Friday, March 20, 2009

Foragers Return with Pollen

With the changing of seasons from winter to spring, the honey bees take advantage of any warm day to forage for pollen and nectar. The pollen is of particularly great importance for feeding the developing brood. The best nutrition is derived from a mixture of pollens from various sources. Here, we see the foraging honey bees entering the hive with their pollen baskets loaded with pollen from multiple sources.

Some readers of my posting of Wednesday, March 18, 2009 questioned what they were seeing in the photo of the frame of bees with cells filled with pollen. Let me reprint Wednesday’s picture from inside the hive. Here is an explanation of some of the objects we see: In the center we see one foraging bee with pellets of pollen on the pollen baskets of her hind legs. Across the lower portion of the frame we see cells packed with yellow, orange, and red pollen. The black, shiny cells are filled with honey. The tan-colored cells with a “damp” appearance are filled with “bee bread,” made of pollen mixed with honey. Finally, the loose yellow flakes are recently collected pieces of pollen that have not yet been packed by the bees into the cells. Click on the image for a larger view.

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