Thursday, March 14, 2013

Sign of spring

I found this girl on my deck yesterday. It was a gorgeous day here in Massachusetts with temps in our yard just over 50' and lots of sunshine. If you look carefully, on her hind leg what can we see ... POLLEN!

So what are the early spring flowers that are in bloom?  Skunk cabbage, pussy willow and maybe an early crocus could all be a source of pollen. Given the very light color, I would normally say pussy willow but I haven't seen any out in our immediate area. Skunk cabbage is usually kind of a day-glo green-yellow and often the bees have pollen down their backs.  Crocus is a bit yellow-orange.

One other thought occurred to me last week while walking in the woods. Witch hazel still has some sad looking flowers on their branches. There is always the possibility of a few stray grains of pollen left on these flowers that bloomed late, late last fall.

Regardless of the source, I am so pleased to see pollen. Pollen means babies.

There have been dead bees in front of both hives over the last few days. While that is sad, it does mean that there had to be some live bees in the hive. At the moment, both hives are doing well but March isn't over and it is one of the most difficult months to survive as a bee. The temperatures fluctuate a lot and there really isn't much to eat out there for the bees. Early spring flowers don't have much in the way of nectar or even pollen.

So let's hope for some mild temperatures and hug a red maple tree. Red maples are a key source of nectar and pollen for bees.

Just one more picture - she's so cute. Oh, and she's a new baby - from an egg laid in 2013.

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