Beau September 12th, 2008
The autumn season is just around the corner, and the fall honeyflow for the bees is in full swing. Many seasonal flowers are blooming and very abundant due to all the rainfall. I have left the bees alone for the past few weeks, and hopefully they are producing lots of honey for their winter stores.
Sedum flowers are tiny, but the bees are covering these plants throughout the daylight hours. Bees are fascinating insects. Did you know it takes over 2 million trips to flowers to make just 1 pound of honey? Each worker bee lives about 6 weeks, and during that time each worker will make about 1/12th of a teaspoon of honey. Makes me appreciate honey all the more!
I left a large patch of these “weeds” near the pond dam, and the bees seem to love them. I don’t know what they are called, but there’s probably a quarter acre of them about 4-5 feet tall with white flower heads.
Earlier this summer I didn’t see the bees around our property much, and we didn’t have many flowers blooming that were suitable for bees. They would zoom off from the hive somewhere, and I thought they were really fast. But honeybees can only fly about 15 mph and can be challenged on windy days to make it to the hive. The NOVA article above says a worker bee will visit between 50-100 flowers on each trip outside the hive. That’s a lot of work!
It’s also time to harvest some more berries. These are “autumn berries” from the Autumn Olive or Autumnberry tree (Elaeagnus umbellata).
Autumnberry is really a very large shrub, originally from Asia. Decades ago they were planted around the eastern U.S. to help with soil stability and erosion prevention. Turns out they are quite invasive however and have taken over many areas. The plant is thick and branchy, with many thorns in the upper branches. Not easy to remove. I’ve watched a large thicket grow up in just a few years above the pond. But the berries are edible, and we’re going to experiment with them to make jam or jelly.
If all goes well, we may also have a little honey to go with our biscuits before the bees settle in for winter. We’ll check on them next week!