bee forage pollen wintering

Dazzling dandelion pollen makes a fall comeback

Fall rain followed by a few sunny days brought out the dandelions here in the Pacific Northwest . . . and the honey bees noticed. Huge pellets—the color of boxed macaroni and cheese—are being carried into the hives, two-by-two. While dandelions do not provide the perfect honey bee food, their presence provides something for the bees to do besides rob each other.

If the dandelions are blooming, other fall flowers are blooming as well. And since winter is just around the corner, it is an excellent time for the bees to top off their stores of honey and pollen.

I love watching these final winter preparations. The reduced entrances are crammed with yellow-legged bees barely able to fly under the weight of their loads. They are docile again. The fighting and robbing have stopped and bees from one hive pay very little attention to those from another hive. All seems right in the honey bee world.

If you can find a free minute, go watch your hive. It’s a fun time to be a beekeeper.


October dandelion pollen. Photo © Rusty Burlew.


  • Hi Rusty, could I use your picture in my uni dissertation? I love the picture so much and it’s such a clever way to make the pollen baskets stand out 🙂 Thank you!

    • Carolyn,

      Sure, you may use the picture. Thanks for asking, and please give credit.

      Good luck with your dissertation!

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