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From what I hear, Heather honey is rather famous in Europe, (the honey of Royalty). I live in Montana and I've come across valleys full (ares and acres) of Pink Mountain Heather, Phyllodoce empetriformis, and some white varieties of white heather. Has anyone heard of this North American heather variety being used as a honey crop? It only blooms in remote alpine regions, though its bloom time seems to last a good couple of weeks. I have thought it would be neat to pack in a few hives on a mule team and set up a remote apiary with a bear fence and see if they'd make some rare North American heather honey. Any advice would be appreciated. Most of these areas are Wilderness/Roadless Federal land, I also don't know what the Federal Land Managers would think of this...they give out grazing permits for cattle---why not for bees?
 

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i was building/repairing trails through those fields this summer in the selway wilderness and thinking about the same thing, although i can not imagine a mule would let you put a hive anywhere near it. i have heard lots of horror stories about sweaty horses and bees. the only way i could see bieng feasable would be in one of the areas that is very high elevation and not wilderness. glacier park, or west yellowstone perhaps, out my way there are the roads that cross the divide out of superior. you'd have to have a very good solar bear fence. let us know if you are going to try it. justin
 

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Justin, good to hear from you. I worked on a trail crew out of Moose Creek Ranger Station a couple years back and was a Wilderness Ranger in the Anaconda Pintler Wilderness last season. I will keep you posted on the idea. Ideally it'd be nice to find someone with private property within bee range of heather in bloom. I was thinking of building up some nucs this spring on the early stuff (spurge into snowberry) and then trying it. Ideally somewhere you could pull up a trailer and let them stay for the flow, but what if you designed a hive body that could fit in a manty, then barrel hitch onto a decker pack saddle. If the bees where mantied up at sundown in breathable canvas mantys and then packed in on a full moon? I hear they used to do this in Italy and I saw a nice picture in the American Bee Journal last year of someone packing bees on a mule in France. Much easier said than done...but wow...all those sunny blooming days in the wilderness...its all I can think of when I'm out there.
 

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we packed 220 pounds of c4 in on a mule this year. i was sweating. now i can think of a few spots where it would work. all you need is a forest service green trailer and you can park it lots of places. i like the clover/knapweed honey in the bottom of the valley just fine.
 

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From what I hear, Heather honey is rather famous in Europe, (the honey of Royalty). I live in Montana and I've come across valleys full (ares and acres) of Pink Mountain Heather, Phyllodoce empetriformis, and some white varieties of white heather. Has anyone heard of this North American heather variety being used as a honey crop? It only blooms in remote alpine regions, though its bloom time seems to last a good couple of weeks. I have thought it would be neat to pack in a few hives on a mule team and set up a remote apiary with a bear fence and see if they'd make some rare North American heather honey. Any advice would be appreciated. Most of these areas are Wilderness/Roadless Federal land, I also don't know what the Federal Land Managers would think of this...they give out grazing permits for cattle---why not for bees?
Here in the Netherlands heather honey honey is the most expensive kind of honey. And it's produced on quite a large scale. Heather is on of the last remaining natural monofloral honeycrop. The majority of the honeycrop in The Netherlands is cultivated.
Maybe the following link might be useful to you:
Heatherhoney
 

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Maybe the following link might be useful to you:
Heatherhoney
Wow, it's a pity there aren't any really detailed resources on the 'net about varietal heather crops :eek:! These cats are really into heather honey history! I've often fantasized about backcountrying some colonies down South here, but it's mostly sage and then the spring wildflower blooms. Probably not worth the (I'm sure extensive) effort.
 

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I am right on the other side of the divide out of Superior, I will meet you at the divide with my bees.
Sounds like a good plan, except for the mule! :)
 
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