I was recently told that the majority of nectar gathering done by the foraging bee occurs in the morning. This leaves the rest of the day to pass the nectar from bee to bee, reducing its moisture level, arrange the cells for its arrival and hangout at the water cooler to gossip. This all makes for a good days work, especially if it begins at 5am and ends at dusk. That occurs around 9pm at the moment in our area. In Northern Alberta the foraging day could easily last 18 hours or more, everyday throughout the summer. They could do with a good Trotsky-ist to introduce the weekend or a holiday or two?
Click on images for larger viewing.
At the moment our bees are collecting from the flowers below. Clover is in full flower and the flavour of the day with a variation of weeds and ground-cover.
And this is what they see visiting around 2 million flowers to collect enough nectar to make 1 pound of honey. These foraging bees, which make up 15% of each 50,000+ hive colony have flights varying between 5 and 150 minutes. These flights can vary between 2-4 km in length with all sorts of natural hazards to and from. Did I mention that bees invented GPS…maybe thats for another day.
Red and white clover.
Sources: E. Crane, 1990. Bees and Beekeeping: Science, Practice etc,J.Tautz. 2008. The Buzz about bees.