Beverly Bees

Backyard beekeeping for the love of bees and honey.

Honeybee flying over Siberian Squill
Honeybee flying over Siberian Squill

Blue Pollen, Honeybees and Siberian Squill

| 22 Comments

My honeybees are now gathering beautiful blue pollen from Siberian Squill flowers.


Siberian Squill Flowers

I first noticed this stunning steel-blue colored pollen during my hive inspection on March 22, 2012.  Honeybee after foraging honeybee was carrying full baskets of bright blue pollen and it was magnificent.  The blue pollen comes from an early spring flower called Siberian Squill aka Scilla Siberica or Wood Squill.  It is a bulbous perennial which blooms in March and April.  The Siberian Squill is a nonnative species and can be invasive, yet still it’s a great food source for bees.

Siberian Squill has steel-blue pollen.

After seeing the bees with these bright blue pollen filled baskets I was on a mission to locate the flowers.  I found them half a mile down the street in a neighbor’s yard who has the most incredible urban bee friendly gardens.  He is always feeding my bees with his amazing flowers and plants and usually when I wonder what the girls are foraging on I find them there, in a tiny little garden, on the street, planted and maintained by someone who understands the needs of bees.

Providing the right plants for honeybees and other native pollinators is important for the survival of the honeybee.  A few plants in your yard is all it takes to make them happy.  To learn more, including which plants bees prefer, read Planting A Bee Friendly Garden.

If you want to plant Siberian Squill for the bees, it’s easy.  It’s a perfect plant for the urban and suburban bee lover to grow.  The bulbs can be planted right into your grass.  The flowers will bloom and blanket your lawn with a beautiful blue color.   Before it is time for the grass to grow, the flowers will pass and reseed themselves.   Not only are you feeding the bees, but you can still mow your lawn!  No harm will be done to next year’s flower crop. 


Here are a few pictures of my honeybees gathering the blue pollen from Siberian Squill plants in my neighbor’s front lawn.  Isn’t the pollen striking?

One of my girls gathering blue pollen on Siberian Squill flowers in a neighbors yard.

My honeybee collecting steel blue Siberian Squill pollen.

Honeybee collecting steel blue Siberian Squill pollen.

A honeybee foraging on Siberian Squill.

This is what the pollen looked like when it arrived back at the hive.  Can you tell it was a busy foraging day?  There was a major traffic jam at the upper entrance.

Siberian Squill pollen on a honeybee returning to the hive.

Siberian Squill’s steel-blue pollen is stunning, it is a wonderful early spring food source for bees and it is easy to grow.   Go ahead and give it a try!

Other Posts You May Enjoy:

  1. Planting A Bee Friendly Garden
  2. The Bees Were Bringing In Orange Pollen Today
  3. In Case You’re Wondering Bees Can Chew Through Garden Row Cover

Shared on: The Barn Hop

Author: Anita Deeley at BeverlyBees.com

Anita Deeley is a biologist and state bee inspector who runs between 30-50 treatment free hives. She is also the beekeeper, writer, owner and creator of BeverlyBees.com. When she is not spending time with her girls (the bees), she enjoys being a wife to her beekeeping cohort, Brian and mother to 3 little boys (the beekeepers in training). Read more about Anita here >> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Connect with Anita on Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ or Facebook here.

22 Comments

  1. I love the colors of pollen that the bees bring in. So far, I’ve seen orange, dark yellow, and white pollen going into the hive. I’ve not seen blue pollen, though. What a treat!

    I wonder if Siberian Squill will grow in my 10a zone.

    • Hi Mil,

      The Zone hardiness for Siberian Squill is 2a-8b but it couldn’t hurt to give it a try! I did see it for sale online in your area.

      I just love watching the girls come back back to the hive. I’ve seen a variety of colors here this year so far – white, various yellows, orange, blue and grey. Last summer I saw a bee with black pollen. Those girls never cease to amaze me.

      Anita

  2. Hi, Anita!

    I found your blog via Mil’s recommendation and I can see why she thought it worthy to follow.

    My back yard is literally packed with squill, just finishing up blooming right now. I’ve hated it and fought it futilely for over two decades. I finally gave up trying to grow spring ephemerals back there because hardly anything can compete with it. I’ve managed to keep it out of the front garden where I concentrate my spring wildflower efforts. Since I’ve started beekeeping–actually just getting the first bees this week–I’m seeing squill in a totally different light and appreciate it for the sake of the bees.

    Keep up the good work!

    • Welcome Mark!

      Someone once told me that squill looks like a piece of sky fell onto their lawn. I just love that metaphor, I think it describes squill perfectly. Next year when you start seeing the blue pollen coming into the hive, you may become as enthralled with squill as I have. Soon you will be planting as many bee friendly plants as you can find, although it sounds like you are already doing that with your wildflower garden.

      Congratulations on your news bees! I’m sure you will love them. Beekeeping has a way of changing your entire outlook on the world in ways you will never expect. Beekeeper Yvon Achard says “bees choose the beekeeper” not the other way around and I think he’s right. I’m excited for your new adventure!

      Anita

  3. Very cool. I think that it would be so much fun to have bees, and have that honey available. I am slightly concerned about getting them because it gets so cold in the winters, and I’m not sure they would survive. Of course, we do have honey bees every year in our garden, so they must be surviving somewhere around here :-)

    • Hi Heather!

      I have a beekeeper friend who keeps honeybees in North Pole, Alaska, where the winters are always subzero. Where she lives it is too cold to keep the honeybees outside all winter (she has to bring them in) but most other cold places it’s fine. If you are seeing them in your garden there is probably a beekeeper near you. I encourage you to give it a try!

      Anita

  4. LOVE the photos showing the blue pollen! I plant my gardens to feed a neighbors bees, love to see them.

    Stopping in from Homestead Revival…

  5. oh my gosh! my yard is full of squill. I feared that because it was not native and was spreading so nicely I was not doing anyone (bees) any favors! Hooray, I am. The bees/hoverflies/wasps/ground bees/bumbles etc seem to enjoy my yard. I often stand under the apricots just immersing myself in their songs as they do their work. I will have to check out the colors of pollen a bit more carefully, I have never noticed any but yellow, but now will watch my helpers more closely. Love this site!

    • Thanks Theresa! Wait until you see the blue pollen in person. It is beautiful. Your yard sounds like a wonderful sanctuary for bees. The more honeybees and native bees you have living around your yard the better and bigger fruits you will get from your tree. Isn’t nature incredible!

  6. That blue pollen is so neat! And the pictures are beautiful :)

  7. Siberian Squill is pretty and I’m sure the bees like it just fine, but it’s an aggressive invasive that spreads readily and displaces native species. There are lots of pretty native early spring bloomers that would make more ecologically sound alternatives as bee forage!

  8. Well, Anita, thanks for today’s education. Since I was a boy (oh, some 55+ long years ago), my Mother and Grandmother had always answered my question about the striking, blue flowers as, “Oh, you mean the Scillas”. They were neither botanists, nor taxonomists. After a late night search for some beek enlightenment, I stumbled upon your post. SQUILL? What in the world was this young lady talking about? Those pictures sure look like Scillas! Usually around here, in SE Wisconsin, just after the Snowdrops (Galanthus) are starting to fade, these blue beauties appear. After a quick search, I found we’re both right.

    As I said, Mom and Grandma weren’t naturalists, and I’m sure they had no clue they were referring to a Genus. All in all, aside from sentimentality, “Scilla” falls on my ear as more poetically descriptive of their beauty.

    “You say, TOMATO, and I say, TOMAHTO.” Again, thanx for the education.

    • Thanks for the comment Bruce! I’ll add the name Scilla to my post so other people know too. I think you are right about the name. Scilla is a beautiful and poetic name for such a pretty flower.

      Snowdrops are also a wonderful early spring flower for bees.

  9. Hello,

    I love the photographs of the bees bringing in blue pollen and would like to use some of those images to illusttrate a flowers for bees project I am working on for Friends of the Earth as part of our Bee Cause Campaign. I am part of a local group within North Tyneside England, but would be grateful if you could give me permission to provide the Friends of the Earth organisation to use your photos as part of our campaign royalty free.

    Many thanks.

    Best Regards.

    Carol Musgrove

  10. Wow, scilla are one of my favorite spring flowers – plant a few more each year because they are slow to expand at first – and yet I never noticed that the pollen was blue! That does look lovely!

  11. Love the squill photos :). We failed big time to get it to grow in the bank here so planted up a couple of big pots and it’s just coming into flower now (mid-Feb at 650 feet!). Hopefully get it established soon…

  12. Pingback: Snowdrops for Bees! - Beverly Bees

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