Someone’s been visiting pussy willow... This young lady is one of the thousands of honey bees that live in harmony alongside our donkeys here at The Donkey Sanctuary. On a beautifully sunny and warm day earlier this week, this honey bee worker was laden with pollen, not only being carried on her back legs, but caught up in her body hairs too!
Here’s an interesting fact… A male pussy willow tree is one of the best trees for honey bees. The male flowers produce pollen, but both the male and female pussy willow trees produce nectar. It is one of the earliest forms of nutrition for insects following the long winter months when the colony stays inside their hive to keep warm throughout the cold weather.
When the bees start bringing back pollen, it's a good sign that the queen has started laying eggs which will form her new foraging force for the coming summer.
If you’re visiting our Sanctuary here in Devon, why not take a walk to see our apiary where you can watch the bees flying on their foraging trips.
The three week old bees that are starting to emerge are now out on their orientation flights – easily spotted, they are facing the hive dithering and darting backwards and forwards. Over the coming days, they’ll be circling around the hive and widening their flying area up to 3 miles as they learn where their home is. In the meantime, the foragers will be out returning with yellow and orange (likely to be early dandelions or gorse).