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A friend passed by a large tobacco field this morning. He thought that since I have two hives of honeybees that I must surely be an expert on all things Apis. His questions were these: Do honeybees pollinate and gather nectar from tobacco? What might the resulting honey taste like? I assured him that these were questions for folk more advanced than myself. I promised him that I'd pass along the wisdom found in this forum.

Peace!
 

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When you grow tobacco you are supposed to break the top out before it flowers. So if tobacco farmers do this then the bees wouldn't really get a chance to work it. I'm sure not everyone gets out to do this though.
 

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We use to "top" our burley tobacco at about the 1/3 bloom stage. When about 1/3 of the plants in the field were bloomed out. If you wait too long then suckers form from the lower buds below the bloom, this takes energy away from the plant and is a pain to hand remove. As far as honeybees pollinating I don;t remember honeybees doing it. I do specifically remember bumble bees in the patch because I always hated them as a kid and was afraid of them. I suppose they did some limited polliation but I don't remember them as a major pollinator and like knpeterson says, the objective is to get the bloom off and put weight and growth into the leaves of the plant.

Tim
 

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I grew some tobacco in my garden last year. I let mine flower and go to seed. I did not see any honeybees working the flower. I think the flower is too long and narrow for the honeybees to get into. I did see some small native pollinator bees working it - bees that look like oversized sweat bees.
 

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We have a yard right in the middle of some of the prettiest tobacco in eastern NC. When the tops came on that tobacco I watched pretty carefully just to see what would happen..... well the tops stayed there for about 7 days and I never saw any activity. I studied the flowers and came to the same conclusion as Countryboy - the flower just isn't shaped right for a bee. But I have also heard stories of untended (abandoned) tobacco that had flowers for a very long time and supposedly the bees went after it - so possibly the flowers were not on long enough for nectar to flow.
 

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I haven't seen Tobacco growing since '77, but our bees sure did! In Russell County, Kentucky. Before we got around to topping them they would come in and stick their tongues in the blossom from underneath. I have always wondered what the honey would be like.
 
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