A few days ago I was asked to remove bees from a tree in someone's yard. When I got there, I found a large, mature live oak with a lot of bees on it...thousands... but no cavity anywhere. Hence, no colony to collect. I'd not seen bees on oak trees like that before, but now that I look around I find them on all the live oaks around here. They seem to be foraging on those little brown balls that grow on the trees.
So, my question is this: what are they collecting? Pollen? Propolis? I couldn't tell from looking at the foragers.
I was disappointed that there wasn't a colony, but am now curious as to what they're after.
Sounds like they are collecting honeydew nectar from the galls. That usually means there is not much else going on to collect from in the area.
I did a Google search and found information on Oak Apple Galls caused by a parasite wasp. The bees are after the honeydew. Here are links to a couple of sites discussing them.
I makes a low quality honey, from what I understand, and they usually go for other things first. It is like emergency food for them.
Interesting stuff to know... I'd never heard that before. thanks guys