Monday, April 11, 2011

Sign of spring: Bees at work!

This video clip, taken last week, shows these honey bees are anxious to get to work. However, since natural pollen from blossoms is not yet available in this part of the U.P., the bees are collecting soy flour, a pollen substitute, during the early days of spring. (Video clip by Gustavo Bourdieu of Keweenaw Now)

By Gustavo Bourdieu, beekeeper and Keweenaw Now photographer
Translated from the Spanish by Michele Bourdieu

HANCOCK -- Bees take up their normal life again at the end of winter and begin to populate their hive anew. Because of the number of winter days without any activity outside the hive, when the temperature rises a little they begin to reproduce. In order to do this, they access their reserves of honey and also the pollen they have stored. However, at this time of year, the remaining stored pollen is insufficient for their needs.

Since flowers are lacking as well, they are given, as soon as possible, a pollen substitute as a source of energy for feeding their larvae. In this part of the Upper Peninsula, where spring and summer seasons are very short, it is necessary to have a maximum number of worker bees (those that gather pollen) at the very moment that blossoms appear.

It is for this reason that I help them with soy flour as a substitute for pollen. We hope to have a good honey harvest this year.

I recommend that consumers eat local honey and pollen for protection against allergies.

Happy new spring season to everyone!

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