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Plants to feed the bees; bee forage

 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    beekeeping forum -> Bee products, recipes, bee plants and apitherapy
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AndrewM
Foraging Bee


Joined: 24 Dec 2008
Posts: 139
Location: USA, Baltimore, Maryland

PostPosted: Mon Mar 08, 2010 1:25 am    Post subject: Plants to feed the bees; bee forage Reply with quote

I did a little searching on the forum and did not find a detailed topic on what plants best feed the bees. I think this would be an interesting ongoing topic. People can report what plants they see the bees foraging on in their area during different seasons. Pictures would be great.

Today was the first day warm enough for long range flying since the hard freeze last year. We still have snow on the ground in patches. The bees were bringing in pollen, which surprised me. A look around the neighborhood turned up some groups of purple crocus with lots of bees on them collecting pollen. I'm going to plant lots of them this fall for early food.

I also read snow drops were good early food, but can't find any around here to see if the bees are visiting them.

What are the bees feeding on in your neighborhood?

Andrew
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cvirtue
Scout Bee


Joined: 27 Apr 2008
Posts: 340
Location: near Nashua NH/Lowell MA, USA

PostPosted: Mon Mar 08, 2010 2:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's a thread on part of this (garden planting) here:
http://www.biobees.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=4963

The flower I saw the bees going crazy over was a bunch of thistles near our town library. There were so many bees that it was at least one bee per flower or more. Common spiky meter-high purple thistles, in one of the summer months.

Right now I wish I knew when the local trees would flower, because that's usually the first thing that does around here. They might be slightly interested in the crocus that should be up soon, though.
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Ivan
Scout Bee


Joined: 16 Jun 2008
Posts: 420
Location: UK, Scotland, Border Hills

PostPosted: Fri Mar 12, 2010 4:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's an interesting observation about the thistles. I have a fair crop of them in my field each late summer because I don't manage the grass too well and this is Scotland after all... but I would say the bees are less interested than the butterflies
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Tavascarow
Silver Bee


Joined: 24 Jun 2008
Posts: 848
Location: UK Cornwall Snozzle

PostPosted: Fri Mar 12, 2010 9:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mine have been pulling pollen for about a fortnight.
Three types that I can distinguish.
Lots of rusty orange pollen (hazel).
Small amounts of bright yellow (Dandelion).
& regular but not as much as the hazel grey/silver pollen (willow).
I estimate every third bee returning to the hive is carrying pollen, I'm assuming the others are bringing back water to dilute stores with.
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Vallee
Foraging Bee


Joined: 13 Mar 2010
Posts: 192
Location: Vienne, France.

PostPosted: Sun Jan 16, 2011 5:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bees out collecting pollen today here in central France. Plenty of hazel catkins about so I am assuming they have been collecting pollen from that. Nothing much else out at the moment.
Tavascarow said about pollen
Quote:
Three types that I can distinguish.
Lots of rusty orange pollen (hazel).
Small amounts of bright yellow (Dandelion).
& regular but not as much as the hazel grey/silver pollen (willow).


On my Pollen Identification Chart (by W D J Kirk) hazel is a "limey green" (which matched the colour of the pollen the bees were bringing in today) dandelion is "deep orange" and grey willow a "pale orange".
Has anyone any views on these differing colour observations?
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cmeete
House Bee


Joined: 26 Mar 2011
Posts: 16
Location: s.e.cornwall

PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 8:47 am    Post subject: plants bees seen on and feed off Reply with quote

In February/March the bees loved a particular mature pink floweringvcamellia bush and early flowering heathers. Later on in March and early April many were observed on flowering gorse/broom (the coconut smelling flowers) on a nearby heathland, the pollen from these flowers is an orangy colour.
Along with various types of bumbles they also seem to love flowering currant bushes, comfrey flowers (the blue, white and pink variety) and the flame tree - (a bush with lots of white bell type flowers). Have also observed them on mascaria and bluebells. But this is England - can't speak for USA.
Oh, and judging from the yellow dust as well as yellow pollen on a few bees and the knowledge that there is early flowering oil seed rape within the 3mile neighbourhood I would guess that is a safe bet at this time of year.
The white/grey pollen on the bees I am assuming is from the blackthorn - another bee favourite bloom. Hope this helps.
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