Dandelions are not perfect bee food, no single species is. Instead, they are very good food. They are early, they are everywhere. They are not particular. They teem with life. As a kid, I hated dandelions. In early spring before they bloomed, the greens—bitter and rank—were served fried in bacon fat and smothered in gravy. […] Read more
No. Honey is made from nectar, not pollen. Furthermore, the color of the pollen and the color of the nectar have nothing to do with each other. For example, blackberry pollen is gray and blackberry honey (made from the concentrated nectar) is medium amber.
As beekeepers we are used to seeing pollen pellets of a solid color. This is due to the famous “floral fidelity” of honey bees. It means that on any one foraging trip, a honey bee collects pollen from only one species of plant. Floral fidelity is one of the reasons honey bees are such good […] Read more
I wasn’t paying much attention to Pandora last night until I heard that old Bob Dylan tune, “Tangled up in Blue.” Oddly, I didn’t think of the ’70s or the desparately sad lyrics. No, not me . . . I thought about blue pollen. How weird is that? Those who have been reading this blog […] Read more
After I wrote about floral fidelity and the purity of pollen baskets, I received this awesome photo by Chelsea at thehoneybeat.com. Look carefully and you will see the worker in the center of the photo has pollen baskets of two distinctly different colors. So how did this happen? I’ve tried to think this through, but […] Read more
Jeff Harris, a beekeeper in Newfoundland, took this photo of his hive entrance. It’s a little hard to see, but several of the bees are bringing in green pollen. I’ve never seen green pollen down here in Fahrenheitland, so I wanted to share it. Thanks, Jeff, for an astute observation . . . and keep […] Read more
Yesterday I wrote that bees need a continuous supply of flowering plants such that something is always in bloom. I also mentioned that different types of bees prefer different types of flowers. What I didn’t discuss was the importance of pollen variety in the bee diet. I think it is easier to understand bee nutrition […] Read more