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I have one 10 frame hive with two deeps I started last year in march 2013. Appears to be doing fine so far. The weather finally warmed up to the low 60's today and sunny. The previous two days have been in the 40's. This month has been very cold here in nw tenn. I have a candy board on the hive and pulled it today cause only about a 1/4 of it was left lying on the top bars. There was no candy left on the board and it was left next to the hive a couple hours but no bees were on it. Anyway I was watching the bees a few hours and noticed some were returning with a white to very light grey material on their pollen baskets. What could that be this time of year? I live out in the country with a lot of farmland and woods around me. Also live a few miles from the mighty miss. river and a very large lake two miles away. What would be putting out pollen now? Robbing another hive? It has been so nice watching them do their orientating and cleansing flights too. Were due for some 40's days and below freezing nights in a few days too.
 

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Re: What could the bees be bringing to hive in this time of year?

I used this wikipedia page to help determine some of the pollen types my girls were bringing in last summer.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pollen_source
It is definitely not exhaustive but can be a good place to start. Just from a cursory glance, I wonder if you have any american elm in the area.
 

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You may have silver or red maple's blooming. Our silver maples are a week or two away. You should be two weeks ahead of us.

The willows are early bloomers as well. The native willows come after the silver maples. Not real sure about the pussy willows.

Could also be skunk cabbage. I am not familar with skunk cabbage. But have been told it blooms very early.
 

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Maples and camellia in bloom here
The faint yellow pollen is most likely maple. The bright yellow is probably camellia. The maples just started in our area but were set back by the snow. They will bloom most of the month though and my girls are bring that in today. I noticed my camellia bush is starting to open buds so they will be on that shortly. Here is a link to some plants with some pollen colors http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pollen_source Interesting I have a lot of blackberry's in the field where my apiary is. I noticed a lot of grey cells last year. The first thing I thought was " foul brood" I did the rope test and imagine my delight when I stuck the toothpick in a gray cell and there was yellow pollen under the grey. Blackberry pollen is grey
 

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While working in the bee yards yesterday including my student's hives we observed white creamy pollen being brought in, the bees look like little bombers fully loaded trying to land. This is the earliest date any of us can remember in 4 years for pollen collection. The Chinese elms are the source and the cause of my allergic discomfort which normally happens 1st of March.
 

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Possibly Elm pollen, Elms have light gray pollen and are usually a little earlier than Maples here in KY.
 
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