What are your bees foraging on?

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    • #2874
      Chris
      Participant

      I noticed a sycamore in one of my hedges alive with bees and other insects. Having a closer look I could see a lot of honeybees all over the sycamore flowers as well as bumble bees and other insects. Apparently sycamore provide a good crop in many parts of the country. We don’t have that many here, perhaps unfortunately! Maybe I should plant some, they certainly looked to be enjoying it.

      There are plenty of dandelions out although the bees don’t appear to be favouring them at the moment. Apples are just coming in to full bloom here. Loving this weather!

    • #2889
      Gary Thomas
      Keymaster

      We have some rape nearby but a greatly reduced crop. Apart from that there is cherry blossom, apple and other tree blossom. My nees are bringing in rape, dandelion and blackthorn which is a striking brick red colour.

    • #2973
      Chris
      Participant

      This morning I have seen something I have never noticed before. I was walking the dogs at 7.45am, the sun well up and warm. Walking near a load of trees I planted about 15 years ago I could hear bees. Lots of them! I initially thought a swarm but no, it was bees collecting something. As I planted these trees I know exactly what they are. The bees were all over a Poplar Tremula (Aspen). Watching, I could see the bees landing in exactly the same spot on every leaf, the point where the stem connects and barely visible is a small droplet of something. Honeydew? No aphids apparent. Some form of excretion? Whatever, they were sucking it up. I hope t tastes nice!!!

    • #2975
      Gary Thomas
      Keymaster

      Chris,

      Trees have extra-floral nectaries as well as some plants like field beans. They are supposedly for beneficial (to the plant) insects such as ants.

      So perhaps this is what the bees were foraging? I know that honey bees find field beans difficult to access unless other bees have nibbled holes in the base of the flowers; but they do utilise the extra-floral nectaries.

      By the way I was wrong about the brick red pollen which is (according to Margery’s pollen chart) dandelion.

    • #2977
      Chris
      Participant

      You learn something every day! That’s the beauty of beekeeping. I had never heard of Extrafloral Nectaries! But that’s obviously what they were doing. According to this article not all aspens have the ability, it is only with certain genetics https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2759261/

      All very interesting

    • #2979
      Gary Thomas
      Keymaster

      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2759261/

      Above is a link to an article about Aspens and extra floral nectaries.

    • #2981
      Gary Thomas
      Keymaster

      Aha!

      Both reading the same article!

    • #2983
      Chris
      Participant

      Probably not too many articles on it!!

    • #2985
      Chris
      Participant

      So should I be taking cuttings from that particular tree and selling them to beekeepers?????? I guess it depends on how good the honey tastes! They weren’t on any of the other aspens but that could have been due to the sun not having warmed them enough or due to the timing of the tree growth or indeed, due to the genetics of that particular aspen tree.

    • #2987
      Gary Thomas
      Keymaster

      I  wrote a further post yesterday but it somehow didnt make it to the forum.

      It was about Poplars. We have black poplars at the bottom of our garden. They have male and female trees. Once a year we hae a snowstorm.

      So perhaps only one sex has EFN’s?

      Also it would be useful to find tbe best available pollen chart.

      I used to have a very good one but since lost with last laptop.

      Tbe Sheffield Beekeepers Association have quite a good one

    • #2989
      Gary Thomas
      Keymaster

      KEEPING USEFUL STRUCTURES ON PLANTS
      Many plants, such as cotton, have sugar-secreting glands called nectaries both inside and outside of flowers. Many species of natural enemies feed on these sugars. Plant breeding has eliminated nectaries in some crops, and this is sometimes done to deny pests access to the carbohydrate resources. The decision to eliminate or retain nectaries needs to be based on studies of the net benefit to pest control of these structures. Plants (e.g., grapes) also often have on their leaves pits or pockets, called domatia, that provide physical refuges for phytoseiid mites. Varieties with domatia often have higher phytoseiid densities and fewer pest mites. Retention of such structures in new crop varieties may be important and should be an explicit part of plant breeding.

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