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Thread: Cotton honey?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Murfreesboro, TN, USA
    Posts
    318

    Default Cotton honey?

    I read an article in one of the beekeeping magazines in the last year about bees and cotton plants. So, I planted my garden with cotton this year instead of the normal things. The cotton has been blooming for a couple of weeks now, and I've yet to see a honeybee on it. There are several different other pollinators, but none of my girls.
    There are several big cotton fields within beeflight from my house, so I'm hoping they're using someone's cotton! Anybody know anything about cotton honey, especially in Tennessee?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Greenway, Arkansas, USA
    Posts
    62

    Default Re: Cotton honey?

    they do not work the bloom very much .. they work the small nectar orifice(s) on the underside of the leaf .... sometimes this spot can produce a droplet that can be seen ... and you can taste the sweet nectar on this spot most of the time ... your problem may have to do with mere preference for another source or variety of cotton or who knows.....

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Suffolk, VA
    Posts
    2,781

    Default Re: Cotton honey?

    Cotton is a very strong nectar flow around here. If we can manage to stay out of a drought then we always get a good surplus. This year the cotton flow has been awesome, last year almost no cotton honey. The plant is pretty hardy, but the nectar flow is heavily dependent upon weather conditions. Right now, we've been dry for a couple of weeks and the flow has backed way off, but earlier we had nearly perfect conditions and my girls took advantage of it. Hopefully we'll get some rain soon and things will pick back up. All that being said, I personally am not a big fan of cotton honey, but many of my customers love it.

    Check your supers. If the cotton is flowing, you should see measurable progress (fresh nectar and white wax). Make sure they have plenty of space. They will swarm on a good cotton flow if you don't give them enough space !!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Central Valley, CA, USA
    Posts
    82

    Default Re: Cotton honey?

    I was also wondering about Cotton honey. In my area (central CA) are many cotton fields. So I would be interested if it is worth moving the hives close to one of those fields.

    1. When and for how long does the cotton bloom (provide nectar)?
    2. Is there also pollen to be harvested by the bees?
    3. Do cotton farmers like bees in their fields - do they want the pollination?
    4. How many hives per acre would you place for surplus honey?
    5. Are cotton fields loaded with insecticides?

    Thanks for sharing!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Tulare, Ca. USA
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Cotton honey?

    I am in the central valley of ca. as well. I live in Tulare and I have been given
    permission to put a few hives along the edge of a cotton field but the land
    owner has leased to another farmer. I have called the farmer at least 6 times
    he will not return my calls. Im afraid of spray. Do they spray the cotton? Oh
    I was born and raised in southeastern Tennessee around the Knoxville area.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Rocky Point NC
    Posts
    27

    Default Re: Cotton honey?

    What time of day do the bees work the cotton the best?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Greenway, Arkansas, USA
    Posts
    62

    Default Re: Cotton honey?

    they do spray cotton a lot

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Murfreesboro, TN, USA
    Posts
    318

    Default Re: Cotton honey?

    I've also read this: Cotton grown naturally will bloom over the course of several months on into the fall. But cotton grown commercially is treated with a chemical to make it all bloom around the same time so it can be picked in one or two pickings. I don't know much about this, but am wondering if that chemical will harm the bees. It shortens the time they can use the plant, for sure.

    Of course, my garden cotton isn't treated!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Issaquah,WA,USA
    Posts
    2,427

    Default Re: Cotton honey?

    Call the state and ask them about the spraying times. Here in WA the state tells them when to spray for bugs and stuff on Fruit. I am sure it is the same with Cotton.

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