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Author Topic: Thistle?  (Read 1669 times)
harvey
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« on: June 28, 2009, 02:07:10 PM »

Hello,  I have about three acreas of thistle (tall pickers) that are covered in purple flowers.  Most of the flowers won't open for a week or so.  This field is just across the pond from where I have my hive.  I was going to plow this field and plant clover.   Will the honey bees use the nectar off of thistle flowers?  Should I leave it there till fall and then plow?   Or should I just leave it and let it bee.     
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jason58104
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« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2009, 02:46:51 PM »

Thistle is a decent honey plant, but if you live in an ag area your neighbors will want to shoot you for having it around.  It is a fast spreading and hard to kill plant.  In the long run you would be better off with clover.  I am also suprised your county vector control has not called to harass you yet!
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rdy-b
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« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2009, 02:51:17 PM »

the thistel will produce more nectar and is drought tollerant -around here they spray it-you have a gold mine there for honey
 grin RDY-B
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luvin honey
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« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2009, 03:31:16 PM »

How about leave your bees foraging in it for a while, then mow it down before it goes to seed and plow it under? Might keep everyone happy that way Smiley
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The pedigree of honey
Does not concern the bee;
A clover, any time, to him
Is aristocracy.
---Emily Dickinson
harvey
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« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2009, 04:03:45 PM »

county vector control?   who or what is that?    This was a field that I had planted in corn, wheat and clover for the deer but this year I did not plant and it is completely overgrown with thistle.  There are a million purple flowers about to open.  My hive is a brand new swarm that still has not filled out very well.  maybe eight frames in the bottom box and I just added a top box with no comb.  I have been feeding sugar and water at 1 to 1 mix and they are gobbling that.  They have capped brood now so soon more bees.  They have been in that hive for just over three weeks.  I am not looking for honey for a while i don't think.  would be nice though.  I know after the thistle is over I will have goldenrod.  But if the thistle makes good honey maybe I will just leave it.   At least it doesn't require any maintenance.
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hankdog1
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« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2009, 04:24:32 PM »

Harvey i'd leave them at least until the flow ends.  Thistle is some really good honey between that and the goldenrod you might end up with a pretty good crop.  It does make a pretty dang good honey.  Leave it alone for the bees if you can get some honey i think you'll be pleased with the taste.
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luvin honey
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« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2009, 04:26:04 PM »

Not sure about vector control, but I think the state does have some control over some noxious weeds. Not sure if thistle is one of them...

At any rate, your farming neighbors (if you have them) might be a bit peeved to watch a 3-acre field of thistle going to seed and blowing into their fields... They sure are beautiful, though!
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The pedigree of honey
Does not concern the bee;
A clover, any time, to him
Is aristocracy.
---Emily Dickinson
kathyp
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« Reply #7 on: June 28, 2009, 04:32:19 PM »

i have been letting the thistle grow.  the smaller flowered thistle seems to be the one the bees go for.  the huge flowers, only the bumble bees like.  when they are done, i mow them down.  if, in the future, they get out of hand, weedmaster kills them easily. 
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
harvey
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« Reply #8 on: June 28, 2009, 04:42:58 PM »

Well I recon if they make good honey, since I don't have to care for them such as mowing or fertilizing or anything and I sure don't have to worry about something choking them out I will just leave all those pretty purple flowers for the bees!   
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bailey
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« Reply #9 on: June 28, 2009, 08:49:04 PM »

let it stand, our bees go ape over it!

bailey
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It is better to keep ones mouth shut and be thought of as a fool than to open ones mouth and in so doing remove all doubt.
utahbeekeeper
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« Reply #10 on: June 28, 2009, 10:21:07 PM »

I wear the County Weed Abatement hat in these parts.  Bailey  that thistle looks like Elk thistle, and it is not on noxious weed lists around here.  Scotch, Canada, Yellowstar and Musk are . . . but many others are not all that invasive and don't grow 7 feet tall like Scotch.  These 4 are not worth the trade off . . . nectar for obnoxious . . . don't let 'em get established.

I too never heard of Vector Control . . . . sounds like a final approach console at Salt Lake City International Airport.
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irekkin
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« Reply #11 on: June 28, 2009, 11:13:05 PM »

i try to leave some thistle around the edges of my fields along with goldenrod, wild aster and what ever else will come up wild. everything has it's place wether we understand it or not.
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when you're dumb, ya gotta be tough.
Natalie
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« Reply #12 on: June 28, 2009, 11:37:34 PM »

That thistle is so pretty I can only imagine what acres of it must look like when in bloom.
I would keep it too, nature at its best.
I wish I had some free bee flowers just shooting up somewhere for my girls, I spend alot of time and money planting bee friendly flowers for them in the yard.
You and the girls will both enjoy the thistle, you for the asthetics and they for the food source.
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danno
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« Reply #13 on: June 29, 2009, 07:50:10 AM »

Here in west michigan when the thistle pops they fill supers fast.  Its major!!
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Nathen
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« Reply #14 on: June 29, 2009, 08:48:58 AM »

I've never heard of Vector Control having a problem with thistle....but maybe.  Vector Control is an agency to prevent the spread of disease.  As such, they try to eliminate useless breeding grounds for disease-harboring insects, such as mosquitos and ticks.  They're the guys that will ask you not to have stagnant standing water on your property as it is a breeding ground for mosquitos.  Maybe an uncontrolled thistle patch could be considered a breeding ground for ticks, but that seems like a stretch.  Any wooded area with underbrush is a breeding ground for ticks.  I can't see a thistle patch making that much worse.

Either way, the farmers aren't gonna like it.  Thistles and sunflowers are two plants that they typically don't like to see get established.  They both clog up farm equipment pretty bad and can be difficult to get under control once they are established.
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-Nathen
charlotte
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« Reply #15 on: June 29, 2009, 12:26:29 PM »

The bees do love it, but here in WI it is a noxious weed & if neighbors start complaining the county will come & spray it then send you the bill.  The problem is that is spreads like wildfire..long distances too because those seeds fly really well.  If I were you, I would let it bloom, but as soon as the flowers start to fade mow it way down, so it doesn't have a chance to make seeds.  Actually if you mow it, you may get a second, even third set of blossoms.  I think if anyone questioned you & you explained that you are managing it for your bees & not letting it go to seed, no one would mind.  Good luck!!
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Natalie
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« Reply #16 on: June 29, 2009, 12:54:24 PM »

Someone on this thread that is familiar with the laws, thistle types and such already posted and said this type of thistle is not considered a noxious weed.
He explained there are 4 types of thistle that are invasive and this is not one of them so he should be fine to leave it for now.
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kathyp
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« Reply #17 on: June 29, 2009, 12:59:34 PM »

isn't it a state to state thing?  he needs to know what his state considers invasive or noxious. 
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
danno
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« Reply #18 on: June 29, 2009, 01:20:29 PM »

I am a lic. commercial applicator here in michigan and have never heard of the state spraying and sending out bills.  I love the star thistle bloom
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kathyp
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« Reply #19 on: June 29, 2009, 01:44:13 PM »

Quote
I love the star thistle bloom


ahhhhhahhh.  nasty stuff!!!   grin
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
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