Today the weather warmed up, and I was surrounded by bees foraging whilst I worked. Well, surrounded isn’t technically correct, I was between them, and their forage. I took a bit of time off to take some pictures for this post, and got one or two really good shots. I also noticed/remembered a couple more useful bee forage plants.
The first plants that I saw bees on today were the Winter Flowering Honeysuckle. I’m guessing that the strong scent drew foragers very quickly. The honeysuckle kept bees occupied all day, so either it was producing a lot of nectar, or the smell kept drawing bees long after the nectar was all taken.
Next were the snowdrops. Not only were the bees working it hard, but most of them were gathering pollen. This is a sure sign that they are producing brood. It isn’t necessary to open the hive to see what’s going on inside, if you watch what’s going on outside.
The picture below shows a bee working snowdrops, and the orange pollen is visible on it’s legs.
As the sun grew stronger, my crocusses started to open, and I took a few pictures, of which this is the best.
Later I went to look at some of my neighbour’s plants, and spotted bees on Pulmonaria.
When I was taking this picture, all I could hear was buzzing, and when I looked up, there was a Lauraustinus (Viburnum tinus), just coming into flower. It was humming. I couldn’t get a decent picture, but this is the best of the bunch.
Finally, whilst out checking some Warre hives, I spotted a single gorse bush flowering before its neighbours. Again, it was being worked by lots of bees.
As well as foraging, the bees were taking orientation flights, cleansing, and maybe there were newly hatched bees flying for the first time. I was too busy to get up close to check for young bees, which you can spot by their hairy bodies. The hairs wear away as they get older.
Here are pictures of two of the hives.
This first picture is a double National hive. The mesh in front of the entrance is a robbing guard, which I have been using as a mouse guard.
This last picture is a Warre hive. The mesh is to protect the hive from woodpecker damage, but I will be removing it now that Winter is over.
It was great to see the bees active again, but there’s still a bit to go before they’re safely through the Winter, and much depends on the weather.