February Bee Forage Plants – Part Three

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.

This post follows on from the February Bee Forage Post, and from the February Bee Forage Plants Part Two post. You might want to follow the links to the original posts first.

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.

Bee on snowdrop

Bee on Snowdrop

As the sun grew stronger, my crocusses started to open, and I took a few pictures, of which this is the best.

Bee on Crocus

Bee on Crocus

Later I went to look at some of my neighbour’s plants, and spotted bees on Pulmonaria.

Bee on Pulmonaria

Bee 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.

Bee forage

Bee on Viburnum tinus

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.

bee forage plants

Bee on Gorse

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.

Bees and Hive

Bees and Hive

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.

Bees and Warre Hive

Bees and Warre Hive

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.

Take Care

Deano

2 thoughts on “February Bee Forage Plants – Part Three

  1. foodnstuff

    Hi Deano,

    Lovely photos! Did you make the beehives? What is the timber? I’m keen to have bees someday. I’ve bought The Barefoot Beekeeper, but that’s as far as I’ve got.

    I’d love to have a go at making a Warre hive.

    Regards,
    Bev

    Reply
    1. Deano Post author

      Hi Bev
      I made the Warre hive, but not the National. The Warre hive is made from pine, treated with linseed.
      There are plans at the Warre Portal, which is no longer updated. There are stacks of Warre related links on there. I spent months reading all of the old posts, before I tried Warre beekeeping, and would imagine that there is much more to go through.
      David Heaf, who manages the site, has recently published a book on Warre beekeeping, which I haven’t read yet. It’s called Bee-Friendly Beekeeper, which I’ve just found on Amazon.UK.
      Hope that helps, and look forward to hearing/reading about how you get along.
      All of the best

      Deano

      Reply

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