you see on these girls are full loads of the stuff! Pollen comes in various colours; I saw shades of yellow yesterday. I was told that around here, the girls take pussywillow pollen in early spring. Other flowers are starting to bloom now, too. I have seen daffodils in sheltered areas, but mine aren't out yet.
I don't have the winter wrapping off the hives yet, but will do soon.
Look at all that lovely pollen. Food for baby bees!
It's great to see the girls out foraging after a long, cold winter. In a few weeks, we will be splitting the hives. My mentor is bringing us two new queen bees. We will split each of the hives, and install a new queen in each half. Voilà, four hives from two!
If you don't manage your hives in this way, your hives will manage themselves. The hive will make a new queen in preparation for swarming, When they are ready, half the hive will leave forever with the new queen, leaving the old queen and their hive-mates behind. The bees will look for a new place to set up shop, like the hollow trunk of a tree.
We beekeepers prefer not to lose our bees in this way, so we do what we can to prevent it! I have never split a hive before so I am looking forward to learning all about it.
Be kind to honeybees!