Sunday, May 9, 2010

Plants that Make the Bees Happy!

I have had several people ask for my notes from the Bee Plant class from Bee School, so I decided to post them on the blog so that whoever wants them can take a look. (I hope Bee School doesn't sue me for using notes from class on my blog).

Smaller flowers and more flowers are more useful to honeybees

Photosynthesis = Nectar

Sunlight, moisture, and soil contribute to the quality of nectar

How good it is as a source depends on
1. quantity of the nectar
2. the availability of lots of plants
3. that the honeybees can get at the nectar
4. the type of nectar

I've put in BOLD the most important plants for happy bees!

SKUNK CABBAGE has lots of pollen but only for a short time
PUSSY WILLOW pollen plant and some nectar
CROCUS pollen
RED MAPLE pollen and some nectar
POPLARS (lindens and aspens) pollen
SHADBUSH (serviceberry) pollen and nectar
DANDELION a lot of surplus nectar; good hive stimulus (good honey to make mead with)
GROUND IVY nectar and a pleasant honey - lots of vitamin C
VIOLET some nectar but honeybees only go to if there is nothing else
APPLE HUGE boost to hive and honey; get honey supers on...3-10 # of honey a day if near an orchard--there is often swarming around apple blossom time
PEACH not as many flowers but good
PLUM AND CRAB pollen and nectar
AZALIA concern with these plants as toxic to humans
ROSA MULTIFLORA nectar and pollen ('real' roses don't have nectar)
BLUEBERRY honeybees prefer low bush; bumblebees prefer high bush
CRANBERRY makes a beautiful RED honey
STRAWBERRY nectar and pollen
BRAMBLES are all good
BLACK LOCUST excellent nectar
HONEYSUCKLE you want 'tartarian' type for pollen and nectar
SAGE good, cut back after it blooms for nectar and pollen
FEVERFEW has NO nectar or pollen
MTN LAUREL nectar and pollen; toxic to bees in high quantities?
CLOVER nectar and pollen
white=pollen and some nectar
'alsike' is pale white and purple and is best!
white sweet and yellow sweet are awesome
yellow hop clover makes a lighter nectar
red clover sometimes good, but sometimes hard for honeybees to get to nectar
ALFALFA pollen and nectar, but depends on when farmer cuts it
SWEET PEPPER BUSH bees are all over it!
'clethra olnifolia' is the type your want, enjoys damp areas and is a good cut flower too
BORAGE bees love the flowers and it blooms into september
ECHINACEA bees love it
MUSTARD thin honey but dependable for nectar
MILKWEED nectar and honey, great yields
JAPANESE BAMBOO is invasive, but bees like it
RAPE SEED good nectar
BUCKWHEAT bees love it and it's good for the soil; the nectaries close in the afternoon and this makes the bees cranky!
SUMAC comes at a good time of year
FIREWEED nectar and pollen
CHICORY nectar and it has a long bloom
PLUME POPPY can be invasive but bees like it (grows 6-8 feet tall)
CALENDULA not good
PURPLE LOOSESTRIFE nectar and some pollen; invasive
ANISE HYSSOP wonderful bee plant and blooms for a long time
MINTS are great for bees
ST JOHNS WORT bees like it, but not a prevalent plant
BROCCOLI nectar and the bees love it; let a few go to flower
ONIONS nectar
CELOME nectar
KNAPWEED star thistle-nectar and pollen
JOE PYEWEED wet land; some nectar, lght pollen
GOLDENROD often starts blooming when taking off honey supers, so good for bees to winterize; smells wonderful as bees fan it off
FALL ASTER winter stores!! it is greatly affected by soil and weather

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