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Author Topic: Late summer /Fall bee plants and an observation  (Read 618 times)
MsCarol
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Location: Southern Middle TN


« on: August 19, 2013, 02:01:18 PM »

Was out giving the dogs a good run as well as scouting around for bee activity. For the last 10 years or so, there were honey bees on most every corner of the farm. Many were escapes from a neighbor that had been in bees for a few years. There appeared to be a thriving feral population for at least that many years. Not so this year. Not sure if it was a combination of early last summer's brutal heat/drought that dried up many of the early nectar sources or this springs cool, late and damp start extending into a damp summer, but the bees are not there like they were. Last winter wasn't severe. I fear the feral honey bee population took a hard hit either way.

I was also trying assess what late summer/fall plants are yet to bloom. Goldenrod isn't yet although I don't have much as the cows eat it. Is Perilla Mint (Perilla fructens)a good bee plant? I have plenty. In fact I am covered up in it. It hasn't started to bloom yet either. Ironweed has just started as is another 2 different weeds with white blooms that I don't know the species. One smells good to me.

I downloaded the old Bee Plants book, but there are now a number of "invasive" species that flourish here in the southeast that are not in the book. The Perilla mint for one.

So what ye say wise ones, what are some of the late bee plants? Hoping my one little hive can build up enough stores to winter. Thanks to this groups wisdom, I already gave it a boost in population with a frame of brood. The queen apparently liked the addition of the comb space as she is filling the empty cells with eggs as fast as the last occupant clears them.  Smiley
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Wolfer
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« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2013, 06:16:02 PM »

Don't know about where your at but here the bees are working Buckbrush( Indian current ) heavy. Iron weed was blooming good but my bees here didn't work it much this year. They've been on Buckbrush for solely for 3 weeks or better as far as I can tell.
I generally have a lot of aster here that they work hard. It'll be the last plant to bloom. I don't have much goldenrod here but what I have is just starting to bloom.
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10framer
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« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2013, 07:32:12 PM »

mine are working sumac.  My better producers have drawn out foundation and put up some stores in the last week.  Different varieties bloom at different times.  Where I grew up sumac was over in June but her it has only been blooming for a week or two.  It's a decent flow and it lasts a while.  Kudzu will produce a little.  I think some vetches may be fall bloomers and maybe box weed.  But I'm not sure about those two.
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hjon71
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« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2013, 10:20:27 AM »

I found this while pondering the same question a couple months back:
 http://honeybeenet.gsfc.nasa.gov/Honeybees/Forage.htm

Click on the area you live for a list of plants.
For me the next significant flow will be soybean. Seems everyone planted it this year.
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MsCarol
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« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2013, 11:06:58 AM »


For me the next significant flow will be soybean. Seems everyone planted it this year.

If the bees will work them, I have 50 acres of this place planted in beans (leased out the land) right now. The plants are blooming, but I haven't seen any bees on them. Maybe need to go sit out in the field a bit more. Especially the one closest to the hives - about 250 yards away.

Thank you for the link. It still leaves out a couple plants that I KNOW the bees love. One of which is "Creeping Charlie" (Glechoma hederacea) which has invaded my garden and during the spring bloom period, I must be cautious hand pulling it out to avoid grabbing a bee.
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hjon71
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« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2013, 12:10:32 PM »

I will admit ignorance here. Being new myself I know very little about pollen/nectar/bloom dates. And honesty not too concerned with it. I figure as long as the bees know I'll let them handle it. Wink
Doesn't stop my curiosity though. I dunno
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pkalisz
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« Reply #6 on: August 21, 2013, 09:35:20 PM »

According to FC Pellet "American Honey Plants" (4th ed.; 1976):
(1) Ironweed - "At times bees work them very eagerly, but it is doubtful whether they are often of much value..." (2) Perilla - "Bees get honey in some neighborhoods...it may prove of advantage to the beekeeper." (3) Soybeans - "There is little to indicate that the soybean is an important honey plant anywhere although it does at times yield some nectar. The fact that bees may work one variety at times while neglecting others blooming nearby indicates a variation in nectar yield..." (4) Goldenrod - "There is wide difference...in the value of different species to the beekeeper...It is a well-known fact that the secretion of nectar ...is greatly influenced by soil and climatic conditions...It is very probable...some species of Goldenrod varies as much in its nectar secretion under different conditions as we know to be the case with alfalfa."
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