Thanksgiving Pumpkin Orange Pollen
We had another dry fall and mild Thanksgiving this year. With the continued mild temperatures into Thanksgiving, I left two boxes of honey on most of my hives when I started getting them ready for winter mid-fall.
Last year, also with a very mild fall, I found my clusters had eaten through their honey by Christmas so I had to add sugar cakes on Christmas day to make sure they didn't starve.
This Thanksgiving, I found one bee colony cluster at the top of their one box of honey so I added a second box of honey. I also decided to make sugar cakes a month early to add to the feeding shims I keep at the top of the hive boxes most of the year. The shims give the hives a top entrance and make it easier to add either extra food or insulation, depending on what is needed.
While inspecting the top of the hives, I noticed bees were bringing in bright orange pollen.
My niece, visiting for the Thanksgiving week from college, had never seen orange pollen so she put on a bee suit and headed out into the apiary to observe the bees bringing in pollen.
After observing the pollen haul, we did a walk through my garden to see what might still be blooming with pollen that color. Although we have had several frosty nights, some chrysanthemums are still blooming as are native goldenrod but both have a lighter yellow pollen. We didn't see anything in my one-acre hillside garden that might be generating pollen this deep orange color. Whatever they were visiting to locate that pollen, we decided it wasn't close to home!