Notes from Monday February 6, 2017 at Cornell Cooperative Extension

Thanks everyone for attending last nights meeting! I hope the subject was fun and informative. I know I gave you notes to take home,  they are also copied and pasted here for your reference!

Everything that I read about planting for bees stresses Native planting.

Native flowers, Native trees! Burn, Kill, everything that doesn’t belong!!!

But, Honey Bees are not native. They like big plantings, the aggressive, invasive flowers and trees! So we will try to balance if we can.

Pollen and Nectar: Bees collect pollen and turn it into ‘bee bread’ (protein) for brood rearing and Nectar for turning into honey  (carbohydrates) to get them through the winter.

Early spring pollen:

Maple- fair amount of pollen, Light yellow pollen, nectar flow is high but it is usually to cold when this is blooming

Red maple- grey brown pollen color March to April

Norway Maple- olive color pollen

Box Elder/ Manitoba Maple- Good source of pollen February to April. Pollen is light olive color

Good Nectar source but again, can be too cold for the bees to collect. Considered by most to be a junk tree

Willow-Very good pollen source. Feb-April. Bright yellow pollen. Major nectar source, again, can be too cold for the bees to collect nectar so early in the season. Personally, I see bees covering this in the spring. Also considered a junk tree.


Early Spring Flowers

Winter Aconite:Very good pollen, yellow. March to April. Very hardy bulb.  Poisonous to animals.

Snowdrops. Bright red pollen. Good, early source of pollen

Dandelion. The bane of all green lawn enthusiasts! Probably the most sprayed ‘weed’ Yellow/orange colored pollen. I collect the seeds and spread them to new areas J

Henbit. A weed we normally pull out by the handfuls. Bright red pollen, March - April

•       Mustard- feral or cultivated is a good source of nectar and pollen.


Summer Flowering Trees:

•       Black Locust-June- considered invasive

•       Tillia- called Linden or basswood- Late June/July

•       Evodia - Bee bee tree- Late July early August

•       Sourwood- July and early August

•       Tulip poplar tree- June

•       Sumac-  June/July

•       Horse chestnut- June/July

•       Catalpa- June

Summer flowers:

•       Honey suckle, minor source of nectar. Very abundant in and bordering the woods

•       Hyssop

•       Milkweed- Native, can be invasive. Great nectar source!

•       Borage- minor source of nectar unless planted heavily. One plant will bring the bees.

•       Clover, all varieties high nectar source. Blooms around July

•       Sainfoin- June/July very good source of pollen and nectar, rivals alfalfa as fodder for livestock but yields only one cut per year vs 2 with alfalfa so it is not popularly grown.

•       Thistle- Thorny and invasive, good nectar source

•       Knapweed, basket flower, star thistle, can be highly invasive.

Blue beard

•       Mint- bees love this, many varieties, blooms for months.

•       Lemon balm, very aggressive. Major nectar plant.

•       Buckwheat good morning nectar source. Popular honey. Nitrogen fixer for soil.

•       Raspberry, Blackberry

•       Phacelia tanacetifolia: Native to the Southwestern United States and northern Mexico. Used in many places as a cover crop, a bee plant an attractant for other beneficial insects. Can be reseeded several times in a season. Nectar-rich flowers open in sequence, giving a long flowering period. It attracts honeybees.

Fall flowers

•       Golden rod- August – October- perennial

•       Japanse knotweed: September- noxious weed

•       Joe pye weed: August- perennial

•       Aster: September-November- perennial

•       Borage-Biennial, but reseeds so it acts like a perennial

•       Broccoli raab: If fall seeded. Excellent source of protein

•       Buckwheat: if fall seeded annual, reseeds

•       Sedum- August /September- perennial


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