Friday, July 30, 2010

What's blooming locally, and local queens.

I have started to look at the Bloom Board over at the New England Wild Flower Society to get an idea of what's happening out in the world away from the hive. It's turned into a great resource for finding out where our bees are going. It's been dawning on me that my hive management is such a small, small part of what happens to our bees. The rest is what's going on away from the hive, in the natural world.

Here's a list for what's blooming at Garden in the Woods, which is meant to showcase southern New England wildflowers. Since they're only about 60 miles from our apiary, it's also a pretty good bet that this is what's blooming here. So, when I am trying to understand what's available to our bees I start here--it helps me with identifying plants. I've highlighted plants that are at least are decent honey plants.

Of these, the most exciting is goldenrod. Early goldenrod isn't a super plant, but it's the first of the goldenrod that will make the bulk of our honey this year. Tall goldenrod comes later, and when it arrives the real show starts!

Actea pachypoda (white baneberry)

Actea racemosa (black bugbane)

Allium cernuum (nodding onion)

Allium plummerae (Tanner’s canyon onion)

Asclepias incarnata (swamp milkweed)

Asclepias tuberosa (butterfly weed)

Baptisia tinctoria (yellow wild indigo)

Blephilia hirsuta (hairy wood mint)

Callirhoe digitata (winecup)

Callirhoe involucrata (purple poppy mallow)

Cephalanthus occidentalis (common buttonbush)

Clethra alnifolia (coastal sweet pepperbush)

Coreopsis verticillata (threadleaf tickseed)

Diphylleia cymosa (American umbrella leaf berries)

Echinacea purpurea (purple coneflower)

Eschscholzia california cv. Aurantiaca orange (California poppy)

Eupatoriadelphus fistulosus (hollow-stemmed Joe-pye weed)

Eupatoriadelphus purpureum (Joe-pye weed)

Euphorbia corollata (flowering spurge)

Euribia divaricata (white wood aster)

Filipendula rubra (queen of the prairie)Heliopsis helianthoides

Gaillardia aristata (common blanket flower)

Helenium autumnale (common sneezeweed)

Helianthus microcephalis (small-headed sunflower)

Helianthus tuberosa (Jerusalem artichoke sunflower)

Heliopsis helianthoides (oxeye daisy)

Heuchera micantha (small-flowered alumroot)

Hydrangea quercifolia (oak-leaved hydrangea)

Hydrastis canadensis (goldenseal – fruit)

Hypericum prolificum (shrubby St. John’s-wort)

Impatiens pallida (pale touch-me-not)

Liatris pycnostachya (prairie blazing star)

Lobelia cardinalis (red lobelia)Monarda didyma

Lobelia siphilitica (great blue lobelia)

Lysimachia quadrifolia (whorled yellow loosestrife)

Lysimachia terrestris (swamp yellow loosestrife)

Mimulus moschatus (musky monkey-flower)

Mimulus ringens (Allegheny monkey-flower)

Monarda didyma (scarlet bee balm)

Monarda fistulosa (wild bee balm)

Nymphaea odorata (white water lily)

Petalostemum purpureum (purple prairie clover)

Phlox divaricata cv. alba (white wood phlox)

Phlox paniculata cv. Blue Boy (summer phlox)

Physostegia (obedient plant)

Pontederia cordata (pickerel weed)

Pycnanthemum icanum (hoary mountain mint)

Ratibida pinnata (gray-headed Mexican hat)

Rhododendrom prunifolium (plum-leaf azalea)

Rudbeckia hirta (black-eyed coneflower)

Ruellia humilis (wild petunia)Sarracenia purpurea

Sarracenia flava (yellow pitcher plant foliage)

Sarracenia oreophila (mountain pitcher plant foliage)

Sarracenia purpurea (purple pitcher plant)

Saururus cernuus (lizard’s tail)

Silphium perfoliatum (rosinweed or cup plant)

Solidago juncea (early goldenrod)

Spigelia marilandica (Indian pink)

Symphyotrichum linariifolius (stiff aster)

As an aside here, my dad was president of the American Wild Flower thing-or-some-such when I was in my teens. I love my dad a lot, so learning about this now is something that I feel especially good about.

In other news, we're making up some new "nucs" (short for Nucleus Colonies) with special queens. Roger from the Franklin County Bee Keepers has offered us a queenly daughter (princess?) queen that is supposed to be especially resistant to mites. We've also started a couple of queens from Lagrant's. He's a second generation local bee keeper who breeds queens right here in western MA. Most of our queens come from Dan Conlon of Warm Colors Apiary. We like Dan's queens because they come from just up the road from us, about 8 miles from here.

Local means a lot in bee keeping. As an example, bees that hoard honey and respond strongly to changes in day length do better in someplace like New England, since we have long, cold winters compared to someplace like Georgia. We're starting to breed our own queens now, but queens from people like Dan keep local beekeepers like us going.

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