It was warm and sunny today. This is certainly not any kind of February I rememberusually it’s one of our coldest months and one of the wettest. My little patch of lamb’s ears, which I bought specifically for wool carder bees, was loaded with honey beesseveral dozen at a time. They were eagerly lapping up the water that was caught on the surface of the woolly leaves. Other honey bees examined the hose bibb, but it was dry.
The south wall of the house, exposed directly to the sun, was covered with honey bees. They would land and remain motionless for several minutes, taking in the warmth. Right in the middle of maybe seventy honey bees was a big fat bumble bee queen doing the same.
The bees were collecting pollen in two creamy shades of yellow, but here is something to remember: In most areas, pollen is available long before nectar. Many plants that are wind-pollinated produce large quantities of early pollen, but the plants with showy flowers and lots of nectar usually bloom later.
So don’t sigh with relief quite yet. Make sure your bees are supplied with enough honey or sugar to get them into the spring. Most colonies that die of starvation do it in late spring when stores are low, populations are getting larger, the weather is unpredictable, and the nectar-producing plants haven’t yet bloomed. It’s very easy to lose your bees just when you think you’ve made it.