Pre-Planting For Honeybees

plantinellen(5)June 23, 2010

We live on a six-acre, mostly wooded lot at the edge of a small town; we're bounded on two sides by a subdivision (which in turn borders a lake), on one side by private homes and on one side by a busy highway with private homes and swampy wooded land. Our own woods is heavily maple, oak and white pine; lots of moist patches; not a lot of plant diversity underneath the trees. We have a large open lawn, lots of clover and dandelions, with a pond, several perennial beds and a decent-sized (23' by 24') vegetable garden.

We'd really like to try raising honeybees. We know that bees have a fairly large forage area, but we'd like to add more nectar- and pollen-rich plants to our immediate area. (We recently planted some buttonbush, red osier dogwood and ninebark to our pondside, partly for aesthetics but partly because we were told these were useful bee plants.) Any more suggestions? Or should we relax and let the bees find their own noshes around the neighborhood?

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txbeeguy(z8 TX)

General, "old sage" wisdom would say there is really very little you're going to be able to do, on six acres of land that would significantly impact the gathering of nectar by the honeybees. However, that's not to say you can't try! It's just that unless every square inch of the whole six acres were covered by some high yielding nectar plant (like arrowhead clover, or some such), you're really planting for yourself more so than for the good of the honeybees. In other words, their forging area is so large that a few plants of this kind or a few plants of that kind isn't really going to influence the bees very much.

Now with that said, it's still a nice consideration and certainly you'll be able to see field bees working up close. Not to mention attracting butterflies too (since a lot of blooming flowers are commonly attractive to both insects).

    Bookmark   June 25, 2010 at 11:59AM
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softmentor(z9/sunset13 CA desert)

If it was me, I'd want at least 4 peach trees that run from early to late season, as well as several other fruit trees with the same long season run. txbeeguy I think is right, 6a is not that much, but, I like the fruit too and the bees will be good pollinators.
clover is good, and can cover a lot of ground. It blooms for a pretty long time, and if you cut it you can get more than one bloom.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2010 at 9:54PM
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This is what I will be planting for my bees.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pollinator Mix

    Bookmark   June 28, 2010 at 12:19AM
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