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Author Topic: Dandelions  (Read 1577 times)
gardeningfireman
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« on: April 10, 2012, 10:17:59 AM »

When I was a kid, I always saw bees on dandelions. The bee plant resources all cite dandelions as an important spring nectar/pollen source. This is my fifth year as a beek, and I don't think I have seen a single bee on a dandelion! What gives? huh
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Bennettoid
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« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2012, 10:51:02 AM »

You must have other, better stuff growing there.
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tandemrx
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« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2012, 11:25:15 AM »

I like the question as I have had the same experience - and there is little else out there right now for us.  Have to say that the cold temps that have swept in are keeping the foraging down, but they are out and about at mid-day and I just don't see them on local dandelion patches. huh
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sawdstmakr
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« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2012, 11:38:15 AM »

I have several plants that bloom near my hives and most of the time I never see them on them. My wife's garden is right next to the hives but we seldom see bees on them. I know they do visit them because ever since I started with the bees there is a drastic difference in the amount of food it produces. It may be they hit it first thing and then move on and we just never see them. My blueberry bushes are just beyond the garden. I have never seen a honey bee on when they are in bloom. Lots of carpenter bees but no honey bees. We have a Strong crop growing right now.
Jim
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Bennettoid
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« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2012, 11:39:17 AM »

Sometimes they are on things and we have no clue what they are working. I know they are on the fruit trees in my area right now, but three weeks ago I didn't know what they were bringing in. They were carrying pollen tho, so there was something out there they liked. Last summer at one point they were not on the clover or the dandelions, the bees were working the Holly trees and I had no idea until I took a walk one day.
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kathyp
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« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2012, 11:45:13 AM »

they are the first abundant food for my bees.  i have tried to bribe my neighbors into not mowing them down in the fields, but no luck sad
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Finski
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« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2012, 02:42:22 PM »

.
I have hundreds of hectares dandelions every year. The aroma of honey is splended.
It depends on weather do bees get surplus from dandelions, but only 2-box wintered colonies can do that. Smaller hives use everything to feed brood.

I get dandelion honey in 5 years out of 10. Apple trees bloom here at same time.

I start just now to feed hives with protein patty that new bees are old enough to forage dandelion. With natural system brooding starts when willows start to bloom first of May.
With natural system bees are too young to forage even if the hive is big.

Dandelion blooms here 28.5 - 10.6.
Last Summer bees had one foraging day in dandelion. It was raining all the time.


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enchplant
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« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2012, 05:14:26 PM »

It could have something to do with temperature. I know that sometimes nectar from some flowers (abutilons, fuchsias etc) is sweet and attractive to hummingbirds and other times it is just watery and plain. This was from my own taste testing. Maybe taste your dandelions!
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Finski
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« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2012, 05:30:02 PM »

It could have something to do with temperature. I know that sometimes nectar from some flowers (abutilons, fuchsias etc) is sweet and attractive to hummingbirds and other times it is just watery and plain. This was from my own taste testing. Maybe taste your dandelions!

yes, there is somethind odd in dandelion nectar. I have seen that when weathers are really good, flowers do not give nectar. I think that they grow so fast in moist and warm weather the sugar content is too low.

Often hives get 15 kg honey per hive, but if next week is rainy, hives eate all.
Sometimes I have got 40 kg per hive.

However, dandelion  is important here  to all hives' build up.

.
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Bleemus
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« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2012, 09:30:04 PM »

Dandelion pollen is not a great pollen for bees but is traditional flower to gauge spring activity. Dandelion lacks many amino acids to make for great protein balanced pollen so if a better source is available the bees will ignore it.
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MTWIBadger
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« Reply #10 on: April 10, 2012, 09:41:05 PM »

Dandelions haven't started to bloom yet here in western Montana.  They are a very important source of nectar and pollen in early spring here. My bees love them and bring in loads of yellow pollen. I don't like the taste of dandelion honey so I leave it on for winter stores.
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MT204
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« Reply #11 on: April 10, 2012, 10:10:15 PM »

Don't even have green grass yet in  northwest Montana
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MTWIBadger
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« Reply #12 on: April 10, 2012, 10:23:21 PM »

I mowed my grass for the first time on Saturday.  The dandelions are a week or two away and that's when the hives explode in population signaling the start of swarm season.  I live in the Banana Belt of Montana (southwest MT).
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Finski
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« Reply #13 on: April 11, 2012, 01:49:48 AM »

n. I don't like the taste of dandelion honey so I leave it on for winter stores.

that i do not understand. I sell all my honey  2000 kg. I do not eate much.
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MTWIBadger
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« Reply #14 on: April 11, 2012, 10:01:18 AM »

The honey I get after the dandelion flow is made up of white clover, knapweed, and alfalfa and has a much better flavor than the honey made during the dandelion flow.  If you don't believe me, I'll send you a pound of spun honey of each kind for you to tast for yourself.
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Finski
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« Reply #15 on: April 11, 2012, 11:38:17 AM »

The honey I get after the dandelion flow is made up of white clover, knapweed, and alfalfa and has a much better flavor than the honey made during the dandelion flow.  If you don't believe me, I'll send you a pound of spun honey of each kind for you to tast for yourself.

thanks for offer!

Plants have different flavours. I accept all and I mix them. Canola  honey is like sugar as pure honey. Fire feed is as poor taste. Those are about 80% of my yield? Do I cast them away because they are the best? No, I mix all and take money away from customers. It will be a fat flavour the more mixture has flowers.

Dandelion is one of the best aromas what I know.

.
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Vance G
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« Reply #16 on: April 11, 2012, 11:05:39 PM »

I am in Great Falls Mt and I have a dandelion blooming in my yard today!  My bees however are thirty miles out of town and 500 feet higher and not a sign of a plant yet and very little tree pollen.  My bees would be starving right now without supplimental feeding.  They have used a huge amount of stores this last warm month with no forage.  I have capped drone brood and will need to worry about swarming in a couple weeks I bet. 
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Hemlock
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« Reply #17 on: April 12, 2012, 12:16:20 AM »

Gardeningfireman,

I know this is out of your bee's range but there used to be a 1 or 2 acre yard just South of Streetsboro on the West side of route 43 that was almost 100% full of dandelions every Spring.  If you get over that way (and they still let their lawn be that beautiful) you might be able to gauge this years crop of the weed.  I think the house was a red brick ranch set in a woods edge.

The yard was open and in solid dandelion blooms.  Wish my yard would do that but it only likes chives.
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gardeningfireman
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« Reply #18 on: April 12, 2012, 09:39:55 AM »

Hemlock,
Wow, you really do your homework! I take it you used to live around there. I used to live in Aurora (about 14 years). My wife would KILL me if I let the yard get completely taken over like that. I have some large patches of clover that I don't mow while it's blooming and she gets mad about that! Little does she know I have a bag of clover seed in the shed waiting to be sown! grin
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nietssemaj
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« Reply #19 on: April 12, 2012, 09:44:49 AM »

My front yard is full of dandelions and purple clover.
My back yard is full of bidens and some weird plant with photo sensitive yellow flowers. (They close when the sun starts to go down).
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