This afternoon I was really excited to see not only lots of bee action from all of our hives, but also lots of bees bringing home pollen. The first pollen of the year! Here are some shots of a little worker heavily loaded with pollen that I took this afternoon.
Forager bees visit flowers and mix the pollen with saliva before placing it into their pollen sacks. Once they return the hive nurse bees unload them and take the pollen into the hive, while the foragers go out for more. In the hive, pollen is mixed with nectar to make brood food.
Seeing bees hauling full pollen sacks, told me both that something out there is blooming and also that the queens will soon be laying eggs for brood. I am very curious what is blooming, and my hunch is it's maple trees or willows. I've been told they are the first bloom in this area. As far as the queens beginning to lay, this tells me that I need to be ready for the populations to grow rapidly and swarm season is coming. Exciting times!