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Late Season Nectar Oddities

 
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Hey all,
I've got 4 hivers right now and I think we are in a bit of a nectar dearth (partially suspect this because of the 2-day robbing frenzy I had to deal with) but its got me curious about some foraging behavior of the bees.
Specifically, I'm curious why the bees haven't been visiting the many various blooms I have in my unmowed yard, We have a huge amount of queen anne's lace and red clover blooming right now, But I've hardly seen a single bee on any of them. The clover has me confused. I thought they loved clover? But we have a ton of it growing all over our yard and all with big blooms, yet I haven't seen a single honey bee attending them. For the Queen Anne's Lace, I hadn't seen any bees on those either for a couple weeks until just yesterday, when I saw two bees working some QAL and some Dill flowers near my garden/ Saw one more on QAL today, but so far that's it. Still no bees (other than bumble bees) on the red clover.
I've watched at the hive entrances and I've seen plenty of foragers returning with pollen. Our pumpkin plants still have blooms, and there's a bush my our house that ALL the stingy little pollinators apparently adore. So I know there's resources to be found, just wondering why the abundance of clover and QAL are being mostly ignored.
 
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I guess the bees know what they want and go get it
 
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Perhaps the clover is not quite ready for them? Bees tend to go for whatever they need, when it's at it's best, & available in massive amounts. It sounds like they have something they like better at the moment.

Honeybees don't seem to care much for pumpkins. Other types of bees typically pollinate those.
 
pollinator
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Like Bruce and Mike said, bees will consider the full menu of what they find available and decide what to make the most of.

There's also the time of day to consider - by my observation there is an ebb and flow of activity during the day on individual species of flowers, which is expected due to different bloom opening times (see Linne's clock), as well as in general bee activity, probably dependant on air humidity, angle of the sun, etc.

Also, the foraging range is not really small so that while you're seeing good food available around you, the bees may have found some delicacy a mile or two away.

It's hard to be sure in advance and it can be tricky to expect hard answers - for example at our location pumpkins are usually very popular. If black locust and crimson clover flower at the same time, they will usually go for the locust.
 
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There is also the issue of nectar production.
Specific plants need specific temperatures and moisture levels to produce nectar. If these are not optimal, there might be no nectar flow even if the field appears full of flowers.
The bees know what they are doing.
 
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Maybe this is a good example of why folks need to plant more bee-friendly plants, especially nectar-producing flowers.

Here are some threads that might offer some suggestions:

https://permies.com/t/161781/Sequentially-Blooming-Plants-Bee-Support

https://permies.com/t/164111/Edible-pollinator-friendly-tiny-garden

https://permies.com/t/156846/Mediterranean-Bee-Plants
 
pollinator
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We're told here that in general clover is a poor bee plant, because it requires "high" temperatures in order to produce nectar, I have not seen a bee on clover when the temperature is under 20C I have NEVER seen a bee on any of the umbelifers, (such as carrot) lots of hoverflies, soldier beetles etc but no bees. There are 4 honey bee hives about 400m away from me but I only see the occasional honey bee in the garden except for early in the year when the currents and apple trees are in flower. I see masses of bumble bees of various types the same with mining bees and butterflies. I'm quite happy with this split as i would rather not feed someone elses livestock when there are plenty of wild bees than need help and don't get sugar over winter to keep their numbers artificially high.  The plant that the butterflies and bees are really liking right at the moment is thistle, it doesn't seem to matter which thistle they are all smothered in insects.
 
Nikolai Stepanovitch
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Mike Barkley wrote:

Honeybees don't seem to care much for pumpkins. Other types of bees typically pollinate those.



That's interesting. Has this been you personal experience? I have something like 30 pumpkin plants and abotu 2 weeks ago when they were at peak bloom the honeybees were ALL over them in the morning hours.
 
Mike Barkley
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Yes, that has been my personal experience. I almost never see honeybees on my squash or pumpkin flowers. I usually see a larger kind of bee on them. Almost without fail, early in the morning.
 
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