The Earliest Spring Forage for the Bees: Spring Plants and Flowers to Look for in the Spring
With Spring just around the corner in the Northern hemisphere and temperatures rising well above 53° F (10° C), bees are starting to get out of their hives in search of fresh nectar and pollen. While most of the fruit trees haven’t blossomed yet (or about to), there are some early spring flowers that serve as the first bee forage. In this article, we highlight five of them. If you’re a beekeeper, check for these flowers around your apiary to make sure your bees have something to eat in these first sunny days. If you don’t keep bees, but you notice these plants in your backyard or garden, don’t be too quick to mow the lawn – help out the bees that are flying by and pretty soon they will return the favor by pollinating your fruits, vegetables and flowers.
Despite the fact that dandelions are commonly perceived as a weed by the gardeners, it is an important source of nectar and pollen not only for bees but also for butterflies, moths and other pollinators. It is widely distributed and is blossoming throughout the whole active season for the bees – from early spring to autumn.
Crocus is considered one of the heralds of Spring. A crocus piercing through the February and March snow is a common sight in both Europe and North America. It is pollen-rich and gives the bees the much-needed boost in the first Spring days.
As dandelions, chickweed is also passing as a weed for gardeners who are quick to uproot it when spotted intergrowing between their cultivated plants. What most people don’t know about chickweed is, that it is edible and it is even considered a superfood. But before you head to your garden, think about the bees – chickweed blossoms very early in Spring and its little flowers are a crucial source of nectar and pollen.
The Maple tree is native to North America but it is commonly distributed in Europe as well, mainly as a park tree. It blossoms before most of the other trees. Its abundant flowers are in dense clusters and offer very sweet nectar, that the bees simply can’t resist.
Depending on the climate and the weather conditions, primroses may appear in your garden as early as December. Their name derives from the Latin ‘prima rosa’, meaning the first rose. They blossom all the way to late May and are an excellent source of protein and energy for bees and butterflies.
So there you have 5 early spring plants that the bees love. Next time you go out and you spot some of these, look for the fuzzy pollinators around – the chance you see one or two is pretty high!
Picture sources: Unsplash, Pixabay, Wikimedia