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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Today I was shocked to see the bees carrying in a lot of tan-colored material. Maples do not start blooming here until 2nd or 3rd week in March.

Does anyone have an idea of what plant or tree this is from? I am just outside of Baltimore, MD.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Are you in a semi rural area? Tan coloted "pollen" is often chicken feed this time of year. I am not seeing anything plant based yet here in Richmond, although maples should be anytime time now.
 

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Yes I am rural but I did see my neighbors maple buds popping open and the bees are flying hard on these warm days I saw Bright yellow and a greenish pollen. On saturday and Sunday the bees picked up over a gallon each day of ultra bee powder from my feeding tray.
It was like a huge swarm ..the two qts I put out yesterday morning are still sitting with only a few dozen bees hovering around. I can't imagine chicken feed would make that change.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Ryan, I have not been home to see the bees bringing in pollen during the day. There was not much activity at my pollen feeder either so maybe something is out there already. Not seeing the normal.stuff, dandelions , henbit, etc. as of yet. But then, I am only looking at the weeds that grow in my yard.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you all gentlemen for your feedback. I believe Mr. JW Palmer has the answer: CHICKENFEED

My wife reminded me of a neighbor whose chickens we often see as we take walks in the neighborhood.

We and our next door neighbor have silver and red maples; around the neighborhood there are a lot of each. The buds do not appear to be near open, even though the weather has been unusually warm.

Thanks again for your comments.

Phil
 

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Maples are definitely budding and some blooms are happening in the Charlottesville area. We have also had reports of green pollen in Amherst County, VA. Should be an interesting swarm season!
 

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mine have been bringing pollen back the past two days. multiple locations, dont think its animal feed. if it was, you likely would have seen it on the other warm days the past 2 months. i have not seen anything in december or january. as MP said witchazel is likely around. looks like some elm on southern slopes are starting to bloom as well. this is a month early for me, and you are south yet. but nothing on the willows. skunk cabbage is an option also. how about henbit or spicebush?
 

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30 years ago, I expected first pollen about February 15th. Over the last 10 years, that has moved back to January 25th. Any way you slice it, we are about 3 weeks earlier with the season. Funny thing is that the main flow has not changed significantly. It still starts about April 20th and lasts 3 to 6 weeks depending on rainfall and weather conditions.
 

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you guys in VA: how early is this pollen for you than typical?
I've kept records for many years, and it is not too unusual to see maples in early January. I recall notes as early as January 8th. Note that this in not widespread blooming, but in key locations maple usually kicks off before the beginning of February. I'm in the Hampton Roads area, so we're a bit more moderate than those further west. This year it was early January.
 

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The bees find the flowers before we see them. I've seen maple pollen and bloom anytime from late Feb to mid March depending on the year. It's been very mild in the mid Atlantic region this year, so this year they're early. They've been bringing in small amounts on every mild day for the last week or two. We're south of you, but at about 2,000 ft elevation.
 
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