I got my annual thrill of spotting truly significant pollen returning to the hives a couple of Saturdays ago. While it's not terribly uncommon to see bees scrounging something up in March, hitting the lottery in February is much less common in Iowa. Here is a video and an image from one of my recent journeys down to the Muscatine area where I pollinate some melon fields. They did pretty well down there in terms of honey, and the landowners are really happy with the bees' performance in the past couple of years too.
Today and tomorrow are supposed to be around 60F, so there is hope that the video below is essentially on replay for the next two days!
The video showed a corrugated cardboard carton that is probably going to be bonfire material after this winter, but here is another site down in Muscatine County where I still have the bees on traditional bottom boards and wearing colony quilt for the winter. I think most of our quilts are twenty years old at this point, so while we've massively shifted over to plastic cartons for labor savings and 4-way pallets, I have to say that the quilts hold up wonderfully for the most part.
Of course this annual pollen watch would be somewhat less exciting or pivotal if we shipped our bees around the country to warmer climes and almond pollination, but that's not a route we've taken to date. I am developing a suspicion that if Andrew develops a professional interest in the bees he may take them on the road just to drive forklifts as much as possible He actually tried to ride one of his eight-inch toy loaders when he was about a year old. He loves pretty much anything with forks on it--here is a happy moment in one of his favorite construction supply stores.