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Honeybees on goldenrod

Honeybees on goldenrod

To most Americans, goldenrod is a weed.

To Europeans, however, goldenrod is a much-prized plant that gardeners go out of their way to cultivate.

To many people in ancient times and a growing number in the 21st century, goldenrod is a medicinal herb that has many uses.

To honeybees, goldenrod is a major source of nectar and pollen in the fall and a source of much-needed winter stores.

And to East Tennesseans this year (the folks in my area), goldenrod is an abundant, showy yellow flower that is filling up our fields, roadside areas and pastures. And our bees are taking to it in droves.

The bees will take both pollen and nectar from goldenrod, and they make a distinctive honey from it. Some beekeepers have harvested this honey, and with its abundance this year, beekeepers in this area might be tempted to do just that. The wiser course for beekeepers might be to let the bees have what they make and to save themselves from some of the efforts of winter feeding.

Goldenrod, in addition to its medicinal uses, is also thought to have some magical powers. Some believe it has the power to bring good luck. The bees who find a good patch of goldenrod probably consider themselves pretty luck.

One of the myths about goldenrod is that it causes allergic reactions, but that’s probably not the case. Those reactions are more likely due to goldenrod’s companion ragweed, which blooms at the same time.

(More pictures below.)

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Providing our bees with abundant, natural nutrition is by far the most important task of the beekeeper — far more important than hive inspections, equipment, medications, or any of the other things we spend a lot of time with.

This table, developed by Keith Delaplane and his assistants, shows a near year-round chart of plants that provide bees with pollen and nectar. You should look at the chart (click on it to take you to the full chart), see what grows in your area and encourage that growth.

This table, developed by Keith Delaplane and his assistants, shows a near year-round chart of plants that provide bees with pollen and nectar. You should look at the chart (click on it to take you to the full chart), see what grows in your area and encourage that growth.

What if we could provide that natural nutrition all year long — or 10 months out of 12?

Keith Delaplane, bee scientist at the University of Georgia, has put together a chart of plants that bloom from January to October in our part of the country that give bees the nectar and pollen they forage for. It’s worth a look. (Click on the image to the right to go there.)

It is important for bees, especially bumble bees, to have an unbroken succession of bloom all summer to build up their local populations. If you want to encourage bee populations, grow or encourage plants from this list so that bloom is more-or-less continuous on your property. (quoted)

The chart is revealing because it lists some things we might not think about. Henbit, for instance, comes up in abundance around where we live as early as late February. By March, the ground is covered with its purple flowers. Many people see henbit as a nuisance, but the bees — with nothing else to feed on — are all over it whenever it’s warm enough to fly outside the hive. If you look closely, you’ll see them packing up their pollen sacks with pollen from the henbit and carrying it back to the hive.

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Blount County Beekeepers Association

Join us

If you’re interested in joining the Blount County Beekeepers Association, call

Dale Hinkle
423-261- 5234

or

Kathy Flaherty
203-314- 0270

Welcome

Welcome to the web site of the Blount County Beekeepers Association in Maryville, Tennessee.

This site will tell you a little about the association and how to become a member. It will also tell you a little about beekeeping.

Bees are an important part of our environment and particularly our agricultural system. They are also fascinating creatures.

We hope you will be interested enough to join us at some point, even if you're not interested in keeping bees. There are lots of ways you can join in with what we do.

Follow us on Twitter at @blountbees.

Schedule of BCBA meetings for 2019

The Blount County Beekeepers Association meets on the second Monday of every month, except for September and December, at 6:30 p.m. at the Maryville Church of Christ, 611 Sherwood Drive in Maryville.

All of the meetings are open to the public, and anyone interested in learning more about beekeeping is welcome and encouraged to attend.

The following is the schedule of meetings and activities for 2018:

January 14 – regular meeting

February 11 – regular meeting

February 16 – BCBA short course for new beekeepers

TBA– New Beekeepers class

March 11 – regular meeting

March 17 -Wooden Ware class

April 8 – regular meeting

April  TBA-Field Day for new beekeepers

May 13 – regular meeting

June 10 – regular meeting

July 8 – regular meeting

August 12 – regular meeting

October 14 – regular meeting

November 11 – regular meeting

December 9 – Christmas dinner

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