What are your bees feeding on?


Yes it is a cold winter but there is a surprising amount of activity, even on 12-15degC days. Watching them coming and going I note that quite a few are coming back loaded with pollen. A quick look while checking their supplies suggests that there is even a small amount of nectar being collected. Would be good to hear what members think their bees are feeding on.


Hi Merv,

sorry for the delay in responding, update from the apiaries in and around Canberra are as follows:

  1. Hakea Pincushion
  2. Iron Bank (with heaps of pollen even though the pollen is poor quality)
  3. Loquat
  4. Rosemary

all are flowering well and bees are actively giving all four plenty of attention when the weather is half decent.




Hi Merv

also saw this ornamental peach out today that bees were working actively, also saw a heap of these in flower in Kingston today on the lake in flower.


Thank you for this information. I have not seen much on my wanderings around walking the dog. Obviously a difference between older Canberra and newer Canberra. We seem to be very much into native gardens in this area.It is interesting as to the extent bees like the aromatic herbs.


Hi all,

I have noticed bees working Camellias recently in and around Canberra. My neighbor has a few enormous Camellias currently in bloom and have noticed my girls returning with quite a light colored pollen. I presume this pollen is coming from these sources.



Definitely seeing them working the Rosemary at the moment as Eric mentioned. I am actually surprised how active they are when the temperate is up.


Don’t they like the warmer, sunny days. All very active. Apart from their foraging around the gardens I found an Argyle apple(Eucalyptus cinerea) and a Red Spotted Gum (Eucalyptus mannifera ssp. maculosa) both in flower and within 250m are supplying them with pollen.


Hi Andrew, The book I was trying to think of is “Honey and Pollen Flora” by Alan Clemson an Inkata Publication 1985
Alan Clemson was the principal livestock officer for Apiculture in the N,S,W, Department of Agriculture.It is an excellent book for the identification of useful species especially Eucalypts with excellent comments about the species usefulness and its flowering pattern.


Hi Merv,

Thanks for recommending this book. I have had a look online for a copy which seems hard to come by. I will keep an eye out and hopefully one pops up :slight_smile:



Hi everyone

saw bees actively foraging on this Prickly Grevillea (sorry exact name unknown) the other day, its spines were fantastic in that small nectar eating birds were easily protected from cats by the spines whilst also feeding.




The pollen is pouring in today! :smiley:

Very distinct yellow/white pollen on every second field bee returning where I am.


yes sure is. The main thing is to ensure your bees have enough honey/nectar supplies to keep up with this activity. The yellow pollen is probably acacia which does not supply nectar


I found the source of the white pollen…


Walking around Barton today whilst helping an elderly beekeeper undertake a pre-spring inspection of their hives I noticed bees actively foraging on the flowers listed;

Manchurian Pear
Ornamental Apricot

thought it was worth sharing with you all.




Just goes to show why Canberra honey is so diverse and interesting. You can add winter flowering Hellbores to the list.


I left some broccoli to flower that didn’t make heads worth eating. I’ve been seeing a foraging bee about every ten minutes. This is interesting as this is the most bee activity I’ve seen in three years at this property and I only have 4 broccoli plants blooming.

I also have a small patch of violets that is getting some attention.


I think they are desperate for anything which has nectar at the moment. Acacias have none and a lot of the fruit trees take a couple of days after flowering and nectar availability. I noted this desperation when I fed one of my hives with sugar and water. Instant robbing attempts with bees along the joins and at the air hole and really pressuring the entrance. Shutting the entrance down to 15mm helped solve the problem.