During these late summer months in East Tennessee, we typically think there is not much available for the bees as far as sources of nectar and pollen.
That doesn’t have to be the case.
If you have any kind of a garden (or just an open area), buckwheat can provide great benefits for your bees and your soil. Buckwheat can be sown at any time during warm weather. Ideally, it takes three to four weeks to come up (sometimes longer, depending on the weather), and produces a small white flower that the bees love.
When the blooms die back after a couple of weeks, the buckwheat will re-seed itself and if there is enough warm weather and rain, it will come back. These cycles will continue until the first frost.
The bees make honey off of the nectar from the buckwheat flower. This is honey that you can harvest or that you can leave on the hive to reduce the necessity of winter feeding.
The best results for an initial stand of buckwheat are to clear the soil, sow the seed and then do a light till. If possible, do all this before a good rain.
Buckwheat has a morning nectar flow, and that’s when you will see bees working it. They don’t work it in the afternoon.
Besides being good for bees, buck-wheat is good for the soil. It prevents weeds, supports beneficial insects and returns a lot of nitrogen to the ground. So, if you have a patch of garden or land and want to do something for your bees, plant some buckwheat.
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