View Full Version : Red Pollen?
Close to 70 today and my girls are so happy flying around. Noticed that they're bringing in lipstick red pollen! Where are they getting this from. Photos can be seen at http://groups.msn.com/BHGFriendlyGardeners/3sacharm.msnw?action=ShowPhoto&PhotoID=20103. I've posted five photos; just click on "next" if you want to see them all.
12-31-2004, 03:00 PM
Are you sure that this was pollen, and
not propolis (tree sap)?
Your photos show objects attached to the
legs of the bees that are very non-spherical,
and bees tend to form pollen balls into
Not every pollen ball is perfectly round,
but if the bee can't form it into a ball,
I wonder if it is propolis, which the bee
often can't form as well as they'd like
to form it with just their legs.
Many trees have reddish sap, but red pollen
such a bright shade of red would be rare,
and even more rare during December.
Williston, NC???!!?? Is El's Diner still
open in Morehead City, home of the best
oyster burger in at least this arm of the
galaxy? I used to sail up from Florida,
dock at Beaufort, and go straight to El's.
12-31-2004, 03:17 PM
They do look a bit roundish, oddly shaped, and shiny for pollen.
12-31-2004, 03:56 PM
Not sure what you have here. When I lived in
southern California the bees would bring in some very vivid colored pollen, some of it was bright red that the harvested from the bottle brush which is popular for freeway landskaping as well of private yards. The bottle brush is a variety of eucalyptus which is in the myrtle family. This pollen would really show up mixed with the other pollen.
12-31-2004, 03:58 PM
Not sure what you have here. When I lived in
southern California the bees would bring in some very vivid colored pollen, some of it was bright red that the bes harvested from the bottle brush which is popular for freeway landskaping as well of private yards. The bottle brush is a variety of eucalyptus which is in the myrtle family. This pollen would really show up mixed with the other pollen.
12-31-2004, 03:59 PM
am I ever fumbled fingered today.
I guess it could be propolis--never thought of that. We've had six pine trees cut down and there's a lot of sawdust lying around the property. Could that be it? Why would they collect so much propolis?
Yes, El's is still open and going strong. I'm ashamed to say I've never been there myself, but the parking lot is always full. It's quite a landmark and the locals are very proud of El's. If you're ever again in the area, please get in touch.
Hey, Earl. I wonder if it could be any of the things you propose. In the summer of '03 I planted 2 eucalyptus and have both crepe and wax myrtles as well. Maybe I have to make further observations tomorrow--it's supposed to be in the 70's again, and I'm sure my girls will be flying. To be continued. . .
12-31-2004, 04:11 PM
For my $0.02 worth, it looks like propolis to me, also. I had some bees bringing some in once about the same color. Their saddle bags weren't that full, though; only about half full.
12-31-2004, 06:08 PM
I live in north georgia and my bees been bring in same. might be early red maple.
01-01-2005, 07:35 AM
> We've had six pine trees cut down and there's
> a lot of sawdust lying around the property.
> Could that be it? Why would they collect so
> much propolis?
'Cause there's nothing else to gather up,
and the bees will bring back whatever they
01-01-2005, 09:23 AM
Great pictures, Tia!
01-01-2005, 03:13 PM
Tia, I think it is pollen because my bees bring in a red pollen that same color. It is the same color as my metal storage barn. I dont get as much as you get though. At first I thought it was propolis but I checked it under a microscope and sure enough it was pollen. It looks like your weather is nice enough to open a hive and check. I checked my hives this weekend and I did see some red beebread.
Hey better yet catch a bee and send it to me. I will post a picture of what it is! Just email me.
01-01-2005, 03:23 PM
I was talking to the retired bee inspector here in Nebraska one day. He said he once saw some blue pollen in a hive and asked the beekeeper if he knew where it came from. He said he did and took the inspector to an old blue tractor where the bees were pulling off the blue paint and packing it in pollen baskets.
01-01-2005, 03:42 PM
I caught my bees cavorting in a pile of sawdust last spring!
01-01-2005, 04:33 PM
Along with the normal shades of pollen and the red, the bees in Ventura County California would bring in lavender, black and white pollen. The lavender would come from the wild mountian lilacs but have no idea where the white or black came from.
01-01-2005, 06:21 PM
I am no expert on pollen versus propolis but January is the time for eastern NC red maple to start bloom. I drove around a little today, was not struck on any red colors though. I'll keep my eyes open in the afternoon though. It was warm enough, I am not sure that anything is really blooming.
In January the red can be seen in the trees as the first sign of anything blooming.
01-07-2005, 12:11 AM
Having a decent Microscope can be a big plus. My buddy has a good one and I am looking to get one.
01-09-2005, 09:19 AM
Tia: We had a run of warn weather here in Northern Virginia a few weeks back and I had the same thing (looked amazing like my girls!!). I suspected at first it was pollen but old local beekeepers assured me it was propolis. You are much further South so your might be pollen! It is warming up this week to the mid 60's again and I will be putting a watchful eye on my girls again hoping for pollen!
01-09-2005, 03:01 PM
I noticed my bees were working some dandilions in my front yard today. I don't even think it hit 60 F today... but they were out collecting nectar & pollen. I never noticed before that dandilions can bloom this early, but maybe I just didn't pay attention.
01-09-2005, 03:38 PM
Horse Chestnut produces a red pollen. The trees up here produce it in April, probably much sooner in the southern US.
01-09-2005, 06:55 PM
Hey whitebark, where is "up here"? Thanx
01-09-2005, 07:12 PM
Id have to agree with fat/beeman sure looks like red maple pollen to me....I do know that red maple blooms before its buds break and leaf out.
01-09-2005, 07:36 PM
would be Vancouver, BC.
01-09-2005, 08:05 PM
My girls will bring in corn dust from the feed all winter long. At or above 50 there will be any were from 1 - 3 doz at a time.
Well, gee, franc, thanks. I didn't know that tidbit. Normal bud break for the red maple here in Coastal North Carolina is a week or two away, but with the unseasonable temps we've been having since Christmas (65-70), could be the maples have started early. I've been trying to find signs of red up there, but I'm nearsighted and can't see that far. Too, they're storing it like pollen, so I'm leaning toward it being pollen.
01-10-2005, 10:37 AM
<<I caught my bees cavorting in a pile of sawdust last spring!>>
They raid the local dairy farms grain/protein supplement every spring here, usually just for a day or two before they find something more worthy of their attention.
01-10-2005, 11:19 AM
Red Maples bloom first and then leaf out. With the warmer than normal temperatures so far this season, they will bloom earlier.
01-10-2005, 12:22 PM
Shir is great to hear ya all have busy bees.Its 42 below wind chill hear celcius and 2 feet of snow.Checked all 30 and all doing well yet tho.
01-10-2005, 04:43 PM
I was checking the red maples around here and the upper branches on some trees are actually blooming not very many blooms but a few.
01-10-2005, 05:15 PM
i have been feeding my weak hives the last two weeks its been in the 70s during the day . the girls have been though 100 pounds of suger. when can you start feeding pollen substitute
01-13-2005, 04:52 AM
It seems that the busy bees are working on small amounts of Red Maple Pollen, but the end of this is near as old man winter is starting to come back into the eastern half of the country this weekend. It really has been great seeing the girls out conducting their business, but I guess it is back to the old cluster......
I attended our county beekeepers association meeting Tuesday night. It was confirmed that the bees are bringing in pollen from the red maple. I even saw them bringing in some yellow pollen yesterday (74 degrees--and today we're supposed to get a record breaker). Regarding rocky ridge bees' question, here in coastal NC, we'll switch over to 1:1 syrup and start feeding pollen about Feb 1. That's what's great about local beekeeping associations: you can get the absolute information specifically for your area.
01-16-2005, 12:04 PM
Best way to find out what the mystery loads are, is to use a microscope.
Maybe my brain is misfiring today, but I'm pretty sure Red Maple pollen is not red, it is a sickly green-gray color. Flower color is not indicative of pollen color.
There are stories of bees collecting red paint as alternative sources of propolis, but I have seen red (and every other color) pollen as well.
01-16-2005, 12:08 PM
Looks like pollen to me, maybe from one of the early season bulb flowers?
01-16-2005, 03:03 PM
>Flower color is not indicative of pollen color.
Pollen from wild (red) roses up here is a greyish-green.
01-16-2005, 11:12 PM
There are only a few flowers with red pollen. Most blooming during summer, the only one in early i know spring are snowdrop.
Right now I'm not home--I'm in the Turks and Caicos Islands (just southeast of the Bahamas) and with the change of weather--a cold front--in NC, my girls are up north staying clustered in below-50 weather. All I can tell you is that they were storing it in cells before I left and the last two days before I left (Jan14 & 15), they were also bringing in yellow pollen. I'm pretty much convinced it is pollen and not propolis. When I get home, if the weather warms, I'll be extracting some from the cells and giving it to my beekeeper friend to send on to the extension office for analysis.