Environment Spotlight

Is it Spring yet?

Photos: Paul Gillis

| Paul Gillis |

In Spring, honeybees start bringing crocus, maple and willow pollen to their young brood. Very little nectar is available this time of year, so any remaining honey in the hive is used to feed the colony. Once dandelions start blooming, the Spring flow has begun, allowing honeybees to thrive and multiply. So the dandelion bloom is when many beekeepers feel “It’s Spring!”

Beekeepers shift from trying to help the bees survive the winter to keeping successful hives from swarming and replacing hives that died over the winter. Packages of bees, containing 3 pounds of bees and 1 queen, arrive from Georgia and other southern states. Host landowners and beekeepers work together to have hives in place and ready for the spring build-up and garden pollination. A hive will increase from 10,000 bees in April to 50,000 bees by July. 

Photo: Paul Gillis

Local honey contains a blend of local pollen, which can strengthen a person’s immune system and reduce pollen allergy symptoms. If you are unable to start beekeeping this year, planting flowering trees, increasing the flowers in a garden, and simply leaving areas unmowed all help the bees by providing useful habitat.

Enjoy the season!

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