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I am considering placing some hives near a Canola/Rape field which is in full bloom and was wondering if you all could help me with a few questions I have.

1. How long does Canola/Rape bloom typically last?

2. How soon after being sprayed for insects should I wait before allowing my bees back on the flowers.

3. I understand canola/rape honey will crystallize in the comb. If I end up with crystallized honey in the comb, is it still a healthy source of bee food during winter month.
 

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To answer your questions:

1) The Canola that I put my bees on is a late-blooming Canola that blooms from late-September until the first hard freeze (mid-November, usually). How long early-bloom Canola lasts is an unknown for me.

2) How long should you wait to let your bees out after spraying? It depends on what's being sprayed really. Assuming you're talking about Round-Up, as soon as it's dry on the plants, it's safe for bees. I believe that Round-Up doesn't harm bees, once it's dry. It's the (surface tension breaking) carrier that harms bees; much like soapy water does.

3) Canola honey CAN crystallize in the comb. But, it's not a ticking time-bomb. You should have some time to extract it if you choose. As for the nutritional aspect of it, it is a good food source for over-wintering, if mixed with other types of honeys. (I'm not a big fan of mono-sourced honey for winter feed. I feel that no single source of honey is nutritionally complete.) Secondly, with any honeys that crystallize, there are usually more "solids" contained in the honey, which makes it more imperative for your bees to be able to get out and take cleansing flights over the winter. Your experience will be the best judge of whether this is possible or not.

Good luck,
DS
 
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