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Some spring impressions – notes from a busy time

Some spring impressions – notes from a busy time

Spring is the most busy period for my work: studies are about to start or about to finalize from the last year. With all that growing and blooming also a lot of opportunities and ideas come up. Though very busy and sometimes overwhelmed, I have been also able to enjoy this period quite a lot this year.

Early spring brings finally some colour

Winter is a hard time for me, not only because I cannot observe bees directly in nature. It’s dark and cold, and everything looks grey. So the first flowers and even the first little spots of green are most welcome. This year, I really enjoyed the crocusses, which are also an early pollen source for honey bees.

honey bee, bee pollination, spring, conferences

In a bunch of blooming crocusses it is easy to get some early nectar and pollen.

Another early, and very important, food source for all kind of bees are willows. This year, the flowering seemed very short to me. But anyway, bees love them. And also other pollinators, like this hoverfly like them.

pollinators, spring, bee flowers

Hoverfly feeding on male willow flower.

Two highlights

This spring, I had two highlights so far. One was unexpected, a Sunday with nice weather I decided to visit the Japanese Garden in Leverkusen. It was a gorgeous day and the cherries (you would expect them in a Japanese Garden, won’t you?) were blooming, displaying their pure white inflorescences. They are loved by bees (like the Orchard Mason Bee at the top of this post), but also by butterflies.

Spring, butterflies, cherry, bee flowers

Peacock on cherry against an amazing blue sky.

The other highlight was partly planned: in the Eifel, a region in Western Germany, there are two valleys that in April cover up with wild daffodils. I had been there before, when the blooming was just beginning. This year, I was more lucky: I came just in time to experience an amazing flood of yellow flowers:

bee friendly flowers, spring

Aspect of the “Daffodil route” in the Eifel.

The Eifel is always worth a trip, it’s one of Germany’s most beautiful natural spaces. But the daffodil bloom is something really special.

Honey bee trips

Finally, so far the spring was filled with work. This year relating mainly to honey bees. In Spain, I worked at a apiary covered with wild thyme. It flooded the place with its perfume.

honey bee, bee pollination, bee health

Experimental apiary in Aragón, Spain. You don’t see the thyme, but I smell it looking at this photo…

Of course, I have been in Bologna this spring, too. From there, it’s only half an hour to Florence by train. This week, I was there not for the city but to speak with some colleagues at the institute for agrobiology. This may be the subject of a separate post. This time I want to keep it light and finish with a busy Osmia latreillei, providing her nest with some bright yellow Asteraceae pollen. I saw her in a trap nest in the institutes garden.

non-managed bees, spring

Osmia latreillei spitting some nectar on the pollen provisions of her nest. This species is oligolectic on Asteraceae.

So these were some impressions of my spring so far – I hope that you are enjoying it, too!

 

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