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bee's feeding on sunflowers.....

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biglongdarren 

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while down at my friends farm yesterday i noticed a field(9 acres) of sunflowers adjacent to his land, they were already well past there best and most were dead..he said that they be there mostly every year. What i am looking to know is that if i had of seen them earlier on in the year and moved my bee's to them how would they have done on them...do they produce much pollen and nectar,and if so what is the honey like??????
 

Heather 

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Mine beginning to hit the Mahonia that is just bursting forth. Such a good early winter shrub to have.
 

victor meldrew 

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Mahonia not in flower in these parts yet but evening primrose still hanging in there plus Michaelmas daisies of course. Balsam has all but run it's course !as has Japanese knotweed :)

John Wilkinson
 

psafloyd 

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Probably about 5/6 at the moment
Mahonia not in flower in these parts yet but evening primrose still hanging in there plus Michaelmas daisies of course. Balsam has all but run it's course !as has Japanese knotweed :)

John Wilkinson
Japanese knotweed? Rip it up. It's an absolute pest.
 

VEG 

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Heres one of a bee on a sunflower taken in France there were thousands of bees back and fore acres of sunflowers.

 

buzz lightyear 

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Sunflowers are a waste of time in this country. Took 6 strong colonies to 10 plus acres worth last year and they came back lighter than they went. It could have been the type of flower, they were the short ones, or the temp at which they flower. I thought it seemed like a good idea at the time, but there you go.
Dave
 
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oliver90owner 

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Sunflowers are a waste of time in this country.

Buzz,

That statement is a bit strong? Based on one experience only, a lot of heather honey hunters might never try again!

I am sure location, weather, time of year, strain (of crop) and possibly other factors may have made your first foray to the sunflower fields an apparent waste of time and effort, as far as honey crop was concerned. Having said that they may have been in the same position if not taken there - you give no comparison with which to make a sensible or fair judgement.

Some have even complained of the OSR being no good, in previous years. I could say the same but realised that my colonies were making brood and just did not have enough foragers to take full advantage of the crop (for me). The colonies were very strong at the end of the flow, but not so very much excess honey produced.

An isolated failure needs careful analysis before coming to such a conclusion, I feel.

Regards, RAB
 

buzz lightyear 

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RAB

your right, I have only been on sunflowers the once. That said most beeks I know have had the same experiance. Were in Yorkshire / Notts, maybe its better down south.
Dave
 

oliver90owner 

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maybe its better down south.

And better still much further south. The French like that crop - apart from the neo-pesticides used on the crop (as seed dressings mainly).

Regards, RAB
 

simon kerr 

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I planted 160 sunflowers in the hope the bees would be on them, but they never touched them! The Goldfinches prefered them.
Mine never touched the lavender either or verbena!
But now they have been all over a field of broccoli that has gone to flower, the sun was shining today, they were busier than during the summer months, great timing, just what they need before the winter. Thanks Mr farmer :)
 

peteinwilts 

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I also planted a few hundred sunflowers last year and they were completely ignored by the honey bees, but the bumbles loved them... the honey bees were far to busy with Clover and mint
 

oliver90owner 

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Even with a few hundred plants, the bees would likely choose a more profitable forage source.

They simply go for the most efficient nectar and pollen foraging areas and unless there are a lot of waggle dances for the sunflowers, most foragers would keep to the main flow, at least predominantly.

Regards, RAB
 

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