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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
    2,870

    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
    301

    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
    677

    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
    1,288

    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
    301

    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

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Alexandria, VA
    Posts
    370

    Default Re: Swollen red pollen baskets?

    Quote Originally Posted by muskratcreekhoney View Post
    No. I know what pollen looks like. It was shiny, smaller, higher on the leg (but on the same segment) and went all the way around the leg, or at least moreso than in this pic. It really did look like a part of the leg. It was smooth, not granular.

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