I read about the plants that attract honey bees. so I bought flower and vegetable seeds. I noticed that my bees do not visit all my flowers. I really just want to plant just for my bees. I have zinnias, cosmos, morning glory, four-o'clock, pincushions, pansies, begonias in which the bees do not care for. they like my lilies of the niles, poppies, blazing stars, sunflowers, and pumpkins. Could anyone tell me what plants my honey bee adores and make good honey. Heard the pussy-willow tree is a plant that makes great honey. How about the tea tree plant? I look forward in reading what you got to say.
I have a bee hive
In the mid west (50 miles northwest of Chicago), the first pollinators in the spring are trees- cottonwoods, oaks, hardwoods, then fruit trees. After being confined in the hive for so many months, the first major source of pollen here is dandelions. I have sowed white clover into the lawn that in my opinion, makes the best lightest, honey. When I remove the frames, the ones closest to the main hive tend to be dark with tree pollen, and as the summer progresses, the additional frames get lighter with the clover.
Alfalfa and red clover are also a main staple here, and I notice them hitting the grasses. There are times when I cannot mow or do not mow until dusk or on cold overcast days when the bees are not flying and they thank me for it with a shared bounty of honey.
Many of the "weeds" I used to try to control are favorites. I believe these contribute to the quality of the product and the quality of life for the bees.
thank you for your reply, cfbloom, around the neighborhood, I noticed clover and my bees are on them. I will do the clover plants. I understand about the weed control, lol, I let my dandelions grow and I water and feed them. I noticed in my backyard a sticker-plant I let grow in one spot because I see the bees on them. I try to use up all my spots of ground around my house lol. I live in California, not in the country. I go for a walk and I see my bees. You have any other kind of flowering plant that can be useful, I will read it. You know about the Angelica gigas plant. Thank you for the information on the honey supers, I havent got mine out yet. I feed my bees a sugar feed and I added on my honey supers, so I had to open the hive. Well they started making the combs on top of the frames, I did not want this so I took them off, even though they might have baby bees. The honey tasted just like S&H cane sugar, that is funny.
I don't have bee hives ... wish I could, but I do grow lots of plants for the butterflies and hummingbirds in my area. The one plant that I see lots of honey bees around all day long is my Pink Gaura bush! Those bees are out there at the crack of dawn all over the tiny blooms and then come back constantly throughout the day till almost dark. My plant got too tall and lanky that I had to trim it back. Of course, that meant cutting what blooms were left. No bees hardly at all in my yard after that, except on some Zinnias and Cosmos and few other plants. Within two weeks, the Guara came back with tons of blooms and once again the bees were back! There are so many on that plant, that I can hear them buzzing 20 feet away before I even reach that area. The bees really love those little blooms. Perhaps you could plant a few of these bushes around your yard as well? You do have to trim them back occasionally, but they are rather attractive in full bloom which seems to be every day! :-)
All the gauras, I think. We had a bumper crop this year. On the meadows you could smell the sweetness, and hearing the buzzing. Some of the other species are native to California. No idea what sort of honey they make... (The nice thing about pretty bee flowers is that you can trick, er, encourage your neighbors into planting them, so that your bees aren't limited to what you can fit in your own yard.)
Thank you very much on sharing this Pink Gaura bush. I will put on my list. My list so far is: clover, Angelica gigas, sunflowers any variety, pink garua bush, wild flowers (I bought a box of seeds at the grocery store). Please more tell me what you think
greenthumbjan, I don't know if these plant will produce good honey, but in my garden they are magnet for bees. Monarda, Salvia, Cerinthe Major, Autumn Joy sedum, Hollyhock, Goldenrod. Maybe some here can give you more info on the quality of honey, these produce. Cerinthe Major is a very big magnet. It's annual, but self sow easy.
Every year I have several fennel that grow about 5 feet tall. They are the host plant for black swallowtail butterflies but there are always honeybees at the many small blossoms. There are also many other small insects and skinny bodied wasps all day long. These fennel are called bronze fennel and I grow them from a pack of Burpees seeds from Lowes building supplies (Like Home Depot). I always wondered if the bee keepers hate licorice flavored honey but the bees seem to love these fennel.
Here is the question. How many acres do you have? It takes 1,000,000 flowers for the bees to make 1 pound of honey. An average full-capped medium honey super is 50-60 lbs......so.........do the math.
The problem with most if not all seeds and plants availabe for sale are F1 hybrids. These hybrids are bred for size, color, shape. ect. Along the way the F1 hybrids lose quantity and quality of pollen and nectar.
Most hybrid annual flowers bees ignore. Honey bees especially. Bumble's dont care as much.
If you had a few thousand acres of goldenrod you can have great fall honey.
Honey bees like, monarda, salvia (per.), veronica, sedum, agastache, mints, asters, argeretum (per.), liatris, shasta daisy, russian sage, gaura, poppies, and columbine to name a few flowers.
They love pumpkins, cukes, melons, and every berry you can think of.
They also love clethra, itea, all viburnums.
One thing to keep in mind is plants produce nectar and pollen at different times of the day. Some might produce nectar for the first 2-3 hours of the day and others the last 2-3 hours. In dry weather the plants might not produce any called a dearth.
Every year is different and they will visit a billion time more flowers in nature than you could ever provide for them.
Some abelia shrubs in my area were solidly covered with bees. It was a sight to behold. Pby's comment about the licorice flavored honey intrigues me-is that what would happen?-flavored honey? I don't have bee hives and know nothing. I just love raw unfiltered honey.
A few years ago I ordered a packet of mixed basil seeds (from Pinetree, I think). One particular kind of basil likes the growing conditions here soI always get lots of volunteers. This kind of basil (when there is enough rain) will make a small bush and has lots of the little purple flowers that the bees LOVE. In the fall when the basil has gotten big and most everything else is slowing down or dieing from the heat, the buzzing of all the bees is so loud it sounds like the garden itself is buzzing. I also have grown sweet basil and the bees like it too but not as much as this other kind. I wish I knew what kind it is because it is so easy to grow and it blooms for a long time (until first frost.)
patti, I can't speak specifically to licorice, but yeah, honeys made from different flowers taste different from each other. (Not necessarily with the same taste as the fruit of the plant.)
I agree with boxcar_grower about the flowers listed. Although I am a new beekeeper, I have been a gardener for many years. I note that honeybees ( and beekeepers) definitely benefit from having pollen and nectar available over a long period. By growing a variety of flowers you can provide food for your bees. The other thing to remember is that they will forage up to 2 or 3 miles from their hive. Asters & goldenrod are great for the fall, as are sunflowers. Monarda and russian sage are great for the summer. Fruit blossoms are excellent for the spring. My bees really liked the peach blossoms this past year. In South Dakota our growing season (nectar flow) season isn't very long, so I try to maximize the availability for my bees.
I didn't see Chaste (Vitex agnus-castus) listed - mine seems to be popular for B-bees as well as honeybees.
This message was edited Jan 28, 2012 11:23 AM