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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    San Mateo, Ca, USA
    Posts
    408

    Default are honey bees into California lilac (Ceanothus)?

    I've seen California lilac listed in many places as bee friendly. They're massive bushes full of dark blue flowers and they're in bloom right now. While I was looking at a grove of these in Sausalito I saw tons of bumble bees in them but no honey bees. Is my observation accurate, or are the California lilacs good for honey bees?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    5,039

    Default Re: are honey bees into California lilac (Ceanothus)?

    There are a lot of different varieties in a lot of different climates, so I am not sure. Not so much that I have seen.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Battleground, WA
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: are honey bees into California lilac (Ceanothus)?

    My neighbor has 3 massive Ceanothus bushes. My honeybees covered the plants for several weeks. You could hear them before you could see them.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Morro Bay, California, USA
    Posts
    989

    Default Re: are honey bees into California lilac (Ceanothus)?

    The attractiveness varies by species. The coastal hills are often covered with Ceanothus integerrimus (Deer Brush) and close relatives. These are generally completely unattractive to European Bees, but are heavily worked by small native bees. I believe the flower throats are too small for honey bees. Most of the species in the small leaved and mat-like C. thyrsiflorus group are also unattractive-- these have been selected for landscape plantings.

    Locally, Ceanothus cuneatus ("Buck Brush") is very heavily worked by my honey bees (this is a February-March bloom). The whitethorn, C. leucodermis (and some close relatives), are worked in June at upper elevations.

    There are 55 different species of Ceanothus, and the attractiveness is species specific.

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