We’ve been watching the hives on and off over the last few days. I think the bees have settled into the relaxed way of life here in Ynyslas. They don’t seem to really get going until midday but are then pretty busy all afternoon.
Both hives have been lively whilst the sun is out and the winds light – this is of course relative as light winds here are anything less than 20 knots!.
We’ve been watching the bees leave the hives and fly off towards the estuary in the most part and then return. many return fully laden with pollen which is a good sign. we have however also been feeding them in order to help them build up to a full size colony. at the moment they’ll be busy drawing out comb for the queen to lay eggs in, but there won’t be many foraging bees in the colony, so feeding them gives them a little help. They got through a whole 2 litres of sugar syrup pretty quickly, so we’ll no doubt be topping up the feeder soon.
We’ve bought a pollen identification card so that we can hopefully tell what sort of plants the bees are foraging on. Yesterday there was quite a selection of pollens coming in. Some greenish grey in colour, another very pale grey in colour and lots of bright, almost iridescent gold coloured pollen that made the bees look as though they had been coated in gold leaf. I’m not really sure what plants they are coming from yet though. The pollen identification card lists the most common, native UK plants, but I guess there are plenty of other plants in gardens nearby that they could be foraging on. It’s possible however that the bright gold pollen is that of willow (there’s quite a bit of that locally), the greenish grey pollen could be bluebell and I’m not sure of the source of the pale grey pollen. The others are just guesses at the moment too..
There’s also a really good Wikipedia entry on the identification of pollen source – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pollen_source
We’ve also seen lots of bees drinking at the water feature which is good as that was one of the reasons for installing the water feature in the first place.
We’re planning our first inspection of the hives in the next couple of days as well. we just have to wait for a nice sunny day when we’re all here, but typically it looks as though the weather is turning later today.
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