Author Topic: Pollen and Nectar  (Read 307 times)

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Offline Jen

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Pollen and Nectar
« on: March 29, 2021, 01:03:42 pm »
In the early spring when bees start out packing in pollen, when does the nectar start coming in? Does pollen come first and then nectar as it warms up?
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Offline The15thMember

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Re: Pollen and Nectar
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2021, 06:13:41 pm »
I would think the answer would depend a lot on where you live, and what plants are the first to bloom.  In my area pollen comes first with the maples in early March, which don't provide a lot of nectar for me.  Now that the fruit trees are blooming, I'm having my first real nectar flow of the season. 
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Re: Pollen and Nectar
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2021, 07:59:06 pm »
Mine is always pollen from the red maples and whatever nectar they have. Next is pollen in vast abundance from the red cedar. We should shortly get some flow from gallberry. Your flow and pollen is only what's available in your bees forage range.

Offline Bakersdozen

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Re: Pollen and Nectar
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2021, 10:43:44 am »
Jen, I found this pdf file yesterday and thought it might be of help to you.  You have commented about the excessive pollen plugging your colonies.  Here is something you can do with it.
 http://www.abfconference.com/images/2020/Presentations/How_to_Collect_Harvest_Clean_Store_Use_Beeswax_Venom_Royal_Jelly_-_Jeannie_Saum.pdf If you scroll down to slide 38 you will find how to make bee bread  with pollen from the hive.  There is also a reference to a website with recipes. FAO.org.  To find those articles you need to do a search in the search bar.  I searched Bee Bread and numerous files popped up.
I know of a long time beekeeper that makes bee bread and consumes it for good health.
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Offline Gypsi

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Re: Pollen and Nectar
« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2021, 11:20:06 pm »
Mine is usually elm and holly pollen, I start feeding syrup, and the fruit trees start blooming
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Offline Zweefer

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Re: Pollen and Nectar
« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2021, 07:53:34 am »
Up here it is maple pollen.  nectar is usually 3 or so weeks after that...
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Offline Jen

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Re: Pollen and Nectar
« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2021, 03:08:49 pm »
Hi Zweefer  :) That is what I was wondering, if the nectar comes later. And I'm sure that it depends on the specific plant and location. But it seems to me that in mountain climate that the flowers would need some warm sunshine to bring up the nectar.
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Offline Zweefer

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Re: Pollen and Nectar
« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2021, 11:20:33 pm »
I will just state the general advice one of my mentors gave me - feed them syrup until they no longer show an interest.
They will take nectar over syrup any day of the week, so when it starts flowing, they will move to that.
Keeping of bees is like the direction of sunbeams.
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Offline Bakersdozen

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Re: Pollen and Nectar
« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2021, 10:46:18 am »
In the early spring when bees start out packing in pollen, when does the nectar start coming in? Does pollen come first and then nectar as it warms up?

Jen, I re-read your original question.
Remembering back to science class, we were taught that plants and pollinators evolved together.  In order for some plants to be pollinated, the plant entices the pollinator to it's petals with a reward of a bit of nectar.  While getting to the source of the nectar, the pollinator will brush up against the anthers, which is where the pollen is located, the pollen will stick to the hair or feathers.  As the pollinator moves from flower to flower, it deposits pollen and picks up more pollen.  Thus completing the pollination process.  It is my understanding that blooms produce nectar and pollen simultaneously.
Temperature is the biggest factor having an influence on a plant species bloom period.  Too cold, the plant is slow to bloom.  Too hot, the plant can bloom early and blooms will dry up early.
The amount of nectar a bloom produces can vary as well, based upon temperature and age of bloom.  During spring build up, foragers pack in the pollen to feed developing larvae.  They are bringing back nectar as well, but probably consuming it as fast as they bring it in.   
Some plant species are both desirable nectar and pollen sources for honey bees.  Some species are only pollen sources.  Some are only nectar sources.  The blooms produce both, but sometimes only one aspect is favored by honey bees.  I have seen my bees bringing in orange pollen on warm days in January.  They found old blooming plants somewhere that were still standing.
A great resource for beekeepers is Garden Plants for Honey Bees by Peter Lindtner.  The chapters are the 12 months so you know what is blooming during that month.  He does a fantastic job of using a point system.  Each plant is given a point system in regards to nectar and pollen. 

A trick to beekeeping can be knowing when to feed and stimulate egg laying.  Another trick can be knowing when to stop feeding so that your colony doesn't swarm.

Offline Jen

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Re: Pollen and Nectar
« Reply #9 on: April 08, 2021, 11:43:50 am »
Zweefer "I will just state the general advice one of my mentors gave me - feed them syrup until they no longer show an interest.
They will take nectar over syrup any day of the week, so when it starts flowing, they will move to that."

If bees in the wild don't get fed honey syrup in the spring, why do we feed sugar syrup until the flow?
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Offline iddee

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Re: Pollen and Nectar
« Reply #10 on: April 08, 2021, 01:41:02 pm »
You don't feed sugar syrup if they have enough honey stored.
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Offline The15thMember

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Re: Pollen and Nectar
« Reply #11 on: April 08, 2021, 01:44:25 pm »
Zweefer "I will just state the general advice one of my mentors gave me - feed them syrup until they no longer show an interest.
They will take nectar over syrup any day of the week, so when it starts flowing, they will move to that."

If bees in the wild don't get fed honey syrup in the spring, why do we feed sugar syrup until the flow?
As long as you leave your bees enough food for the winter so their honey supply lasts until the first flow, you don't need to feed them.  Wild bees are in the same boat, as long as they have stored enough honey over the previous summer, it lasts them until the spring flowers start.  I don't feed my bees in the spring unless they are running low on honey and in danger of starving.         
I come from under the hill, and under the hills and over the hills my paths led.  And through the air, I am she that walks unseen.

Offline Zweefer

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Re: Pollen and Nectar
« Reply #12 on: April 09, 2021, 10:09:57 am »
Agreed if they have the stores, no need to feed.
Up here very little has bloomed yet, and packages are arriving - guess i am just on that mode right now.
Keeping of bees is like the direction of sunbeams.
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