Posts tagged forage

Foraging

Carrying on the Improver Training sessions, the sixth session of the occasional series aimed at improving knowledge and understanding of beekeeping was held on Wednesday 23rd November 2016 at the Petersfield Community Centre, 7:30 start.

Presented by: Brad Davis

The areas covered included:

  • Benefit of local forage crops
  • The special requirements of some crops
  • Undesirable sources of honey
  • The composition of nectar
  • Source and characteristics of honeydew
  • Conversion of nectar to honey
  • The use of pollen to identify honey
  • Other forage, water, pollen and propolis

Slides

December Forage

Today, our first with sunshine for some time, the temperature reached 15 C.  The bees are busy and many plants are flowering out of season.  The male holly trees in the woods are in flower  and scenting the air  and I have heard reports of Somerset orchards in bloom!  The goarse on the A3 is a welcome splash of colour on gloomy journeys and the witch hazel, parrotia, winter honeysuckle, autumn and winter prunus are full of bloom.  Winter forage is a welcome if small addition to hive stores which are being depleted rapidly in this unseasonably warm weather.

Late May forage

May is departing as it arrived, wet and windy, but the month has been dry with plenty for the bees to forage.  If your bees are (un!)lucky enough to have rape within striking distance then you will have supers to remove.  Remember rape honey begins crystallising in the comb as the blossoms begin to fade.  For my bees May has given an abundance of tree casino online and flower forage.  From mid May holly, rowan  and may (hawthorn) have been fighting for attention.  I understand that hawthorn honey is exceptionally tasty but only flows about once a decade – perhaps this is the year, I have never seen the bushes so covered in blossom.

During the mid-May pollen-sampling my bees were foraging from nineteen different sources, half a dozen being abundant in the samples.    Soon the limes will be in flower and then as the natural tree-forage fades verges, hedgerows and the garden “exotics” fill the gap.

May Forage

The wet weather that has blown in with May may have kept the bees in their hives but it has only increased the forage available – now the orchard floor has changed from primrose yellow to bluebell blue and wild-strawberry white. The pear and plums have given way to a mass of pink and white apple blossom –  full of bees at 6.30pm!

In the woods the Acers are in full flower and the Horse-chestnut, the signal to start hive inspections when I began beekeeping a dozen years ago, is now in full flower.  The fields and hedgerows are bursting with blossom.  The bees have a bumper forage crop and if the weather is kind the hives will be well supplied.

Rape in bloom!

Driving away from the Association Apiary last sunday (19th April) I could see patches of yellow in the distance in fields bordering the A272.  Now the fields are in full bloom as they have been around Clanfield for the past week.  If your bees are within flying distance add supers!

April – blooms bursting as I watch!

In the last couple of days the verges and fields round here have turned white and golden with daisies and, my favourite spring flower, dandelions and the woodland edges have a haze of blue forget-me-nots and bluebells.  Amelanchier, local to the Lower Greensand, is fighting for notice with the pear trees in the orchard and our laurel, once a tidy hedge now twenty feet high, is about to get in on the act.  The bees are spoilt for choice!

Bee Forage mid April

The difference in forage between March and April is dramatic.  In the cold grey windy days of mid March blackthorn and pussywillow were struggling to bloom  then Easter brought sunshine and suddenly the hedgerows are a mass of white and pale cream.

Gardens are a mass of spring blooms with the flowering current, the signal that hive inspections should begin, in full flower.  Goosberry, one of the early bee-crops, is just bursting and yesterday my damson tree turned white.

The first weekend of April was the first pollen-sampling time for those taking part in the CSI Pollen project.  With the traps on for just 24 hours, the bees had collected between 1/4 and 1/3 of a half-pound jar of pollen.  nine different pollens, four of them making the bulk of the sample.  The bees are certainly busy!

Bee Forage available 1/3/15

february garden flowers

february garden flowers

more february garden  flowers

more february garden flowers

february wild flowers

february wild flowers

Only two natural plants are flowering for our bees now, gorse and hazel, but there are many blooming in gardens to provide bees with forage when the sun is shining and the temperature above 10C