|A honey bee enjoys her non-traditional flowers on Valentine's day|
I also saw a few honey bees out scouting for food. Other than dandelions, hen bit, and the occasional vetch, there wasn't much available. The honey bees seemed to ignore these flowers in favor of the small yellow elbow bush blossoms (Forestiera pubescens). Elbow bush is one of the first shrubs to bloom in Texas. It's flowers tend to appear in February or March, so it's right on time this year. Other common names for this plant include "spring herald" and "stretch berry".
It is fortunate that these honey bees have a few flowers from which to chose. Flowers like dandelions are deficient in multiple amino acids which honey bees are unable to manufacture. The bees would effectively starve and be unable to rear brood if that was the only pollen available. By collecting pollen from multiple sources, they ensure that their diet satisfies the colony's nutritional requirements.
|Busy loading up her saddle bags with food for the hive|