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Everything connected to growing blueberries

Foraging sources for honeybees

Posted by blueberrytalk on April 7, 2008

This is a chronological list of the food sources for honeybees. Some occur naturally in the area and some have been added to supplement the bee’s diet. Hazelnut catkins appear in February and sometimes extend into March. Given the combination of a warm day for the bees to fly and ripe pollen on the catkins and the bees can make use of this source. Because of the time of year it is hit and miss but this was a good year for the bees to be all over the hazelnut. It is an abundant source but not of the best quality. Pussy willows can be variable depending on the bush. Some put out their pollen early and some can be up to a month later! We are fortunate to have early and late willows here. Early rhododendrons are favored by the bees but one night of frost can kill the blooms.

Left-Hazelnut catkins  Right-Pussywillow  Below-Rosamundi rhodo



April 11,08. The bees are bringing in lots of pollen. There is a sugar syrup pail in each hive. This stimulus should lead to lots of egg laying in anticipation of the main blueberry pollination which is 3-4 weeks away.

   click on image to enlarge

 As the picture indicates, there is abundant pollen at this time. It’s hard to see the catkins at the top of the birches but the weather channel reports that the pollen count for birch is high so birch is suspect. The bees are all over the Skimmia at the nursery next door and some Dandelion pollen is coming in.

Blueberry growers are always warned that dandelions are competitors for blueberries because bees prefer dandelion. I have found that dandelions peak before and after the main blueberry bloom and then there is another beneficial peak in the fall.

April 16, 2008. Several plum trees are in full bloom and the broad leaf maples have just blossomed so there is lots to keep the bees going until the blueberries are ready. A few early June blueberries have blossoms.

 Foraging sources for honeybee will be continued in a new post.

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