Best Type of Clover for HoneyBees
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  1. #1
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    Mar 2012
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    Brewster Massachusetts USA
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    Default Best Type of Clover for HoneyBees

    I'm looking for suggestions on clover.... is there a type / variety of clover that works best with honeybees?

    thanks

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
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    New Haven, CT
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    Default Re: Best Type of Clover for HoneyBees

    Dutch clover (Trifolium repens) for lawns (think about local parks, community athletic fields, graveyards, etc.)

    White clover (Melilotus albus) and yellow clover (Melilotus officinalis) are biennial plants that can grow to about 8 feet tall when they blossom in the 2nd year. Yellow clover blooms a few weeks before white clover, so having both will extend the season during which your bees can get nectar. Can naturalize along highway verges, on wastelands, and can of course be planted as a green manure (deep tap roots which harbor symbiontic nitrogen-fixing bacteria) if you've got acreage you can devote to it.

    There's a variety of annual white clover called Hubam clover that reaches maturity (flowers) the first year it's planted, as opposed to the 2nd year.

    Look at agricultural extension websites for more detailed information.

  4. #3
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    Feb 2015
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    Lebanon,Tn. USA
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    Default Re: Best Type of Clover for HoneyBees

    What about trees. Like flowering crab apple.

  5. #4
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    Oct 2013
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    Default Re: Best Type of Clover for HoneyBees

    For trees, you should be aware of a very different timeline... beekeepers that follow you may enjoy the benefits more than you because trees have long periods of time between being planted and the commencement of blooming and providing pollen and nectar. Importantly, where you're located should guide your choice of trees, because of the length and severity of winter, etc.

    Some choices that may make sense (but probably all wrong for some places):

    Pussy willow (Salix species)--an excellent source of pollen for spring buildup
    Tilia species (known as linden in Europe and basswood in North America). Different species have slightly different bloom times and can extend the time that bees can gather nectar.
    Black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia)
    Sourwood (Oxydendron arboreum)
    Tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera)
    Beebee tree (Tetradium danielli--also listed as 'Evodia') A good nectar source for the summertime when other nectar sources have dried up.

    Bees will obviously appreciate any flowering tree from which they can get pollen and nectar, so pear, cherry, and apple would be visited by bees. I think that if you are planting it in a prominent place in your yard, you should enjoy it more than the bees--they'll fly several miles to visit flowers, but if you're going to be looking it out the kitchen window, you should be choosing it based on your desires, and not the bees'.

  6. #5
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    May 2011
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    Algoma District Northern Ontario, Canada
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    Default Re: Best Type of Clover for HoneyBees

    While you are researching have a look at birdsfoot trefoil; not a clover but still a legume. It is a constant source all summer and will tolerate wetter and more acid soils. Excellent honey and slow to crystallize. The flower is not real easy for the bees to access so they will switch to something else but it is a good background nectar source. Cows love it but it is not a horses first choice. Not too likely to pig out on it and founder.
    Frank

  7. #6
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    Apr 2018
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    Northern Colorado, USA
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    Default Re: Best Type of Clover for HoneyBees

    Another one for the list is a Linden tree.

  8. #7
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    Jun 2016
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    Pitt, NC, USA
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    Default Re: Best Type of Clover for HoneyBees

    I tried crimson clover last year; lots of bumblebee attention to the blooms, but I hardly ever saw a honeybee on any of them.

  9. #8
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    May 2012
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    Greenwich, New York, USA
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    Default

    The only clover that doesn’t work for honeybees is field red clover. No idea why but it is everywhere in my fields and have not seen one honeybee on this blossom.

  10. #9
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    Jul 2006
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    Pennsylvania/Florida
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    Default Re: Best Type of Clover for HoneyBees

    Hubam clover is an annual, but much like regular white clover.

    Crimson clover is good as well, can't say i've made a crop off of it, but the bees definitely work it well. Planted 50 acres and saw lots of bee activity on it.




    Aaron

  11. #10
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    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: Best Type of Clover for HoneyBees

    >Hubam clover is an annual, but much like regular white clover.

    By "regular white clover" I assume you mean "white dutch clover" which is a perennial, not an annual.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Best Type of Clover for HoneyBees

    No, i was speaking of White Sweet clover.

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Best Type of Clover for HoneyBees

    I use Dutch. Keeps coming back. Bees are always on it...
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  14. #13
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    Jan 2018
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    Decatur / Cullman, also. 35603
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    Default Re: Best Type of Clover for HoneyBees

    Bersem sweet clover is good. I use white Dutch in my pastures. Cheap, perennial, and thrives in most soils with correct innoculant. My bees tear both up
    Last edited by Richinbama; 04-03-2019 at 04:09 PM.

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Best Type of Clover for HoneyBees

    >No, i was speaking of White Sweet clover.

    Typically white sweet is a biennial. Hubam is an annual.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  16. #15
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    May 2014
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    Gainesboro, Tennessee
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    Default Re: Best Type of Clover for HoneyBees

    White sweet clover is a fantastic nectar producer here. Crimson and Dutch do well but are not on the same level.
    Splitting a first year hive successfully https://youtu.be/ZfRTreQ-S9c

  17. #16
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    Aug 2015
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    Tyler, Texas
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    Default Re: Best Type of Clover for HoneyBees

    look up Silver River Clover

  18. #17
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    Oct 2011
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    Cedar City, Utah
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    Default Re: Best Type of Clover for HoneyBees

    Quote Originally Posted by capebee View Post
    ...is there a type / variety of clover that works best with honeybees?
    Sweet clover (yellow or white) is great. It thrives without artificial watering here in the Utah desert. It has a long bloom season. The bees love it. It readily reseeds itself. The seeds are easy to harvest so you can plant other areas.
    aad8a9c6-f507-49c6-a5af-915c90b47511_l.jpeg
    A cold bee smoker is bad for the soul.

  19. #18
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    Feb 2012
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    Essex IA USA
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    Default Re: Best Type of Clover for HoneyBees

    The Red Clover flower is too long for the honey bee to access the nectar. Bumble bees can though.

    Quote Originally Posted by BattenkillJB View Post
    The only clover that doesn’t work for honeybees is field red clover. No idea why but it is everywhere in my fields and have not seen one honeybee on this blossom.

  20. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    Essex IA USA
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    107

    Default Re: Best Type of Clover for HoneyBees

    All I have ever seen on my row of American Linden are lighting bugs.

  21. #20
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    Mar 2019
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    Fountain, colorado, southern Elpaso county
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    7

    Default Re: Best Type of Clover for HoneyBees

    The linden trees here in colorado get covered up with bees when they bloom.

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