Oil Seed Rape

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Poly Hive

Queen Bee
Dec 4, 2008
Reaction score
Scottish Borders
Hive Type
Number of Hives
12 and 18 Nucs
I thought as the season is getting nearer that a thread on the ins and outs of this crop might be worth while and also the handling of the product.

About now I go and look for a suitable site preferably surrounded by rape, and then approach the farmer on the matter. I say I would like to put my bees there, having scouted "there" and am reasonably confident it is not going to cause him problems. IE Not blocking access, not near where the staff might work and so on. Give it a bit of thought first.

I move my bees to the rape when it is 10% in flower.

I cross my fingers and hope for some decent weather.

There won't be quite so much rape around my area this year. Many farmers missed the boat last autumn and didn't get it sown due to watterlogged fields or just too busy getting the cereals in at the last minute. Another farmer told me last week he was redrilling half the rape with spring beans instead - I think the implication was the snow had done some damage.

The rape I have seen isn't very advanced at the moment so it'll be late. In some years locally we have it in full bloom by the end of the first week in April but this year will be later. And is it my imagination, or does the bloom always finish at the same time regardless of when it started?

I'm hoping the reduced rape will get some bees onto the hawthorn instead for a change. It's prolific but my bees normally just ignore it and work the rape.

Last year around me it was full of OSR, which was a mixed blessing.

This year, all that has been planted so-far is barley and wheat.

They are hoping to fill the rest up with peas and beans, which are also good

It might be nice to have a break from OSR?
When i was a lad 6 million years ago when men where men and bees wore clogs, osr was either hevean or hell, depending on your point of view, where as i have only townie bees osr is no more my girls go for the hawthorn from the canals and the tree polination works fantastic ,once the danilions are out of the way i could just choose where to have hawthorn or lime tree or evan fruit trees, you would be very suprised what the girls can collect. as for me do i want the agro or crystalizing honey , when i get up to ten hive s maybe but untill then its much more fun in the city with bees
I understand city honey often tastes better as well Pete.
I must admit i thing so but i was never one for single supply honey. ie heather or osr. as for the time i took the supers off to late and tried to warm it up at home well she never did like that carpet anyway . just as well i had to change it. I have only to worry about if there are to many cabbages at the allotments being grown on purpose for seeds so max proberly fourty plants per acre. my season starts with the dandilions in early aprill and with them the fruit trees and then the canal hedges and all of the waste grounds. not that i have ever spread seads of bee freindly plants , but this one empty building site does look good in blue from borage and compfree