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Author Topic: Honeybees and Buckwheat  (Read 2531 times)
beemaster
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« on: August 17, 2004, 07:27:36 PM »

Dear Sir,
 
Thank you for your website!!!!!!  I am anxious to study every page!!!!!
 
I am a new beekeeper, having 10 colonies of Italian bees.  We planted our garden full of Buckwheat, but the bees have ignored the blossoms, and now the buckwheat is nearly ready for harvesting.  Are bees only attracted to a specific brand of buckwheat?  If elevation is important,  I live in Pennsylvania, at 2,500 feet.
 
Thank you.
Yvonne
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Robo
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« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2004, 09:44:35 PM »

Unlike bumblebees and other native pollinators that jump from flower to flower regardless of the variety, the honeybee is selective and will only work one variety at a time.  So if there is another plant that is in bloom at the same time, that the honeybees prefer, it is not surprizing that your buckwheat is being overlooked.
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« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2004, 10:23:06 AM »

Yvonne,
Elevation has nothing to do with it. As Robo says, if there is another plant that is blooming the same time as your buckwheat that offers a nectar that more closely meets the nutrional needs of the bees, they will fly right over your buckwheat to get to it.
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Yvonne
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« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2004, 10:14:54 PM »

Thank you for those insights into why my bees did not go to my buckwheat plants.  I will be more observing of other food sources, and I am thankful that elevation is not the problem.

I talked with another beekeeper who suggested that some Buckwheat plants do not produce nectar, and I would have to purchase special buckwheat seed.   Have you ever heard of this explanation, and if true, where would I buy such seed?  Walter T Kelley Company sells clover seed, but they do not know where I'd purchase this special buckwheat seed.

Thanks so much for your time and interest in figuring out this problem.  Sincerely,
Yvonne
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« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2004, 10:05:56 PM »

I talked with another beekeeper yesterday that had the same problem with buckwheat as you've had. He told me that he planted 5 acres of the stuff that the bees wouldn't touch. He says that his seed supplier told him that some of the new hybridized buckwheat doesn't depend on insects for pollenization and therefore produces little or no nectar for the bees to gather.

Try talking with your local agricultural supplier (such as Agway) to see if they can get you some oldtime (un-hybridized) buckwheat seed. If not, there are some suppliers of wildflower seeds on the internet that carry buckwheat seed that may work.
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« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2004, 08:52:52 AM »

I guess that is good for the farmers, but not so good for the Beepkeeps.

Buckwheat pancakes just won't have the same appeal to me anymore Cool
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MagicRay
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« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2005, 01:37:27 PM »

Does anyone have any results with unhybridized buckwheat and how long and significant is the buckwheat nectar flow?

Raymond
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Chad S
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« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2005, 02:28:13 PM »

I use organic Japanese Buckwheat.  I use Buckwheat as a cover crop, and to prep newly broken ground as the Buckwheat seems to choke everything else out.  Last year a friend had bees at our house, and the bees used the Buckwheat late in he season, and made some really dark almost green honey from it.  I thought the honey was nice some said it was to strong to the taste.  This year so far they have not really been on the Buckwheat.  The bees are not on the Crimson, and Dutch white clover that is in my field that much.  Instead they are flying off the property some where to forage.  Kind of funny since it looks like I grew a banquet for them and they are dinning out.  

To your question though Yvonne Buckwheat will flower in like 4-6 weeks try stagering out a couple of more plantings to see if they take it later in the season.  At the very least your should have some very nice soil to plant something else in next year.

Chad
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Yvonne
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« Reply #8 on: July 14, 2005, 08:10:42 PM »

Dear Chad,

Yes, it does seem you planted a banquet and your bees are dining out!!  Thank you for telling me the type of buckwheat you planted -  JAPANESE.  I think that the problem is indeed planting the right type of seed.  I have been told that  SILVERHULL will also produce nectar that bees will use for producing honey.  However, we have planted vegies in our garden this year, and the soil truly is better since we had buckwheat covering it - less unwanted plants (weeds, as some call them).  I'll look for Japanese and Silverhull next year!  Happy beekeeping, and thanks for your reply.
Sincerely,
Yvonne
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2005, 08:06:29 AM »

Sometimes the bees find a more RELIABLE source of nectar than buckwheat.  In other words, buckwheat only produces nectar in the mornings.  The bees have to shift gears in the middle of the day.  Sometimes they will do that.  Sometimes they will be more loyal to a nectar source that they can work all day.
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