Honey 2
bee on dandelion
Nectar
Dandelion is the first major source of nectar after the winter. Its presence is seen when honey is taken off in June; this honey rapidly granulates. The major sources through late Spring are sycamore and horse chestnut. Bramble puts out its first flowers in the first week in May; this is the chief source of nectar for the bees. Other wild flowers include charlock, fuchsia, clover, knapweed and rose bay willow herb. The honey produced from these wild flowers is very mild but surprisingly varies from season to season. In autumn the mature ivy flowers in profusion and provided a very valuable nectar source for the winter stores.

Pollen
The main pollen sources in this area of South Cork are shown in the chart.
The two species of gorse in particular provide a valuable pollen source all through the year.
It is a fascinating exercise to observe the bees and to try to identify the pollen sources.
Two colours in particular remain unidentified. Copious amounts of a pure white pollen are seen in August (hedge bindweed ??) but more surprising is a spectacular luminous orange pollen seen towards the end of August and early September. This latter coincides with the flowering of montbretia but I have never seen a honeybee on this flower.
A black bee on dandelion
pollen chart
Next Page: Honey 3
black bee with unknown pollen black bee with luminescent orange pollen
from the unknown source
Also in early to late October copious amounts of a bright orange/yellow pollen are brought in by the bees. The only possible source at this time is the ivy although most reference sources refer to the colour of ivy pollen being a dull yellow.

As the photo shows this pollen is anything but dull !
ivy pollen