By | July 13, 2013

A line up of handsome leafy trees in West London

A line up of handsome leafy trees in West London

Keeping bees makes you more aware of the surrounding environment. The weather, the seasons, the trees and their cycles. I’ve been prompted to spend a few quid on some tree identification apps, so I can understand the surrounding flora a little better.

The seasons in 2013 have been pretty odd. The spring was much longer and colder than usual. This meant trees took longer to burst back into life and out of winter, both their leaves and flowers took longer to bud and emerge. The cold also meant the bees stayed in the hive for longer, they don’t like to fly in the cold and there wasn’t much blooming for them to forage. And with less bees flying and pollinating, this could mean less pollination between the trees… its all connected. Dude.

July however has been like the Jerusalem chorus. The weather has been hot! hotter than usual, reaching 30 degrees over the last 2 weekends, and the bees are getting out to forage on the hot, still days.

In West London, my main sources of pollen and nectar seems to be willow in early spring, horse chestnut in May, Sycamore trees in June, and the ubiquitous London lime trees in July.

I can tell which trees the bees are visiting, by the colour of the pollen brought back to the hive. Different flowers have different colour pollen – BTW the colour of the pollen doesn’t necessarily relate to the colour of the flower.
Oriental poppies have dark black pollen, willow – dull yellow, horse chestnut – chocolate brown.

It seems the horse chestnut had a short bloom due the unseasonally long, cold spring. Unfortunately, the trees didn’t shift their bloom and stay open for the usual length of time, the window just shortened. So I’m eagerly waiting on the lime trees to bloom. The lime trees are a little late – but I’m anticipating with their large numbers in the neighbourhood creates a rush of honey into the hive late July.

Here’s hoping this lovely weather stays around for a few weeks yet..!

Check out this pollen chart for more info on pollen

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