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Do bees dislike or prefer Manuka?

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Hi There,

 

I have heard that bees only go to flowering Manuka if it is their only option... as they prefer rewarewa or clover for example.

 

However, recently I have heard experienced beekeepers say the opposite?

 

Does anyone have any opinion on this based on facts/experience?

 

Cheers

 

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44 minutes ago, Rookie said:

Hi There,

 

I have heard that bees only go to flowering Manuka if it is their only option... as they prefer rewarewa or clover for example.

 

However, recently I have heard experienced beekeepers say the opposite?

 

Does anyone have any opinion on this based on facts/experience?

 

Cheers

 

Bees do prefer pink manuka to white .

In the honey box there will not be much manuka if there are other sources flowering .

That could be because it requires specialised conditions for the nectar to flow .

So it may not be that the bees do not like it more that its hard work and not worth the effort when there are easier sources around .

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If conditions are right they will work manuka in preference to anything else including Rewa Rewa. If conditions are wrong they will go elsewhere. I have been working hives on the manuka for nearly 50 years and still have no real understanding of why  it yield sometimes and not others. Too cold is no good and too hot shortens the time the plants are in flower. Heavy rain especially thunderstorms can destroy the flow especially if it is near the end of flowering. Certainly in this area the primary reason for it not yielding is that native solitary bees can be so numerous that there is no nectar left for the honeybees. I have a friend with hives on his own farm where there is a lot of bush including manuka. He normally gets a reasonable honey crop but has only got one manuka crop in 16 years. Just because it is their doesn't mean you will get a crop. Some areas of course are far more reliable but every manuka site I have ever had fails to produce at least some of the time.

I guess I should add that these days the primary reason for manuka crops not being what they should be are the hundreds or in some cases thousands of hives just across the fence.

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@john berry
I will always see lots of bees on my pink manuka , the ones I brought from the garden shop and the self seedlings that have dropped from them.

Have you noticed them prefering pink manuka .

 

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No pinko commie manuka round here.

On my one triple right the top of Northland I did notice there were a lot of pink flowers up there but there were quite ones as well and I couldn't tell you what the bees preferred. I do have one ornamental red flowered one here and the bees don't work it much.

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Years ago I planted 3 prostrate pink flowering manukas.

I noticed that they dropped seeds that produced mixed prostrate and upright plants with varing shades of pink flowers.

So I grew some seedlings on and the ones I planted out are covered in bees when they flower .

I seldom see native bees on them .

Maybe the honey bees are after pollen .

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