March 07, 2010

Silver Maple


First Pollen of the Year
Incoming pollen means there are new bees to feed. The foragers have found the flowers of a something generous, most likely a silver maple a few houses away. The small flowers are held tightly against the branches and, from the ground, look like mere buds. They're not at all like the flowers of the regular maples, whose greenish-yellow flower hang in clusters that are easily seen.

This early season pollen is important, because without it the bees could not produce the royal jelly that is the only food the queen eats. A well-fed queen is necessary for healthy egg-laying and early brood production.

To feed the brood, nurse bees mix the pollen with stored honey to make bee bread. The honeycombs were covered with bees today, and as March (our snowiest month) is when many colonies starve out, we'll be monitoring stores closely.

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