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Dumbfounded Beekeeper

Our bees are still working hard and they still don’t have to go far for refreshment.  There are some Echinacea left in the garden since I dead-headed some of them and left some for the American Goldfinches.  The Butterfly Bushes (Buddleia) seem like a bar during happy hour with so many butterflies and bees hovering around in abundance.  Goldenrod (Solidago), a native weed, still blooms nicely.   As much as the honey bees like to forage on the Goldenrod, there are a lot of bully wasps chasing them.   I left mint flowering for the bees, but keep my eyes on them.  I’ll cut them as soon as the flowers fade.  A lesson hard earned since I can’t get rid of these invasive mint plants.  I let them set seed years ago and they have tried to take over the yard ever since.

I’m pretty happy that they have plenty of food they can store for winter.  Watching them going in and out of the hive with pollen stuck to their hind legs becomes one of my moments of enjoyment in the day.  There are a variety of colors of pollen carried back to the hive, ranging from off white and yellow to orange.  Common colors for pollen.  What surprised me last week was some of the bees came back with pollen so dark, a deep blue color.  I couldn’t figure out what flower they collected this pollen from.  The blue and lavender flowers in the garden and neighborhood are Salvia ‘Black & Blue’, Butterfly bush, Aster and Wild Chicory, but I don’t think they have blue pollen.  Can anyone out there provide a clue?

A bee right over the entrance carrying big blue pollen

A couple more bees coming in with blue pollen

One flying in with a load of it