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Winter Strategy - Camellias for nectar?


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I've been in touch with someone who has a lot of camellias down her rural setting.

As any good keeper wants to keep their bees close to food sources; depending on the scale of camellias, are these a notably good source for nectar (and possibly pollen) over Autumn/Winter/Spring? 

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My phone does not recognize gorse. It is a good job the bees know what I am talking about.

I thought it might be a Freudian slip after you typed Camilla

Trev lost the plot the day before yesterday. Still searching by the looks

5 minutes ago, Trevor Gillbanks said:

No. I very rarely see bees working camellias.  

Thanks Trev,

 

I'm considering using my existing apiary or this new site to manage a few hives over winter. The winter attraction is the potential for a source of nectar over winter. But if this is a perception and not a reality, I might wait until spring to use this new site as a fresh source of nectar.

 

I discovered someone dropped 20 hives not more than 600 meters down the vallet from my spot :(

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We have quite a large patch of Comfrey (better half uses it to make liquid fertiliser) close to our hives which has been flowering for ages, funnily enough I rarely see our bees on it but it is alive with bumble bees. Ours seem to be bringing in bright orange pollen though I am not expert enough to know where it comes from.

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interesting that  @Trevor Gillbanks says camellia isnt a good food source. I find our camellias have a halo of bees around them in late winter/early spring and I think its pollen they are after. However I am told by a beek acquaintance that his camellias are not visited. I wonder if variety has anything to do with it?

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1 minute ago, Mummzie said:

interesting that  @Trevor Gillbanks says camellia isnt a good food source. I find our camellias have a halo of bees around them in late winter/early spring and I think its pollen they are after. However I am told by a beek acquaintance that his camellias are not visited. I wonder if variety has anything to do with it?

Indeed. The is also one variety that produces a hallucinogen honey.

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1 hour ago, Mummzie said:

interesting that  @Trevor Gillbanks says camellia isnt a good food source. I find our camellias have a halo of bees around them in late winter/early spring and I think its pollen they are after. However I am told by a beek acquaintance that his camellias are not visited. I wonder if variety has anything to do with it?

Yes they favour sasanqua varieties.

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Camellias are certainly valuable for bees, and I know Linda Newstrom-Lloyd has found them so for pollen.  How useful they might be for nectar I'm not so sure. 

 

It's a pretty big family, and whether some varieties are better than others I don't know, but if you do a google image search for camellia you can see the huge variety of flower morphology, from those with complex tight petal arrangements where you can't see a stamen, to those where the flower centre is wide open and stamens prominent. 

 

https://www.google.co.nz/search?q=camellia&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiDzuqW1-PYAhUIlJQKHeAqDDEQ_AUICigB&biw=1242&bih=602

 

I do know our huge camellia tree (it passed 'bush' status a long time ago) on our front lawn gets a lot of attention through a large part of the year.  

 

 

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Kaihoka is correct, it is the sasanqua varieties that they prefer - often used as hedges. Prior to the establishment of a corporate dump site nearby, my best winter site had a three metre hedge on two sides, and when the camellias were in flower, the girls lined up like an All Black scrum on the flowers.

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On ‎19‎/‎01‎/‎2018 at 2:13 PM, DuncanCook said:

We have quite a large patch of Comfrey (better half uses it to make liquid fertiliser) close to our hives which has been flowering for ages, funnily enough I rarely see our bees on it but it is alive with bumble bees.

Interesting. I thought about growing comfrey for the honey bees, but after reading your post, maybe I would be better off to plant borage.

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9 hours ago, BeeGirl said:

Interesting. I thought about growing comfrey for the honey bees, but after reading your post, maybe I would be better off to plant borage.

Plant mustard and phacelia and borage and echium and buckwheat.

All will self seed .

Mustard and borage grow and flower quickly 

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