What I’m thinking about :: Feb 2024

Trees. I am thinking about trees. The kind that give life to my bees.

 

Is it too soon for these thoughts? That’s how our recent sunshine and longer days affect me. I have the urge to go outdoors and check all the trees around the bees, checking for flower buds. Maples are out, willows are bulging and will burst soon.

 

Juniper started showing on my pollen reports last week. Maple, willow, elm. Cedar and poplar. These trees send out flowers before their leaves, providing life-giving pollen for brood as well as some nectar.

 

In the expected cold Februarys past, I imagine the bees in their dark hive, clustered. When they sense sunshine, they’ll send a kamikaze out.

“Well, she didn’t make it back, so I guess the time hasn’t come for us to forage yet.”

 

Bernd Heinrich wrote in Winter World about this. (Thank you to Heidi at Polk County Conservation’s book club all those years ago for introducing me to this title. Both of my grandmas would have loved it.) When we find dead bees in the snow without the fecal yellow and brown streaks, some times we’re seeing the remains that undertakers removed, and some times we’re seeing these kamikazes. 

 

I am not alone in thinking about trees for bees during the critical early months. When I reached out to Lee at Native Legacy Tree and Perennial Nursery to see if she might have any stock to sell at my DIY Nuc workshop, the answer was YES, and early blooming willow is included!

 

Check out the list now and prepare your wish list. Discounted shopping will be open to everyone whether you signed up to make a nuc or not. I can take payments that day.

My Phenology Calendar, A Beekeeper’s Year, may also help inform your decisions. Check it out >here<.

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