Pollen Frenzy - What's Going On?!

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Chunky Plumpy

New Bee
Jun 14, 2022
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Oldbury Naite
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Hello again,

I was wondering if anyone can tell me what's so exciting about the underside of one of my two hives, exciting because it had the bees, wasps and even some scary fat hornets all wanting in on the action:


Sorry about the rubbish photo but it's tricky taking photos with thick gloves on a phone. That is a week or two ago, when the sun came out again and the bees were busy, and just about anything with yellow stripes. It is much calmer now albeit there are still a lot of bees venturing underneath the hive despite the board now being back in. The orange blobs are big, bigger than those I see on bees legs returning to the hive but I assume they are pollen blobs?

On hot days it was a frenzy, I thought the hive was being robbed initially but it was packed and busy inside with no sign of damage to the capped stores. I assume it must have been something else but most of the action was on the underside of the hive and not the actual board were all the orange is; is the orange a consequence of the action above? It is strange, only under the one hive and mostly under one side. Has anyone experienced something like this before or know what was going on? Thanks, CP.
Bees in a real flow pass nectar through the omf sometimes. Maybe that?
On an upside you seem to have lots of pollen to add to your porridge.
Thanks @Erichalfbee and @Ian123, I guess it's just another of those weird things you might never know until you see it, and yes, lots of ivy around here. The bees had a good go at it when the sun came back out the other week albeit I didn't see any orange on it myself (probably because it was all under my hive!).

Hopefully the willow tree won't attract hundreds of wasps and hornets next year, it never did before (scary), so the bees will not spend half of the summer defending the hives and then I can stop worrying about it! :)

Thanks for the quick reply, CP.
Hopefully the willow tree won't attract hundreds of wasps and hornets
Willow flowers in spring at a time when wasp & hornet nests are just getting going, and the few workers will have available plentiful forage of protein to feed larvae (caterpillars etc) and carbohydrate (nectar).

During spring & summer wasp & hornet larvae produce a sweet reward in return for the workers' supply of food and won't be interested in honey bees until later in the year.

It's only then, when those nests are ending, that the addict wasps and hornets seek the sweet they crave from bee hives.
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Thanks @ericbeaumont, I have been vigilant with my defences after learning a lesson taught by tiny wasps; they can get in through the smallest of gaps.

The willow tree was something else to behold. I’m new to beekeeping but a country bumpkin most of my life and never seen anything like it, got loads of willow around here and it was just the one tree.

I did some Googling (so take it with a pinch of salt) as I inspected several times thinking there must be a huge nest(s) in or near the tree but nope. In fact despite the frenzy I reckon I could have climbed the tree without any protection and gotten away with it, they were obsessed with the tree and no bating worked nor intrusion caused concern. Apparently something about enzymes or other clever stuff beyond my understanding that the wasps and hornets mistake for mating queens pheromones.

No idea why it was just this year and just this one tree, I’ll assume it was the long hot spell, but if anyone does know I’d be interested.

Like I said, could be complete google nonsense but that one tree kept a colossal amount of wasps and hornets busy right through august and early September when otherwise I reckon they’d have been busy robbing my hives.

If I knew how to replicate it I’d do so again to distract the buggers from my hives… but a LOT further from where I park!!! 😬 CP.
Lol, I might be a country bumpkin but that is entirely possible 😂

I had a quick google again and comically found this:

By all accounts I might have witnessed one of the largest and longest lasting orgies in nature. To be fair if that explains it then it would be more interesting than honey 😁

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