Commonly heard east of the Rockies at this time of year (late March): “I don’t need to feed pollen – we have willows out now.”
No so fast folks! What use is blooming willow and other trees that bear catkins if it’s too cold? How useful is pussy willow, an important source of protein for bees, if it’s snowing? Aspen trees are an important source of nectar (carbs) for bees in the early spring. But how useful is this if it’s raining?
The point is - prevailing weather conditions must play an important role in the decisions you make for your bees.
If it rains, important nectar sources are washed out – literally. It takes the bloom a day or so to become useful to bees. Spring snow on trees and bushes renders pollen inaccessible and unusable to bees after the snow is gone.
In order for natural pollen and nectar to be useful to the bees we need a very important thing: perfect flying conditions. Those include Warmth (>8C), Daylight (Not necessarily sunshine), and Dry.
Best to feed bees syrup as soon as you can in the spring and keep fresh syrup available all the way through to the main natural flow. Add pollen after the weather has broken properly. April 1st is our recommendation for 2019.
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