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Jun 9, 2009
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Kirkbymoorside, North Yorkshire.
Hive Type
Number of Hives
I wondered if it would be possible to get some pictures and info as to what flowers forum members have in their area and what they provide for the bees ie flowering dates etc. Perhaps a section on it's own could be created, Admin? This would be aimed at helping newbees choose plants for their apiary etc.

Does this sound like a good idea?
Does this sound like a good idea?

I do not keep it as a good idea. Bee plants must be hectares.

I have done bee plant planting about 45 years. I am continuing it. I have collected the good raspberry plants from nature and I am going to plant them on the banks or small rivers. - But I have not time to plant.

I have different kind of willows waiting too. But farmers hate willows. They cut them when they see them.

90% of plantings have been destroyed because they do not survive in natural competition. The best plantings are the worst weeds.

On rocky places I have planted sedums and wild shives.

Now have fertilized plants in nature and it gives good results:
- fireweed
- raspberry
- Rhamnus frangula (blooms whole summer)
- willows
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Do you get much Himalayan Balsam (Impatiens glandulifera) in your area.
it likes wet ground and you have plenty of waterways in Finland
Do you get much Himalayan Balsam (Impatiens glandulifera) in your area.
it likes wet ground and you have plenty of waterways in Finland

Not much but it is. It has been used as garden flower and it has spread in whole country. Every where bees visit in them. I can see it when they thorax is gray with balsam pollen.

Normally bees do not get nectar from balsam because bumbble bees clean flowers.

This summer we have awfully much bumbble bees. They just steel nectar from bees. 2 years ago they were all away.
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They get nectar from himalayan balsam over here. It produces a very clear, light honey.
They also collect a lot of pollen from it.
The wasps also visit the balsam.
I have noticed (so have neighbours) that the flora in this area has increased year on year since I started keeping honey bees. When bees are located in a area such as mine (rough neglected farmland/ enclosed land banking) it is soon evident that they create their own forage by being efficient pollenators and by their sheer numbers.

John Wilkinson
Just got in from watching the little ladies. There are working like there's no tomorrow. (Well I suppose there was no yesterday for them, given the rain we had) :)

I noticed that they are bringing back loads of pollen of varying colours. Being useless at pollen ID can anyone give some idea of what it could be. There is a really pale/white pollen which I think is Himalayan balsam and black pollen which I think is poppy pollen. I know there are poppies around here but I've not seen the Himalayan balsam. The other colours are a medium bright yellow, a pale yellow, an orange colour and quite a and quite a deep reddish almost chestnut colour. There a quite a numbers of gardens in easy of them. Any suggestions as to what the pollen could be?

Recommended Field Pollen Guide

Pocket Pollen Colour Guide (c) Stephen Hardy
email: [email protected] (only contact details on the guide)

Less than A5 folds in half (double sided), lists all forage plants with a colour match sample for the pollen, listed in rough seasonal order from spring through to autumn.

It's great - assuming the colours are right of course! A snip at about 75p from memory (picked it up at a bee open day at RHS Harlow Carr run by Harrogate & District BKA)
Just wondering if this might be of help.


It's a start, but it will be different for everyone, it all depends on your monitor and settings, the guide that East Yorks New Bee mentioned is just the same, it is all down to the printing and the paper, it is as the name suggests a "guide", how often have you bought a tin of paint and when it is on the wall is nothing like the colour on the tin :rolleyes:
Hi Dr Nick

Do I read you correctly when you say its different for everyone. Does that mean the colour of pollen from a specific plant will vary from region to region?

It's my understanding that the pollen on a plant will be slightly lighter than the pollen on the rear legs of the bee, as it has a secretion added to it. Is this correct?

I have been considering buying ; Pollen Identification for Beekeepers by Rex Sawyer.

Does anyone have this publication? and if so what are your findings about the book?
That's Ragwort. Highly poisonous to horses and cattle, not only when it's growing, but they won't eat it then, but it becomes more palateable when dried in hay and kills many horses. It's actually a noifiable weed and is supposed to be controlled and pulled out, but of course it isn't, it grows freely on road verges and railway embankments. The honey from it is bitter and best left for the bees. I did ask a while ago why bees don't collect from Daffodil - also poisonous, but do from Ragwort, I didn't get a reply..........

Fireweed is Rosebay Willow Herb a pretty pink flower also grow well on abandoned ground and railway embankments.

The plant in the picture is Oxford Ragwort Senecio squalidus which is different from the Common Ragwort or the Wood Ragwort.

I am led to believe that when the bees are using Ragwort the comb turns a deep shade of yellow.

I think Frisbee has very much covered the information.
Oxford Ragwort Senecio squalidus .

It's not in my book.............I assume then it's still as poisonous?

I have a deep dislike of Ragwort as I have a horse and my field is by a railway line, the passing trains distribute the seeds very nicely..........I am always pulling it up.