Our honeybees sure are busy today on the farm! We have been feeding them sugar syrup so the queen will continue to lay eggs and build a healthy population to get through the winter. There aren’t many flowers blooming that are rich with nectar, but there sure are a lot blooming right now that are heavy with pollen. Just look at this bee coming in for a landing:
I could stand for hours and watch the honeybees coming in for a landing with their baskets just brimming with colorful pollen. That’s the food that gives them their protein. The nectar becomes honey, and that’s where they get their energy…carbohydrates…and that also helps them generate heat to keep their brood alive and healthy in the cold months.
These honeybees that are bringing in the pollen are the foragers, and they’ll pass the pollen along to house bees. They’ll pack it into empty cells in the comb and then the nurse bees will combine it with honey to make “bee bread” to feed the larvae. Honeybees can’t tell the difference between pollen and other powdered substances which might be on the flower….such as Sevin Dust…and pack it all into the cells just the same, make the bee bread and feed the larvae a poison-laced food. This is why it’s important to pay attention to what you are dousing your flowering vegetables and plants with!
I thought this was a great shot of two pollen-laden foragers coming in for a landing. See that the pollen on these is orange, while the pollen in the previous photo above is yellow. Wait till the winter and I’ll get a photo of foragers bringing in red pollen from the winter blooming henbit flower! Check out this page on henbit…you’ll be surprised that it is so useful, yet considered a “weed” that you might try to eradicate from your manicured lawn. (You can also click on the photo below to get to the info page on henbit.)
Isn’t the flower pretty? When there’s a carpet of these flowers, they are lovely. Since they are one of the few flowers that bloom here in the winter, it’s a considerate thing to do for the honeybees to allow this plant to live in your yard and garden. Henbit will go dormant once warm weather starts, so there’s no need to go to the trouble and expense of killing it with chemicals. For early gardening (such as cool weather crops like peas and spinach and lettuce), just pull the plant from the ground. Their roots are shallow and even a large plant comes up easily.
Come see us here on Fox Trot Farm Market on Sunday afternoons from 1:00-5:00 to stock up on raw honey, honey and beeswax soaps, Granny Bee’s Bakery goods made with our honey, our fresh eggs provided by happy free range hens, and quilted goodies and more! We’re located at 5066 Rowell RD, Lancaster, SC, just a pleasant ride through the country from your house, and we’re always happy to see folks!
See our honey bees, bunnies and other animals while you’re here shopping. (Full tours are by appointment any other day.)