NECTAR-PRODUCING PLANTS FOR HONEY BEES
Among the chief barriers to the sustainablity of beekeeping in New England is the shortage of native, nectar producing plant populations during early and mid-summer months. Reductions in agricultural land, and changes in agricultural practices, have further led to decreases in nectar producing bee forage. Experimental field sites with 15 herb species have been established to demonstrate to beekeepers the attractiveness of alternative bee forages to bees. Flowering duration was recorded during the 1995 growing season, for each species planted in 1994. Two of these species, anise hyssop and catnip, were also planted in nine row width-density spacings. Canopy closure was delayed in the widest row widths of 0.9 and 1.35 m for anise hyssop and catnip respectively. A further field study examined the impact of weeds. Inflorescence number in the weedy check was only 8% of inflorescence number in the hand weeded plots. Results of these early agronomic studies indicate the potential for development of production systems for season-long supply of nectar from herbal bee forages.
Herbert, S., O'Toole, B., Pan, Z., Akin, T. and Bonney, R. (1996). NECTAR-PRODUCING PLANTS FOR HONEY BEES. Acta Hortic. 426, 329-332