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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Northampton, New Brunswick, Canada
    Posts
    13

    Default No honey from Buckwheat

    I am a beekeeper in New Brunswick Canada near the border of Maine. My brother planted about 8 acres of Buckwheat as a cover crop. It came into bloom about the middle of September and bloomed for about 3 weeks before being killed by frost. I moved 12 hives to the field at the start of the bloom expecting them to get some honey from it. It was fairly cool throughout the whole time with the high temperatures generally only getting to the lower 60's at best. The bees were very active on it; however I was very dissappointed that we got basically no honey from it. I had one hive sitting on a scale and the hive did not gain any weight. Can anybody tell me what was wrong? Perhaps just too cold? Thanks for any help.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Stormont County, Cornwall, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    98

    Default Re: No honey from Buckwheat

    I have heard that the newer varieties of buckwheat doesn't do much for the bees. Something about the depth of the nectar in the blossum. The older variety , the silver hull type is what they want.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Limestone, Alabama
    Posts
    577

    Default Re: No honey from Buckwheat

    I too noticed little or no nectar from my summer buckwheat way down here in Alabama USA. I blamed the very hot temps and dry conditions. I have some buckwheat just now coming into bloom and the temps are lower and we are getting some rain so I will see what happens now.
    I did see them collecting lots of pollen from the summer buckwheat.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Knox County, Ohio
    Posts
    2,692

    Default Re: No honey from Buckwheat

    The honey the bees collected during the day was eaten by the bees at night to keep warm.

    You want 80 and 90 degree days preferably.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Freeland, Washington, USA
    Posts
    107

    Default Re: No honey from Buckwheat

    My understanding is that Buckwheat only produces nectar in the cooler morning hours. If the ambient temp is too low for the bees to forage at these times, the plants will not be producing nectar when the bees fly. I checked my records to verify this and ,sure enough when the morning temps were high, we got a great crop. When they were low, nothing.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Andover, MA, USA
    Posts
    88

    Default Re: No honey from Buckwheat

    This is a passage from an old version of Root that has been scanned in and is therefore available as an online book, albeit with 'typos,' at the link below.

    "IS BUCKWHEAT A RELIABLE SOURCE FOR HONEY, AND WHEN ?

    In York State, buckwheat can be depend-
    ed upon almost every year for a crop of honey
    but in the West it is rather uncertain— some
    years yielding no honey, and others doing
    fairly well. But when it does yield, the bees
    work on it almost entirely in the morning,
    the nectar supply lasting until about ten
    or eleven o'clock. There are, however, ex-
    ceptions."


    http://www.archive.org/stream/abcxyz...0root_djvu.txt

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    196

    Default Re: No honey from Buckwheat

    In Europe, not long ago, beekeepers used to make a living from buckwheat crops.
    As of late, Buckwheat honey is hard to get in Europe.
    For good number of years now, I constantly read reports, that bees are not able to gather much, if anything.
    From what I can remember, off hand, is that it has to do with soil. Poor, depleted soil is best. In old days, farmers did not have the means to use modern fertilizers. Fields got what was at hand, manure from what animals they raised? Usually a few pigs, goats, sheep and a cow or two. Buckwheat was in those days a form of fertilizer, as were various clovers. Now-a-days, they fertilize artificially, like there was no tomorrow.

    Buckwheat does not like rich - fertilized soil.
    Other major problem was already mentioned above; type of seed?

    One should secure old type seeds and stick to them.
    In Europe, beeks even buy their own seeds and give them to farmers, to ensure that they get what they are after. They also make sure that some of the crop is left standing, so it goes into seed. They than harvest the seeds and so on. . .
    Some are even closely guarding this old secret... Cause younger generations are loosing old knowledge and are not as tightly bound to their land as were their fathers, especialy grandfathers.
    Dark honey, especialy Buckwheat honey is still much sought after commodity over there and commands premium prices. Especialy so is true in Eastern parts of the continent. But, also in central Europe is still well regarded, almost treasured like; dark, liquid GOLD.
    Apparently the new varieties of Buckwheat are now useless, as far as bees are concerned...
    Last year I was getting reports from all over that bees were plentiful on fields and hot as hell, cause there was nothing to be had? Perhaps the new varieties are much the same as red clover?
    Probably worse?
    For over there, the bees are Carniolans and they can get plenty from red/crimson clover, if farmers don't cut it before it flowers - which as of late is far too often the case.
    Buckwheat must have deeper florets yet..?

    So, take it from there, for what is worth?

    Regards,
    France

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Northampton, New Brunswick, Canada
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: No honey from Buckwheat

    Thank you all for your help on this. It sounds like we had potentially two or maybe three problems. The first being that this buckwheat did not come into flower until mid September. This past year this time was fairly wet and cool so by the time the bees got to the flowers, once it had warmed up in the day, the flowers had likely stopped giving nectar. The second problem is that we likely did not have old enough seed. The third possible problem is that maybe the soil was too rich. Again thanks for all your help.

    Regards,
    Stephen

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Brush Prairie, WA,USA
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: No honey from Buckwheat

    Does anyone know the name for the buckwheat used in the early part of the 20th century?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Knox Co, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    894

    Default Re: No honey from Buckwheat

    I have read that the variety Tokyo produced the best honey. But, it is difficult, if not impossible to find now.

    Tom

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Lewistown,Pa,USA
    Posts
    178

    Default Re: No honey from Buckwheat

    It is called Silverhaul and from what my uncle told me yesterday 10 hives to an acre will make honey with the right weather. He also told me it is hard to find any more. Buckweat is not as popular as it was at one time.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
    Posts
    2,811

    Default Re: No honey from Buckwheat

    Don't feel bad, We had 30 hives on 23 acres of buckwheat, planted after winter wheat. We got NO honey, warm enough in the morning, the early frost got the low fields, but not the high ones. Forgot the variety, but it was NOT those mentioned, might have had a "Man..." in the name?

    Roland

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Lavaca county, Texas
    Posts
    497

    Default Re: No honey from Buckwheat

    Try this link:
    http://sustainableseedco.com/Japanese-Buckwheat.html

    I keep commenting on the forum that when considering plants and seeds for bees, it seems to be the "older" strains that work best. The Latest and Greatest from your Local A&M is bred for industrial farming and likely to be self-pollinating.

    Summer

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Chapel Hill, NC
    Posts
    709

    Default Re: No honey from Buckwheat

    Thanks for the link Summer. The large seeded varieties 'Mancan' and 'Manor' are the ones NOT to plant. Unfortunately, they are the ones available to us in the United States. You will also see seed for sale that has no cultivar name listed. It's best to avoid it also. It is usually seed collected from varieties 'Mancan' and 'Manor'.

    "In the present experiments, the nectar productivity of
    five buckwheat cultivars during the period of full blossom
    was 8-10 mg of sugar/l 00 flowers on the average
    over 10 years (1986-1996). The most nectar was secreted
    by the cultivar 'Greenflower-90' (11.3 mg) and 'Viktoria'
    (10.7 mg) which were sown in early April. 'Kosmeya'
    which is the aftr-mowing crop secreted 9.2 mg, and
    cultivar 'Galleya' secreted 6.8-10.0 mg in the optimum
    period . The most stable nectar productivity throughout
    the blooming seasons was observed in 'Galleya'."

    Source:
    "Bee visitation, nectar productivity and pollen efficiency of common
    buckwheat"
    Elena S. ALEKSEYEVA and Aleksandr L. BUREYKO
    Podilska State Agrarian and Engineering Academy, Scientific Research Institute of Groat Crops, Shevchenko St. 13, KamenetsPodolsky,
    32316, Ukraine

    Received March 1, 2000; accepted in revised form August 21,2000.


    It would be nice if we could get these cultivars here in the US.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Tulsa, OK
    Posts
    86

    Default Re: No honey from Buckwheat

    Japanese Buckwheat (49 days)

    2 oz package

    Buckwheat is the perfect smother crop, adding valuable green manure to your soil or harvesting for seed. We kind of do both. We thresh the grain for our chickens and add the stalks to the compost pile. This is THE crop for bee food. Honeybees just love buckwheat and it makes a highly sought after honey rarely found on the market anymore. You will notice that blossoms are more active in the morning when the plant produces more nectar.

    http://sustainableseedco.com/Japanese-Buckwheat.html

    FYI

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