Pollen colour

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BDT123
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Pollen colour

Unread post by BDT123 » April 9th, 2017, 11:45 pm

So, is there a way to know what kind of pollen bees are bringing by colour? Last week it was all bright yellow, and only evident bloom was Aspen and Willow.
Now, the pollen is grey. No new bloom evident, but that's not too definitive.
Do I need to get a microscope and sample, or ignore it and just be happy they found 'something'?
In the vast scheme of things, does it matter one whit?!
Just want to know everything, I guess. Does anyone else care what the bees bring in?
Just asking.
As a secondary question, does pollen imply nectar coming in? Never heard of a linkage.
Could the bees be getting lots of protein from pollen and be lacking carbs from nectar?
Lots of protein and no carbs could be problem, right?
Again, just asking.
Regards,
Brian

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Countryboy
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Re: Pollen colour

Unread post by Countryboy » April 10th, 2017, 2:59 am

If I had to guess, I would say that it is probably Elm, assuming that you guys have Elms in Alberta.

Wikipedia has a decent page showing pollen colors identifying the plants by the season.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pollen_source

No, just because bees are bringing in pollen does not mean they are bringing in nectar. And vice versa.
Look at a frame with open brood. You should have a band of pollen around the brood. Then you should have a band of liquid nectar/open honey around the pollen, and then you will have capped honey after that.

That area of open honey/nectar is what they are eating and feeding baby bees. If nectar is coming in, this is where they store the nectar first. They want it close so they can feed it to the baby bees. If there is no open honey/nectar near the larvae, then the bees are hungry and need fed syrup. If there is no nectar coming in, they will be uncapping honey and trying to thin it down to use as feed.

The outer frames of the cluster (as the spring cluster is expanding) the bees will usually fill with pollen and nectar. You can always shake this frame to see if nectar droplets rain out of it. (Grab the frame end bars with each hand, with one side of the comb facing you. Give it a hard shake downwards. If it has fresh nectar, it will rain nectar droplets.) This is an easy way to tell if you have fresh nectar coming in.
B. Farmer Honey
Central Ohio

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BDT123
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Re: Pollen colour

Unread post by BDT123 » April 10th, 2017, 6:40 pm

Country, thanks for the great link. So my bright yellow pollen looks like definitely Willow. No Elms in this area, lots in the city but that's 100 clicks east.
Mystery grey pollen! But, up here lots of trees and shrubs not on the list.
I can't put the liquid feed on yet, still below freezing at night. However, the sugar board is getting heavily worked on so I guess they are getting carbs. Also lots of wax cappings, so they must be working out to the edges of stored honey.
Can't open brood nest yet, our high temp today was +3 C, about 37F. It will be another week or more until I do a deep dive.
Thank you for the advice. Will post again when I know more.
Best regards,
Brian

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BDT123
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Re: Pollen colour

Unread post by BDT123 » April 19th, 2017, 9:34 pm

So, pulled the sugar board and replaced with liquid sugar syrup jug. 4 litres of 1.5: 1
Bees are bringing in lots of yellow and grey pollen; decided to up the carbohydrate intake.
Feeder is contained in a medium super. Nice that the dimensions worked out.
Huge flight today, got up to +12, dandelions blooming as the snow melted today!! WTH?
Still no deep dive into hive. Top box looked empty, so made decision to start feeding with syrup.
Top box was all honey in November. So many 'warm-ups' and 'cool downs' since then the bees don't know whether to s**t or go blind! Holy cow, what a challenging first year this has been!
Lots of optimism based on what I saw today.
Snow the last 3 days, but today was a nice change.
Hope y'all are doing well. That's my 'Americanism' from working in the oil patch with y'all.
Brian

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