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Saturday, July 23, 2016

Ligularia

Once the clover is done (usually mid-July here), that's the end of my spring flow. Until the goldenrod and Japanese knotweed begin the fall flow, the bees are on the constant lookout for flowering plants.

My area many flowering plants (and even a few shrubs) in the summer -- echinacea, rudbeckia, hostas, daylilies, yarrow, rose of Sharon to name a few. They really love some of them (like the cone flowers), will visit some of them (hostas), and completely ignore others (yarrow). There are also all the summer blooming fruits/veggies that they adore -- beans, squash, pumpkins, melons, cucumbers to name a few. 

In any case, I'm always looking for new plants that will fill this gap in the nectar flow during the summer. One plant that my bees seem to love this year is ligularia.

Ligularia.
Usually the leaves are much nicer, but something has eaten up all my plants this year.

In my opinion, the leaves are the prettiest part of the plant, but ligularia starts to bloom around the middle of July, sending up "rockets" of yellow flowers -- actually, they're composite flowers. You wouldn't think it to look at them, but they're related to sunflowers. Although ligularia is far less showy than its cousin, the bees seem to find their blooms utterly irresistible.

Honeybee on ligularia

I really didn't know anything about this plant when I bought it, and by chance, I picked the perfect spot for it. It likes light shade and rich soil that never dries out. It doesn't need wet soil, though, just moist.

Yummsy!
I've heard snails and slugs can be a pest, but this year, everything has been eating all of my flowers. Hopefully, this winter will be a little colder than last to kill off pests.



4 comments:

  1. Julie,

    I have question, I got a nuc in the end of June from a trusted source/sometimes mentor. He's old school beekeeper, who wants me to use langs and such, I'm TBH. He told me becuase of the timing I would need to keep a close eye on them and feed. I've been pretty good about it sugar water with some wine acid mix to keep the PH low for them. I do wonder, I feed every other day sometimes leaving it empty for a day so they don't forget to forage and find real food. Is this ok? I think we have Darth setting in a bit. Is it mean not to have the feeder full all the time. You can tell I'm a real hobbist with only one. Any thoughts would be great. Thanks in advance.

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    Replies
    1. Hi, Mavis! Great question. I started a response, but it was becoming a book. So I'm going to write a full post on that, which should be online in the next few days. However, the short answer to your question is that I think what you're doing is probably fine. By the end of the spring flow, I like the bees to have at least 15 - 20 combs built. They don't have to be completely full. Just built and ready for the fall flow. Also, as long as they have nectar/honey by the end of the fall flow, I don't feed at all over summer. However, if the bees are starving -- they have no stores at all by end of spring & not much is coming in -- then I will feed a bit. I won't feed them enough to make stores, but I'll feed enough to keep them laying brood. Does that help?

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    2. Yes it helps, Thank You for you time on this. They had old comb that I gave them from the hives that didn't make it and they are building some of their own. I'm gonna give a look see Saturday if it's not blasted hot. Having a bit of a heat wave by me. Cheers Thank You again. Makes me feel good that I have some instint of what is the right thing to do.

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    3. Correction to my previous reply: as long as they have nectar/honey by the end of the SPRING flow, I don't feed at all over summer.

      I hear you. The heat this year is brutal. Good luck with the bees!

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Thank you for your comment! I can't wait to hear what you think!