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Willow honey updated.

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Now that many beekeepers have had two seasons with willow honey how are you finding it. I notice that while the bees will consume it, the sugar type which bees cant process is left in the frame. Will this mean next years honey crop being contaminated with this, or will the bees clean this residue out first? Interested in any feedback.

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They clean it out best I can tell.

 

I think this "willowdew" is bad news all round. Not a good extracting honey, not good bee feed, and causes plagues of wasps.

 

Plus willow used to be a useful early source of nectar for bees, from the actual flowers, catkins, or whatever they are called, but I haven't seen any flower related willow flow since the aphids infested them.

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but I haven't seen any flower related willow flow since the aphids infested them.

That is a potential huge disaster

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That is a potential huge disaster

Can't be good for the trees either.

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that would explain the large wasp numbers and the black black mold on the willows here. - but what does the honey taste like??

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I haven't seen any flower related willow flow since the aphids infested them.

but weather was poor anyway.

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that would explain the large wasp numbers and the black black mold on the willows here. - but what does the honey taste like??
The one I have tasted straight out of the hive, was kind of OK but with an unpleasant aftertaste. Have been told it varies with different willow species.

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I hope it's good for bee feed because I have frames full of it, it tastes terrible and I'm of the opinion if the bees think it's good enough to collect and store in there hives they can have it fed back to them in spring. Otherwise what else can we do with it.??

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When it first showed up I thought yippee free autumn sugar feed! But yes now Im not so sure, particularly if it does bring about wasp infestation and stops the very needed spring willow flower. Though last season we had a good spring willow catkin bloom. I assume some scientist will be preparing their next funding proposal around this - hopefully.

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I'm of the opinion if the bees think it's good enough to collect and store in there hives
They also think Karaka nectar is good enough to collect and store. They don't know everything.
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  • Just had a read about Karaka very interesting, bees don't know everything in regards to what they are attracted to.. Humans have the same problem.:)

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With luck the aphid plague will settle down over time just as willow sawfly is no longer much of a problem. It's just a shame we have to rely on luck for our bio security.

I have always thought that stress causes willows to flower more heavily because they think they are going to die and we certainly had a heavy flowering last year !

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Yip makes sense John, and yes it was a heavy flowering.

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Not that willows are really my favourite trees, but I'm feeling a little sorry for them at the moment, they look just terrible having dropped all their leaves, (yes, they are deciduous lol) and covered in black sooty mould. will be interesting to see if the emerging new leaves are affected in spring at all. Do the aphids start up as soon as the leaves come back, or later on when it is a bit warmer?

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that would explain the large wasp numbers and the black black mold on the willows here. - but what does the honey taste like??

I had it this season in my hives and I tasted it - it literally tasted like aphid s**t! Absolutely awful :(

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The worry with willow honey seems to be the undigestable sugars(?) which are left in the cell. Will the bees clean that out would you think in the next flow?

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I tasted it - it literally tasted like aphid s**t!

 

What were the circumstances of your discovering the taste of aphid sh*t ??

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Good question! I thought it was a lovely frame of capped honey and as I was holding it, it slipped. When I caught it I pushed my thumb into it. To my surprise it was rather firm and grainy. Wondering what this was, I tasted it (as one does), what a surprise I got. Aaarrrgggghhhhh! :sick:

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after the rain i see lot of wasp on the pussy willow at my place.

there seems to be plenty of "bugs" on it.

can't really see any honey dew but it seems that's what the wasps are trying to gather from the leaves. so far no bees involved as far as i can see.

could be a problem year. what do others observe so far.

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Haven't checked the willow for the giant aphid yet , but if the amount of aphids on our roses are anything to go by , you could be right there @tom sayn . There are a lot of wllows planted around here to stabilise slips etc and they are all covered in the aphid as summer progresses .

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Yes, I'm seeing a few aphids in the waikato. Not seen any dew yet.

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Ive seen a bit of willow dew (and aphids) but the bees dont seem to be touching it yet, thank god ( while manuka and kanuka is still flowering), so maybe its a poor nectar choice for bees until other sources dry up? Try the parked-car-under-the-willow test for levels of willow dew lol.

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