Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Honey bees on snowdrops

Today was sunny with a temperature of almost 10 degrees and the wind speed dropped almost into single figures so it was the best day of the year so far for the bees.  Even though it was cooler than they would like they came out to forage in numbers for the first time this year.

The bees were collecting pollen and nectar.  Snowdrop pollen is orange and some of the pollen baskets were loaded. The bees spend a lot of time grooming the pollen and can hang on to a flower with one leg while doing so.  They seem to clean their tongues with their front legs in flight after leaving a flower, as shown in the next two photos.

There are quite a lot of snowdrops in the garden - probably covering about 100 sq metres in the wood - and with the cold windy weather we have had all year so far I was worried the flowers would be over before the bees got out to them.


  1. You have blizzard of snowdrops! Do you think the tongue cleaning is an original observation?

    1. No. See some great photos at http://entomology.ucdavis.edu/?blogpost=1815&blogasset=45538 and http://www.mzephotos.com/gallery/insects/honey-bee-proboscis.html.

  2. "... a blizzard..." Missed the key!