It isn’t always necessary to plant food sources for your bees, but it definitely doesn’t hurt. Plus it’s a cheap and rewarding way to help boost your honey harvests. When selecting plants it’s best to look for plants that have an extended or delayed bloom. From early-Spring to early-Summer things seem to always be in bloom, but mid-Summer into Fall is usually what bee keepers call a dearth. Dearth is a very gloomy and depressing word for a time when no pollen or nectar is available for your bees. It’s no coincidence that the word dearth is just one letter away from the word death. If you’ve harvested too much honey or it’s been a bad year for flows, a dearth can spell the death of a hive. I lost my first hive to starvation after a very rainy spring and then a hot dry summer. The girls just didn’t have enough stores even though I didn’t harvest that year. The hive emptied out during the fall dearth in October. If I had been more experienced I would have known they were low and feed them sugar water to salvage the hive until the next year, but if I had planted food sources that provided late summer flows they might have survived on their own. One of the most talked about late flow sources is the Korean Evodia (Tetradium Daniellii) also known as the Bee Bee Tree. This tree blooms in mid-Summer and provides a strong nectar flow when most other plants and trees have long stopped producing. For a few bucks you can pick up seeds or seedlings from eBay or from suppliers on many bee keeping forums. It will take several years to start producing enough blooms to be a major contributor to your honey production, but patience will pay off.
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