I have a new swarm that landed in a trap next to my house. I have sat and watched them over the last week. I noticed that the first few days very few foragers were bring in in pollen and I started counting returning foragers. The first 4-5 days it was one forager out of about 60 that had visible pollen baskets. Then 1/40, then 1/14. Today 10 days after the swarm arrived it is 1/4.
My count is of course pretty rough, but it is a small opening, 5' across and 1/4 inch high so I can pretty much keep track and the full baskets are very obvious, so if anything, the number of foragers returning without pollen would be even higher.
Has anyone else noticed this pattern? I have two thoughts. The first is related to pollen availability. Here in Illinois it has been a cool, very rainy spring and perhaps there simply wasn't much pollen at first.
My second thought is that in the first few days there were zero to very few eggs laid, but now after 10 days there are lots of baby bees that need feeding.