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Wild Flower book

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Bcrazy 

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What I am going to reccomend is not so much a bee book but its Wild Flowers.

I like to find out what pollen grains the bees are bringing back to the hive and then I like to get a photograph of the plant involved.

The book I refer to is; Wild Flowers by Fitter,Fitter and Blamey it has over 1430 plants in colour and over 1950 species described.
I got mine on e-bay for ?5 and its a book I could not do without.

Regards;
 

Floss 

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That is really useful Bcrazy. I have no bees at the moment and having acquire a new house and garden a couple of years ago I am now looking at introducing new plants, shrubs and trees and top of my priority list are those for the bees I hope to get!

As a newbee can I ask how you determine what type of pollen your bees are collecting?

Floss
 

Bcrazy 

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Hi Floss,

Welcome to the world of beekeeping and also to this forum.

Being a newbee we on the forum expect you to ask all sorts of questions, so never be afraid to ask as someone will be able to help you.

Another good book is The Beekeepers Garden by Ted Hooper this explains all about tress shrubs and flowers to attract all insects. I think its still in print.

As a newbee can I ask how you determine what type of pollen your bees are collecting?
If I wish to know what the bees have been foraging on then I would take a sample of pollen and prepare it on a microscopic slide and this will show the individual pollen grains, then I look up in a book to see what plant the pollen comes from.

Regards;
 

gavin 

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Hi Folks

Perhaps I could expand a little. An easy way to begin is just to watch bees on flowers and see the colour of the pollen load they are collecting, then watch at the hive. Some of the pollen they collect will be from further away, and after a few years of watching you get the hang of what some of the common types may look like - willow, oilseed rape, rosebay willowherb, clover and the like. Oilseed rape in particular can be abundant (as I may have mentioned in another thread!) and it typically leaves the bees messy and with a yellow stripe on their faces.

There are guides (such as Kirk's) which can help by showing you the likely colour of different pollen loads.

If you have a microscope a new world opens. You can then catch individual bees at the entrance and push off pollen loads with a grass stem, or insert a pollen sampler (fairly cheap plastic screen with holes for the bees to squeeze through, leaving their pollen loads behind). Then suspend a small part of one in a small volume of water on a slide and smear it across. I use a drop of warmed glycerol-gelatin with some Fucshin stain solution, then just add a coverslip on top.

Looking for pollen in honey (which may come along with the nectar or may fall in from pollen-collecting bees) is straightforward for those with access to the right equipment. I suspend a small quantity of honey in a small (1.5ml) plastic tube (about 6:1 ratio of water:honey, otherwise the pollen grains don't sink so well). Spin them down using a centrifuge for 5-10 min, pour off the liquid, resuspend in the very small quantity of fluid left, and smear on a slide and stain as before.

all the best

Gavin
 

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