I know one would have to deal with the spray schedule but would it be worth the time to place hives on a peach orchard?
I have not heard anyone talking of making honey from peaches and thought I would ask.
Randy, I do have ten hives located at a large peach, apple orchard. The only reason I have them there is because the owner is a friend and he grows all kinds of berries and vegetables also. The orchard is mostly peaches, he calls me before spraying and I have to close up the hives when the trees are in bloom. I have still lost a few bees over the past 5-6 years. The peaches bloom so early I do not seen honey from them but these bees seem to build up quickly every spring. This orchard is covered with dutch and crimson clover which blooms after the fruit bloom. This is my main reason for having the bees in the orchard. They do well but not until over in the summer after the clover bloom. If it were just peaches in this orchard I would probably move them elsewhere.
I used to work some bees that were on an edge of about twenty acres of peaches. When the peaches were in full bloom....bees worked them and when opening the hives there was a distinctive fragrance and lots of new honey. It may depend on the variety.
Bees work peach blossoms for both nectar and pollen. Peaches are 1st cousins to Almonds so much of what is written about almonds is applicable to peaches. Where bees do not work peach flowers, it is mostly because there are better nectar and pollen sources available at the same time. It is not profitable to set bees in peaches for honey, so it would have to be because the grower wants and is willing to pay for pollination. Most peaches are self-fertile so do not require cross pollination. Most almonds are self-incompatible and have to be pollinated.
I have 3 mature and 3 maturing peach trees on my land. Since I been watching, every year the bees work the blossoms. 2 years ago I think it was, they worked the daylights out of the mature trees. Maybe the only blossom source so early? Seems like red maple and willow should have been going at the same time.
One book I have says peach honey is toxic to humans. I have never heard or seen this anywhere except this one book. I cant say that I have had specific "peach only" honey come from my apiary. I will have more peaches coming into fruition in the next few years so we will see what happens.
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