Hive Inspection - 27th May 2013
Simply seeing or recognising and saying 'red' does not do justice to the exquisite colour and hue of a pollen we observed being danced and stored about the brood frames of one of our hives. Which plant is the source of a (pollen) colour so alluring and seductive? Which plants in the ultra violet field would so reward these honey bees with such a distinctively coloured pollen? What might be known about the complex nutritional properties of the assorted pollen grains stored so meticulously in this honeycombed palette?
We foraged our library of beekeeping books and magazines as well as surfed the world wide web for answers. Our informed guesses about the sources are 'henbit dead nettle' and 'red dead nettle'. Those plants are of the genus Lamium, comprising at least 40-50 species of annuals and herbaceous perennials, not all of them with red pollen though. If not the stingless smidgenly sweet to suck dead nettle then how about the 'anatolia' (?) of Horse Chestnut?
We consulted colour charts - http://www.workwithcolor.com/red-color-hue-range-01.htm and, of course, 'wikipedia' about the colour red. Would you say we were somewhere between lust and desire when it occurred to us to reference the names of lipsticks? Would it be a rich mix of Alizarin Crimson and Winsor Deep Red. We were lost in a crimson vermilion colour field trying to see anything but red.