late season blooms for bees, please!
July 10, 2007 8:54 PM   Subscribe

i'm in usda zone 9a (napa, ca) and am keeping a colony of honeybees in my back yard. can anyone list some plants that will provide nectar and pollen to these awesome insects as late into the fall and winter as possible? thanks!
posted by oigocosas to Home & Garden (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: The Napa County Master Gardeners have an article about bees, and what looks like a good list of resources.

Urban Bee Gardeners appears to operate out of Berkeley, but they have what looks like an excellent article about bee seasons and flower seasons.

Most native California plants won't bloom until late fall/winter, so look to natives to prolong your bees' honeymaking ability.
posted by rtha at 10:01 PM on July 10, 2007

Unless you have a very large piece of land, you probably won't be able to plant enough to sustain a colony. Are your bees struggling?
posted by electroboy at 10:11 PM on July 10, 2007

Hey, I know nothing about beekeeping, but I do know that well through a South Australian autumn and early winter there are bees terribly excited by my loquat tree.

Come spring, I then get to eat as many delicious loquats as I want.
posted by pipstar at 10:35 PM on July 10, 2007

I wonder if you could farm them out to some hobby gardeners who need their precious greenhouse gardens pollinated in the winter? You may try contacting some local gardener group to see if there is a need. Then you could feed your bees and maybe make a bit of money as well, or at least meet some nice green-thumbers.
posted by mds35 at 6:22 AM on July 11, 2007

Response by poster: the urban bee gardners site is exactly what i needed, rtha!

interestingly, electroboy, my bees are booming. according to our local experts like serge labesque, backyard beeranchers like myself seem to be doing well now even in an alleged "nectar dearth" because residential areas have more ornamentals planted. the ladies forage for about a 2 mile radius and can visit alot of gardens in that space.

upvalley, colonies are competing for fewer pollen and nectar producing plants since grapes are planted in miles-wide monocultures and they dont flower.

yes the loquats should be popular but we had already picked, syrupped and tinctured our loquats before i installed the colony--next year....

and while i dont want to move my bees around from place to place, i have split my colony twice this year and helped set up some friends with the splits.

thanks yall! any other suggestions are most welcome.
posted by oigocosas at 4:07 PM on July 11, 2007

posted by rtha at 6:03 PM on July 11, 2007

Best answer: My bees are going strong as well, and mine are on my rowhouse roof in downtown Baltimore. The only good reference I found was this. It's not for California, but I'm sure there's a lot of common species.

I think the major sources in residential areas are trees, moreso than flowering plants. That would suggest that the major nectar flows are over.

Anyway, take whatever I say with a grain of salt. I've read a lot, but this is my first year keeping bees.
posted by electroboy at 7:29 AM on July 12, 2007

Response by poster: great wiki page, eb. i couldnt find one for ca but the urban bee gardners page is good. i also just subscribed to the seeds of change forums get some suggestions.

glad your colony is thriving. downtown baltimore--that's awesome.

and, of course, for every two beekeepers there're 3 ways of doing something....
posted by oigocosas at 7:45 AM on July 12, 2007

Some other local resources:
San Mateo Beekeepers Guild
Diablo Bees
Santa Clara Bee Guild
posted by gingerbeer at 3:27 PM on July 13, 2007

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