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Author Topic: Let's talk nectar sources.  (Read 5633 times)
David McLeod
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« on: November 17, 2010, 05:53:54 PM »

My head has been on a swivel as I go down the road trying to determine my nectar sources for next year. There is one that I have a question on. Bradford Pear (Pryus calleryi), is it a significant source of nectar or mainly pollen? Just 400 yards down the road is a half acre lot totally infested with the stuff. It is an invasive species around here and is common along the roadsides and old fields. I probably have ten or more acres of the stuff within flight distance of the yard. Another question is how dependable a source is soybean? Right at a mile away is a field of aproximately 15 acres by my guess.
My main spring flow is going to be the tulip poplar as it and sweet gum are the dominant trees in the area. Third most common seems to be a mix of florida and red maple so the early pollen is there. No hackberry, black locust or sorrel (sourwood) Sad. Also within flight distance are several dozen acres of old fields so the goldenrod/aster should be reliable. The fruit tree bloom will consist of a scattering of apple and pear in the neighborhood, no orchards. Hollies (ornamental) are common in the yards throughout the area. Between myself and a couple neighbors will be at least an acres worth of garden veggies including melons and cukes plus corn, beans, peas and okra.
Well what have y'all got and if there any georgia folks around or to the south of Atlanta add whatever I may have missed.
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tecumseh
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« Reply #1 on: November 18, 2010, 07:37:20 AM »

a David snip..
Another question is how dependable a source is soybean?

tecumseh:
I have never had bees on soybeans.  The long term story seems to suggest that nectar production by soybeans can either be good or zip.  Soil type often seems to be the largest variable.
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nella
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« Reply #2 on: November 18, 2010, 07:55:37 AM »

I have my bees in the middle of 60 acres of soybeans and 15 tulip poplar trees next to the hives and never seen  bees in either of them!!
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Hemlock
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« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2010, 08:10:13 AM »

a local farmer had 100 hives in his soy fields.  He told me bees can give him 3 - 4 extra bushels per acre.  So they are at least a pollen source.
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AllenF
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« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2010, 08:47:58 AM »

A few people get upset about bees over GM crops.   I don't (at this point in my life).   But that is something to consider.  Ask about the soybeans to see if they are GM (odds are).   Just wanted to throw that out there.
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David McLeod
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« Reply #5 on: November 18, 2010, 11:32:25 AM »

I don't know enough to determine if I should be concerned over GM crops but I am concerned over pesticides and wonder if I should be concerned about a site that my bees would be on if and when pesticides are applied.
How does one approach these landowners to ask? I would think one would get some resistance if someone came around asking about what chemicals are used on their property. In the local area we do still have some agriculture (soybean and cotton) though I suspect most of it is as much for retaining agriculture tax benefits as it is about growing a crop since most of these fields abut and are probobly slated for sub division development.
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kathyp
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« Reply #6 on: November 18, 2010, 11:52:05 AM »

i am fortunate that there are lots of berry fields around and bees are used.  people are pretty good about not spraying when the bees are on.  i did have to talk to the church on the road and some of my neighbors about spraying.  when i went to the church, i just explained that i kept bees and that spraying the blackberries when they were in bloom not only was bad for my bees, but not the best way to keep the blackberries in check.  they didn't know any better and were great about it.  i gave them some honey this year.

if you go to the farmers and explain that you are a beekeeper and are trying to find out what is sprayed and when, i think most will understand your concern and cooperate.  nothing lost by trying.
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Hemlock
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« Reply #7 on: November 18, 2010, 01:34:53 PM »

David,

I think you're right about showing up cold at his front door telling him not to spray is crops.  A shotgun may be involved.

Try going to the local extension office.  Talk to the agents in there.  They should know who is using what chemicals around your location & when those chemicals are in use.  If they don't they will know when the next meeting will be.  All these AG types (farmers) go to a few meeting each year to certify for this, or update their license on that.  Maybe you can find your farmer at the meeting and easily strike up a conversation about your concerns.  Adding a bribe of free honey, like Kathy suggested, will help your case.  Plus you will learn much about what is going on around you & your bees.  Who's using GMO and who's not.   It would help your conversation with farmers if you knew what they know about the current state of the art of their crops.  Help them and you will make friends. 

Or do a presentation about bees for them.  10 or 15 minutes of yield models & forecasted revenue benefits per acre might spur a healthy interest in yours and everyone elses bees.

It might sound like a lot of work but hey!, you're a beekeeper.  That comes with the territory.  And there are bonuses.  One cattle guy down the road from me wants me to put hives on his property just for his garden. 
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BjornBee
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« Reply #8 on: November 18, 2010, 02:00:43 PM »

Crops such as soybeans can present some danger to bees. But as already presented, bees sometimes won't touch the stuff anyways. But....

* About 95% of the soybean seed (and field corn) are pretreated with neonicotinoid systemic pesticides. And we know that many times it's not one spray that does the damage but the added effect of many.

* Many state agriculture departments are promoting "no-till" farming practices. This involves the spraying of a field to kill weeds instead of traditional deep tilling. One day you have lush greed fields of soil amending plants like clover, then the next, you have barren wastelands after spraying. I wrote about this a couple months back. Link on this and scroll down to the no till farming writeup.

http://www.bjornapiaries.com/beekeeperramblings.html

Myself, I try to stay as far away as possible to field corn and soybeans. If in doubt, just ask the farmer to see a few seeds from the bag of corn or soybean seed they are planting. If they are coated with pink or blue, or about any other color, they are systemic treated.
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David McLeod
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« Reply #9 on: November 18, 2010, 03:31:04 PM »

Well, y'all have given me even more reason to bug the ag agent. I'm already in there once or twice a month with my marketing. Maybe getting in touch with the farmers directly can be helpful to me in other ways as well. LOL
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Georgia Wildlife Services,Inc
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David McLeod
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« Reply #10 on: November 18, 2010, 03:32:42 PM »

I still wonder about the bradford pear though. The thing is a weed around here and if I can expect a flow off of it I'm good if not I guess the bees need the pollen.
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cam
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« Reply #11 on: November 18, 2010, 04:00:04 PM »

I have a few Bradford Pears down the street. Never seen a bee on the flowers.
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Hemlock
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« Reply #12 on: November 18, 2010, 04:02:11 PM »

Here is a good article on 'Pesticides Applied to Crops and Honey Bee Toxicity'.  Published May of 2010
 (http://www.extension.org/pages/Pesticides_Applied_to_Crops_and_Honey_Bee_Toxicity)

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latebee
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« Reply #13 on: November 19, 2010, 09:12:35 PM »

  Pear is an important source of pollen,but not nectar.The pear nectar averages under 3%,so I would assume that the pear gets pollinated by by the pollen gathering workers and not the girls looking for nectar.
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Hemlock
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« Reply #14 on: November 19, 2010, 10:55:31 PM »

latebee,

Are you talking about Pear (Pyrus communis) or Bradford Pear (pyrus calleryana).   The bees love common wild Pear (P. communis).  Whether they're on it for the pollen or nectar i don't yet know.  The wild pears in the back woods are loaded down the the ground with bee pollinated fruit each year.   So best guess but the bees are all over it at bloom.

I've not seen the bees on Bradford Pear (P. calleryana) though.  Bradfords do self pollinate.  Plus there are many horticultural varieties.  Pears species of a type we get fruit from should be attractive to bees.  One way or another. 

If someone has seen bees on a Bradford please speak up
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Finski
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« Reply #15 on: November 20, 2010, 01:24:25 AM »

a local farmer had 100 hives in his soy fields.  He told me bees can give him 3 - 4 extra bushels per acre.  So they are at least a pollen source.

in my knowledge soya is self pollinating.
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Finski
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« Reply #16 on: November 20, 2010, 01:36:39 AM »

.
I have trained nectar source evaluation  last 10 years when I noticed that yied may be 3-fold between sites and even 5 fold.

Rape is good but it needs something else mass blooming if rape yield is unsuccesfull. Rape does not like hot weather. When rape has bloomed 2 weeks wha tbees do then during 8 weeks?

The distance. .....efficient surplus distance is under one kilometre. If the rape fiels is 1,5 far away, 50% of yield will be losed.

Dry sandy and cliffy soils are worst. Bees need warm and dry soils suffer easily lack of water.
We have tens of hectars fireweed in dry forest areas but it is better stay out of there.
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BjornBee
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« Reply #17 on: November 20, 2010, 07:24:05 AM »

a local farmer had 100 hives in his soy fields.  He told me bees can give him 3 - 4 extra bushels per acre.  So they are at least a pollen source.

in my knowledge soya is self pollinating.

Many crops and fruits are self -pollinating.

But is has been shown that additional pollination for these crops does increase yields many times up to 10% as compared to no pollination.

For some crops like self-pollinating fruits trees, where they will be thinned anyways, no farmer is going to pay for an extra 10%. I'm sure the soybean farmer will not pay either for a few bushels more, but he will see an increase with pollination.

Self-pollinating fruit crops may also see a better uniformed and developed fruit with honey bee pollination.
So lets not discount pollination even on crops that could, if need be, go without pollination. Honey bees give in many ways even when we are not paying attention.
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Finski
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« Reply #18 on: November 20, 2010, 09:25:30 AM »

.
In my country no one pay  for pollination. Should I take honey 50 or 100 kg per hive?
I try maximize my nectar sources. I do not count on others pollination needs. In my part of country beehives are few and most crops depend on natural insect pollination.

I have here 50 hectares rape fields inside a mile and 2-4 hives per hectare is recomded. It is madness to put 100 hives or 50 on same field. If rape does not give yield, I get nothing. It is said that don't put eggs in same basket.

On variable pastures I get maximum yield when I put 2-4 hives in one point. Hives give easily about 100 kg per hive but all sites or hives are not so succesfull. Things hapens.

Best yield pastures are here farm orchards, dandelion, raspberry, rape, fireweed, thistles
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Hemlock
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« Reply #19 on: November 20, 2010, 02:31:24 PM »

Finski,

I was speaking in general.  The farmer had 2 yards with 50 hives each.  the 'Fields' are actually several hundred acres in size.  These fields are surrounded by Yellow Poplar/Oak/Laural Woodlands.  Plus all his neighbors grow soy or pasture as well.  There is More than enough forage for his bees.  
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