Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Pollen baskets

Despite it being nearly November and despite near gale-force winds the bees were very active this morning, taking advantage of temperatures in the high teens.  Their accuracy in landing in blustery conditions was very impressive.  Many were carrying large loads in their pollen baskets.  Those with chrome yellow pollen were carrying the most.

Although the pollen looks as though it might interfere with walking or flying, even a large load is around 5mg, easily manageable when a bee weighs 90mg.  Others were collecting orange or grey pollen.

This one on the left below, just disappearing through the entrance, is carrying propolis (plant resin) which the bees use for sealing gaps in the hive.


  1. Still lots of flowers in bloom, clearly!

  2. It is difficult to know whether all this activity at this time of year is a good thing. If you read Rusty Burlew's blog at http://www.honeybeesuite.com/worried-about-my-bees/ she writes that foraging late in the year, driven by unseasonably high temperatures, may do more harm than good. Collecting pollen is all very well but if the bees are consuming more energy than than are bringing in as nectar they will start to deplete their stores before the winter sets in and their metabolism slows down. As you say Phil, there are obviously lots of flowers in bloom. Let's hope they are producing plenty of nectar as well as pollen.