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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Alexandria, VA
    Posts
    370

    Default Swollen red pollen baskets?

    So I was looking at my bees today and saw something odd. It LOOKED like the pollen basket areas of one bee were large and swollen--large for a leg, but small for a load of pollen. At first I was thinking, wow, that's some blood-red pollen, but when I looked closer, the basket was completely smooth, not granulated like even packed pollen is--it was actually a dark orange-red color. All the other bees are bringing in greenish (maple?) pollen right now. The bee was dragging its back legs--they were in the right position, but hardly moving as the bee walked--a lot more than bees with bigger loads of pollen.

    My second thought was that the bee had a varroa on each leg--it was about that color. And that could be it. But they were in the exact same place on each leg and I couldn't see any distinguishing characteristics, and it looked like it went all the way around.

    Anyone ever see anything like this?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    OKC, OK USA
    Posts
    2,869

    Default Re: Swollen red pollen baskets?

    Might be propolis.
    Mike Forbes
    Red Dirt Apiaries

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Clinton County, Michigan USA
    Posts
    300

    Default Re: Swollen red pollen baskets?

    As for red pollen:
    Henbit- blooms very early, my bees seem to like it but it isn't supposed to be a good source of pollen. Also I have never seen a full load of it in the pollen basket, maybe 1/6 full. Hope this helps.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Huntsville, Alabama
    Posts
    678

    Default Re: Swollen red pollen baskets?

    My girls are bringing in some BRIGHT red pollen right now, too. Probably 20 cells or so in each frame have it. Sticks out like a sore thumb compared to the yellow/orange that's in the rest of the cells. There will be one or two bees walking around with it on their legs, too. Any idea what it is?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Mtn. View, Arkansas, USA
    Posts
    1,260

    Default Re: Swollen red pollen baskets?

    Quince? They are just starting to bloom here.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Linden, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    24

    Default Re: Swollen red pollen baskets?

    I was checking my hives today and noticed the same thing -- most bees were bringing in pale yellow-green pollen, but a very small minority had their bags packed with bright red pollen. I looked around for some info on this, and found a chart on various pollen colors: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pollen_source

    The closest color on this chart is "red yellow," which is listed as pear pollen.

    I haven't noticed any pear trees blooming in my neighborhood, but I may be missing it; I keep getting distracted by the brighter blooms, like forsythia and maple. Henbit could be the candidate. I'd never heard of it, but after Muskrat Creek mentioned it, I looked it up, and I have seen it growing in my neighborhood. Here's a picture: http://www.turffiles.ncsu.edu/weeds/henbit.aspx

    Hope this helps.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Alexandria, VA
    Posts
    370

    Default Re: Swollen red pollen baskets?

    I appreciate all the pollen candidates, but do any of these pollens come in smooth and shiny? The things on the bee's legs didn't look granular.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Stillwater, OK
    Posts
    17

    Default Re: Swollen red pollen baskets?

    Smooth and shiny would be propolis

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    dadeville, alabama, USA
    Posts
    1,163

    Default Re: Swollen red pollen baskets?

    Henbit, which is a type of mint, would be my guess. TK

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Clinton County, Michigan USA
    Posts
    300

    Default Re: Swollen red pollen baskets?


  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Columbia county, New York, USA
    Posts
    1,535

    Default Re: Swollen red pollen baskets?

    Google Images is a wonderful thing

    "bee leg propolis" =

    http://www.devonbeekeepers.org.uk/bees6c.html
    The little bee returns with evening's gloom,
    To join her comrades in the braided hive... -Tennyson

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