- honey bees on golden rod
honey bees on golden rod
Honey Bees On Golden Rod
In the fall I watch my bees work golden rod and I’ve noticed that very few bees are on it much before 9 or 10 a.m. After 10 a.m. more and more bees begin to work it, gathering nectar and pollen. It makes sense as it takes the heat of the day to draw out the nectar. Last year, my bees were never on golden rod at all. It was very disappointing. Maybe the plant did not receive moisture at the right time and it had little to no nectar yields. But this year, bees are all over it.
All day long the bees are working the golden rod hard. Also, I’ve notice how much more water the bees are consuming during the end of summer. Not so much because it is hotter, but because they require additional water to add to the honey for using it as food within the colony. If you have never seen golden rod it is everywhere here in Illinois. Here’s one of my bees working it.
I have mowed a path so I can walk through my acre of golden rod because it will grow over six feet in height. While I was taking pictures of bees on it I saw a very interesting insect. It looked like a long colorful spotted beetle.
Look what I found! It is the Ailanthus webworm moth. These moths are rare unless there are Ailanthus trees (Tree of Heaven) around. I don’t have any of these trees, but here is Atteva aurea, a member of the Family Yponomeutidae, the ermine moths. It’s really cool looking because when this moth lands it covers its body with its wings. The wings are spotted and resembles ermine fur that royalty uses to line their robes. That’s how this little bug got its name.
This is why beekeeping is fun. You learn so much more about plants, trees and other insects. I remember being in southern Illinois years ago and I walked past a tree that was just buzzing with honey bees and it was the tree of heaven. It is a short tree and very invasive. It’s called a tree of heaven because it grows quickly up to heaven.
Golden rod and other asters can be an excellent source of fall nectar for honey bees. The nectar will make the hive smell funny. The honey tastes different too. Most people leave it on the hive for the bees to use during the winter. Some people harvest it and mix it with clover honey and the taste is muddled. I personally pull off all my honey supers before golden rod blooms. After that, if the bees want it, they can have it.
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