The flow is on!

The honey flow, that is.  That’s beekeeper-speak for the time of year when nectar is sufficiently abundant that bees can collect more than they need on a daily basis.  Around here the main “flow” is blackberries, and they are just starting to bloom.  Standing at the hives I watched about 20% of the bees head straight south, toward our main blackberry patch (though I imagine some of those bees went much farther south).

Blackberry pollen is gray, as you can see in these photos.  Pollen comes in many colors in addition to the typical golden yellow.  In the past couple of weeks I’ve seen bees with pollen baskets that are bright orange, deep red, lemon yellow, brown, blue-gray, and almost black.  A few plants even produce bright blue pollen, though I haven’t seen any blue-basketed bees at our hives yet this year.

About 20% of the bees are heading south, but at least half make a bee line to the northeast.  Wanting to see what might be that direction I stepped over the fence into the neighbor’s pasture and found a solid field of white clover and daisies.  The bees should have plenty to eat these days, and I’m hopeful they will produce at least a little bit of surplus honey…

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