What do you think the orange is from? I have not seen bees on chicory this year but have seen white pollen. My bees are not coming in just loaded with anything, just a bee here and there. I do know that I watched the bees for the very first time last year hitting chicory and pollen baskets of white. I had not seen that the two years before and not this year and so took the working of chicory as a desperation type thing. I might not know what I am talking about though cause I really only watch things that are directly on my property that I can walk by. I do not know how reflective my property is in comparison of those around me. My neighbor cut my hay for twenty years with out much fertilizer being added. It kept the trees from growing in the fields. It should be getting a bit better now that it has bees on it and that I am leaving the cut stuff to "fertilize" for the last three years.
It is defiantly different this year due to all the rain and maybe a change in mowing pattern. I see different stuff and different densities of old stuff.
Birds foot trefoil or Alfalfa both have deep roots and do well in dry times. the seed is expensive however. should be able to at a feed & seed store buy a little bag.Last 50 pound of trefoil I got was well over 100$ but 5 pounds for 12 or 15 bucks would be a good trial. the seeds are very small, need good soil contact. to get reseed you need to just let it go. they make little pods like Peas but smaller, they eventually pop open. I would put it in an old salt shaker and take it on Hikes, shake here shake there. Best fall flow I ever had was on an 80 Acre field of Sunflowers. If I did trefoil i would frost seed in the spring.
This weekend I happened to catch both the Bombus and the Apis working the partridge pea.
Based on what I observed over two days, it appears that the bumblebees will work the flowers for pollen early in the morning as the dew is burning off, and that the honey bees will work the nectar nodes early and late when the shadows are long. I never saw them working the flowers. Judging only on this small sample size I would assume the nectar dries up during the heat of the day and that honey bees don't routinely collect pollen from partridge pea.
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Nice. Good to know.
We had partridge pea come up in a field next to our bees last year. The bees worked it so much I wouldn't let my husband bush hog the field until the flowers were gone. We pull our honey last of June/first of July and these flower after that so I don't know how the honey would be.
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Zone 8, elevation 70 ft, near the north end of Lake Washington
Honey Plants of North America (1926):
"Partridge-pea is a herbaceous, much branched, spreading annual with pinnate leaves, and showy yellow flowers which often have the petals purple-spotted at base. It extends from Maine to Florida and westward to Indiana and Texas, but it is valuable as a honey plant chiefly in Florida and Georgia. In the north-central part of Florida there are thousands of acres in bloom during July and August, and for miles the ground is covered with a yellow carpet of flowers. It is also common in Georgia: in many dry sandy sections of the South, indeed, it is the main dependence of the beekeeper, making beekeeping possible in otherwise very unfavorable localities.
(....)From one to three supers, or 100 pounds of honey per colony, have been obtained from partridge-pea. The honey is medium light amber, exceptionally thin, with a poor flavor. At Fort White, Florida, the surplus comes from partridge-pea and chinquapin. Inferior as is the flavor of this honey, its fine appearance has caused it to sell at a high price. The extracted honey is bought by bakers and the large quantity obtained partly atones for the poor quality."
Plants Honey Bees Use in the Ohio and Tennessee Valleys (2018):
"Partridge pea is a native, self-seeding annual. It is often planted for erosion control, wildlife conservation, or native wildflower gardens. It has bright yellow flowers with contrasting red-brown stamens. Partridge peas are highly attractive to many insect pollinators including honey bees. However, honey bees do not collect nectar from the flowers. The partridge pea nectar honey bees collect comes from extrafloral nectaries located at the base of the leaves. The seed pods produced by partridge pea are a valuable food source for wildlife, especially bobwhites.
Partridge pea is an important plant for honey bees in NC and VA. It may have some local importance in other parts of the region. Even within the same state, some beekeepers consider it an important plant for honey bees, while beekeepers in other parts of the state report their bees pay little attention to partridge pea. Partridge peas's importance for honey bees likely varies based on factors like soil type, soil moisture, and the availability of other plants."
Great post- I appreciate the information.
Looks like it might also be your first post here on Beesource? If so, let me be the first to welcome you to the forum. Glad to have you a part of our community.
Thanks again for the information- good stuff.