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Thread: Oak tree honey?

  1. #1
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    Default Oak tree honey?

    I met a Bosnian beekeeper and he was telling me that they get a lot of oak honey in Bosnia. He said there is a small insect that is on oak trees and bees make honey from that. I thought he was talking about aphids- But could he have been referring to gall insects?


    Here are some pictures of a 'honey dew gall wasp' on an oak tree:
    http://calphotos.berkeley.edu/cgi/im...+Dew+Gall+Wasp
    or http://tinyurl.com/9xc2u3

    Notice how there seem to be ants eating something from the gall, is that a sugary substance extracted from the plant? Maybe that is what the Bosnian beekeeper was talking about. So the honey bees collect that sweet extract and make honey from it.

    Did any of you ever try oak honey?

    Do bees get any pollen or nectar from oak trees?

  2. #2
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    A google search shows people selling oak honey but all I could find is one entry that the leaves produce a sugar substance in the fall. alot more on pollen, I do know around june some oaks have so many bees that it sounds like a swarm.
    http://labs.eeb.utoronto.ca/mcandrew...swind_1978.pdf

    mike

  3. #3
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    Default

    Do a Google search for "Honeydew honey". Honeydew is the sweet excretion of certain aphids and scale insects. Honeybees are opportunists and will get their sweets from many sources.

    Honeydew honey is poplular in europe where darker stronger honey is more accepted. A Spanish study says it is the most healthful variety because of a higher level of antioxidants. I've tasted Austrailian honeydew honey and would say that a little goes a long way.

    Bees do gather pollen from oaks but there are many many varieties of "oaks" and , like other trees and plants, this source can fluctuate.

    One more thing: Honeydew honey is isolated the same way as other varietal honey....hives are moved into the forest when the honeydew is flowing. I'm sure there is a bit of aphid excretion in my honey but it gets lost in the mix.

  4. #4
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    I live in south central Florida in a rural community. We are completely surrounded by oak trees. When I first purchased my house, I kept hearing all of this buzzing and finally after a couple of days saw the bees all over in the trees-this was before I got into beekeeping. This activity lasted for several days. My cars were COVERED in pollen. I just started beekeeping a little more than a year ago and cannot say how much honey they actually make from it. I started beekeeping in the Fall of 07, and last spring my bees paid little attention to the oaks. I think it does go in spurts.

  5. #5
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    So do bees make honey from oak flower nectar? (Do oak flowers even have nectar?) Or from those sweet extracts caused by gall insects (as the gall wasp shown in the picture)? Or both from nectar and the sweet extracts of the plant? I know they gather the aphid excretions, however, I'm wondering specifically about the extracts of the plant itself as a result of the gall, as shown in those pictures on the links above.

    If that is the case, then would you still call it 'honeydew honey' even though its not from aphid excretions, but rather from the excretion of the plant as a result of the gall injury?

  6. #6
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    Around here they do not make honey from the oak flowers, but honeydew from a node secretion. Live Oak (quercus agrifolia) in spring, I do not know of a crop from this tree. In summer the tan oaks (Lithocarpus densiflorus) do produce extractable surpluses.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Oak tree honey?

    Quote Originally Posted by samak View Post
    So do bees make honey from oak flower nectar?
    I just came across your question and have a link to a more scientific report about honeydew that may help you to understand where the honeydew on oak comes from. http://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/15/5/3744/pdf
    Hope that helps
    Last edited by Barry; 01-16-2011 at 06:01 PM.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Oak tree honey?

    Quote Originally Posted by samak View Post
    I met a Bosnian beekeeper and he was telling me that they get a lot of oak honey in Bosnia...
    Aphids suck the sap from the leaves and stems of trees and other plants, you might call aphids the varroa mite of the plant world. These aphids expel plant sugars in excess of the aphids own needs. Some ant species herd aphids for the aphids’ sweet secretions. Bees also collect this aphid dew and make honey from it called “honeydew” honey. I’ve never heard of anyone who “markets” honeydew honey. I’ve been told that it is an acquired taste. But so is maple syrup and maple syrup is also made from tree sap. I’ve also heard honeydew honey is quite popular in Europe and sells at a premium. I assume this is what he was telling you.

    Park a car with a clean windshield under an oak tree all day and night and the next morning look for little sticky droplets of dew on the windshield. This I think, is what bees work to make “honeydew” honey. Just MHO.
    http://science.jrank.org/pages/462/A...ts-aphids.html
    Scrapfe---Never believe anything in politics until it has been officially denied.--Otto von Bismarck.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Oak tree honey?

    I’ve also heard honeydew honey is quite popular in Europe and sells at a premium.

    Thanks fo filling in more about hoenydew. Many beekeepers in Europe extract honey after spring and in the fall. The fall honey is usually darker and in German is called "Waldhonig" or forest honey literarely translated.
    I have oak trees on my property, one a hughe one. In the later spring it provides pollen. The tree sounds as if a huge swarm would sit in it.
    Last edited by Barry; 01-16-2011 at 06:01 PM.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Oak tree honey?

    I read somewhere that oak tree nectar is poisonous to the bees.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Oak tree honey?

    Would you have a source for the information? The link I posted above analyses the oak honey and all the substances that it contains. It does not mention anything about poisenous ones. My bees would be dead by now.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Oak tree honey?

    some aphids don't suck sap , the capillary pressure pushes the sap through the aphid producing a droplet that some ants harvest.

    The dark honey tastes like toffee but don ´t tell beecause everybody will what to taste it.

    mvh edward :P

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Oak tree honey?

    I live in Greece and this morning I visited a monastery up in the mountains,from where I usually get pollen, propolis and handmade soaps made with rain water but today together with my favorite chestnut honey, I found oak tree honey! Its does exist! The mongs produce it and only sell it in the monastery! A bit like chestnut honey!LOVE IT!

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Oak tree honey?

    We live in the timber and have large oak trees in the yard. Yesterday is sounded like the tree was going to fly! The honey bees (started with one 3 lb box and hive last year) were all over the oak tree. I park my old 86 3/4 ton Chevy near the trees and the "honey do" is all over the windshield. I am sure the aphids eat the honey due but the bees were on the leaves and stems drinking the sap from the trees. It has been a cold rainy spring and I am delighted they are getting this from the trees. My persimmon trees should bloom soon and the linden trees won't be far behind. It has been exciting learning about all the things the bees utilize!

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Oak tree honey?

    my persimmon trees have been blooming for 4-5 days now and you can hear the bees on it from 60 ft away. Never knew that bees utilized oak trees, we have 28 acres of woods and have several hundreds of acres of woods within 3 mi of us, sounds like the girls ought to find plenty to eat.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Oak tree honey?

    Quote Originally Posted by Harley Craig View Post
    my persimmon trees have been blooming for 4-5 days now and you can hear the bees on it from 60 ft away. Never knew that bees utilized oak trees, we have 28 acres of woods and have several hundreds of acres of woods within 3 mi of us, sounds like the girls ought to find plenty to eat.
    Harley Craig - completely unrelated to the original post, but related to your post. I used to come to Casey IL several times a year to ride at the Lincoln Trail Motorsport park west of Casey on Hwy 40. Its the first place I ever tried a persimmon, off a tree at the track. I have tried to grow the tree north here (about 6 hours northwest of Casey, but no go. I always think of your town there whenever I see persimmons at the grocery store...

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Oak tree honey?

    I have lived in east Texas my whole life where we have post oaks, water oaks, white oaks, balckjack, southern red, and a few others that aren't very common, and i have never seen or heard of bees collecting from oaks. Also, i thought that bees needed pollen to make true honey, and the oaks in my area don't even have flowers, so this doesn't make very much sense to me. I saw something about sugars from aphids but then it really wouldn't be true honey, just sugar stored with the brood, correct? Could anybody please elaborate on this subject?
    Potato Guns shouldn't be illegal in Texas!

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Oak tree honey?

    Quote Originally Posted by BSAChris View Post
    Harley Craig - completely unrelated to the original post, but related to your post. I used to come to Casey IL several times a year to ride at the Lincoln Trail Motorsport park west of Casey on Hwy 40. Its the first place I ever tried a persimmon, off a tree at the track. I have tried to grow the tree north here (about 6 hours northwest of Casey, but no go. I always think of your town there whenever I see persimmons at the grocery store...
    Quite ironically I think the first persimmon I ever tried off of a tree was there too I worked there 20 yrs ago as a check point on their enduro races and also ran the drop gate on the moto x side

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Oak tree honey?

    The aphids secrete honey dew as they have to process a lot of sap to pull what little protein it has in it and all the excess sugars they don't need are expelled. The oaks we have the bees visit the little nubs where the acorns form. I'm assuming the tree secretes some nectar at the base as I don't see any aphids but the tree is obviously dripping at times and I see the bees visiting all the nubs and licking them in the fall. That being said, the willow tree is a different story, it's covered in aphids and the bees will be on it collecting the honeydew.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Oak tree honey?

    It doesn't happen every year, but I've had the same thing happen on our pecan tree in our front yard. A couple of different times in the past 5 years I've noticed that the pecan tree would be buzzing with bees seemingly on all the leaves. Other than that, we have 4 Bradford Pear trees that are covered when they bloom, and one Cumberland Pear tree that gets covered when it blooms. I know several beekeepers that have outyards near cropland and others near woods/swamps. They all report that the hives at the woodland/swamp areas produce much higher amounts of honey per hive. I live in a rural area with little farming anywhere nearby, lots of woodland and some low lying areas that we refer to as "swampy". In the spring u can watch my bees leaving their hives and heading straight into the wooded areas. When people begin planting their gardens and flower beds, the bees will then leave the hives heading in different directions.

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