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Saturday, 20 March 2010

Photos by Chris Jackson

Friend and bee guru Chris Jackson took these photos between 27th Feb and 1st March and send them to me for publication in the next BeeSoc newsletter.

I have his permission to share them, and accompanying words, with you.

Note pollen basket - a.m.m foraging on Sarcococca, aka Sweet Box or Christmas Box.

The bees will go mad for Christmas Box. The fragrance is delicious and sometimes can be overpowering at times. Available from most garden centres and should be in every beekeepers garden.

It is evergreen, compact, pest-free, with shiny black berries holding on for 9 months of the year and then between January and March the delicate white flowers are wonderfully fragrant.

Tough as old boots and will take any amount of wind, rain, snow and frost.

The pollen basket or corbicula is part of the tibia on the hind legs

Honey bee hovers approaching Snowdrops while she transfers some more pollen.


  1. Lovely picture on your blog, yet again!
    Interestingly I have 4 sarcococca plants in my garden, but I've yet to see a honey bee on them. Mine are just about over their flowing already - I suppose the season when those flowers and the honey bees are both out if a very brief one. I agree they are great garden plants: the flowers do give a beautiful scent in the winter and the plant is a great shade-lover.

  2. Good day to you from a fellow beekeeper across the pond.
    I keep one hive in my urban garden in Washington state on the water side. I'll enjoy perusing your blog now that I've found it. My bees do love my sarcococca as well, but finished flowering some time ago. They are all over the ornamental cherry blossoms now here. You take beautiful pictures!

  3. Stephen:
    Great photos. When is your main honey flow? Ours here on the cape is from the middle of May to the end of July. Then nothing till the goldenrod in September. I'm looking forward to watching your posts to see your progress.

  4. Welcome Joan! Thanks for the compliments! Do you mean Washington DC, or the other side of the country? My geography is a bit poor :-(

  5. Mark, thanks for the compliment. Max flowering plants is in July, but starts soon with Oil Seed Rape, which goes on for 6 weeks. It's a mixed blessing. It allows the colonies to build up fast becuase of the volume of nectar. They can fill a super in a few days if they are next to a field of it. Not so good though, becuase it crystalises very quickly - so you must take it off before it turns into concrete! Guess you don't have OSR?

  6. Mark, you said "cape" but an earlier post said "states". In the UK, "cape" means South Africa. Perhaps you mean Cape Cod?

  7. Stephen

    Yes I said "Cape" and here on the far side of the "pond" it is slang for "Cape Cod".

    We do not have OSR here. My crystalization problems happen in the buckets in the fall! A much better way for it to happen!

    One of our big honey producers here is Black Locust Trees. They bloom in May, and the bees can get alot of nectar if the weather is good. But the blooms are fragile. One storm and it is over.

    I'm working now to build up for our spring honey flow. 4 weeks to go! We start feeding sugar syrup this week.


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