on the eve of frost

the zinnias the day before they died

Here in the south, in November, my mother’s zinnias are still blooming! Every time I visit the garden I pick a bunch to take home to Oxford with me.  Last week I saw some familiar faces around the flower beds.  Mom’s honeybees were gathering pollen.

Pollen is the honeybee’s protein. They carry it back to their hive in baskets on their legs, like panniers on a bicycle. It’s a heavy load for a little bee.They combine it with sweet nectars to make brood food for their larvae. This is likely some of the last pollen Mom’s bees will gather this fall, as Dad proclaims tonight will be the first frost.  It’s also a full moon. I’m not sure how much blooms in these parts after a full-mooned frost. Not zinnias.

bees carry pollen on their legs like panniers on a bicycle

We hope the bees have enough pollen, nectar, and honey stored in their hives to survive til the spring. Bees make honey to eat through the the winter when they can’t get the nectar they prefer.

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