The glory of willow pollen

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borderbeeman 

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Opened my hives for the first proper inspection today, since the weather was warm and sunny. Found huge amounts of willow pollen being stored - what a fantastic resource this tree is!


Brood patch surrounded by Willow Pollen


The finest free protein source around

I also fed all of my hives with 1:1 sugar syrup in Ziploc bags - they had been given mushy sugar in February but they had finished all of it. So just a top-up to encourage them before the wildflower nectar starts to appear.



It is worth finding the willows in your area and taking some cuttings to spread more trees around.
 

Onge 

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Nice photos :)
 

Hivemaker. 

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What exellent pictures BB,they certainly have that pollen packed in well.
I agree willow is great for the bee's.
 

rae 

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We've just planted a shed load of willows in an old hedge line that had not been maintained for decades (i.e. mostly dead). Hopefully next year the bees will go beserk for it.
 

taff.. 

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I have half a dozen cuttings starting off in pots in my garden, I've found a convenient place of ground for them to be planted :D
 

Poly Hive 

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Excellent pics yes.

I was watching the bees returning with shed loads of it and could I see a willow anywhere? Not a one.

Bless them they do like to set their puzzles. :)

PH
 

shonabee 

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Mine too are having a great time on the willow. Went out canoeing yesterday, and all the willow along the river was making this strange humming-buzzing noise....
 

steve_e 

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It's my first full year keeping bees, so I'd be interested to know how you can tell where the pollen is coming in from (borderbeeman excepted of course since you've taken pictures of your source!!).

Are there guides that let you know which colour corresponds to which plant? My bees are all coming back with loads of bright yellow pollen as shown above in those fantastic pictures, but is there an easy way to tell if they're also from willow (I don't know of any major sources locally) or dandelion, or what?
 

Rosti 

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Brilliant pictures, muchly enjoyed! and I concur with regard the Willow, my girls are now on the edge of a SSI which includes a mature water course fringed with willow, they are bringing in bucket loads.
 

Black Comb 

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Are there guides that let you know which colour corresponds to which plant? My bees are all coming back with loads of bright yellow pollen as shown above in those fantastic pictures, but is there an easy way to tell if they're also from willow (I don't know of any major sources locally) or dandelion, or what?
If yo go onto the IBRA website there are a few things that you can buy which help.
http://ibrastore.org.uk
 

borderbeeman 

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Not too late for willow cuttings

The Willows are bloomimg, but they are not in-leaf yet, so there is still time to take willow cuttings this year. All you do is cut willow wands about 3 feet long and trim off any side shoots to about 1" of the stem. Cut the top off and simply stick the cutting in the ground, preferably in a damp area, a ditch side, a pond edge etc.

The trimming allows the willow to make roots while not having to support many leaves until its roots are established. They are fantastically good at surviving as cuttings - I regularly get 95% growing on immediately.

And you don't need to feel selfish about this - stick a couple of dozen - or a hundred cuttings around your district - you will REALLY help the bumblebees, who need all the help they can get.
 
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