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I own 2.8 acres of land in the Tennessee Mountains. I plan to begin an apiary with five hives and becoming a bee supplier in my area for profit. Is clover blossoms best to plant in my pasture or should I consider another type of plant or a combination of pasture plants? I will be most interested in food for brood increases. Honey production for human consumption will be of minimal interest to me at this time, the honey will be a surplus for me and mine and local stores.
 

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A combination of two or more (each) of pollen and necter sources is important. First, find out what is naturally available in your local, then try to complement it with your plantings.
 

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Randy,

Look in to a mix of crimson, dutch, yellow Sweet Clover, sunflower, alfalfa and buckwheat. This is a good mix of bloom dates and pollen production. There should be loads of sourwood around crossville.

Hope this helps and good luck on the profit I have had bad lose's the last 2 years.

Just down the road.
Keith
 

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If you plan on being a being a bee supplier, your prime time for selling bees is during the spring. So it would obviously benefit a bee producer most to select pollen plants that bloom very early in the spring to provide the necessary nutritional boost needed for strong early brood rearing. After that, local forage should be sufficient.

While clovers may help, it may be essential to select early blooming clovers as they are mostly summer bloomers that follow the early bloomers such as dandelion.
 

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Hi Randy, I think you will find that seeding 2 1/2 acres won't matter much as the bees will cover 6,000 plus acres. I plant things around my house that the bees like but it is more for my enjoyment of watching them. I have found that Aynis Hyssop(check spelling) is one plant they really love.

If you are starting an apiary for profit would you not make more profit selling honey than bees? Good Luck with your start up!
 

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I like a mixture of the clovers.
Aynise Hyssop???? Is there a certain variety the honeybees like? I have planted it and only have bumblebees. I have never witnessed a honeybee on my aynise hyssop. I must have planted the wrong variety.
 

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I own a small retail nursery, which complements my beekeeping! I planted 8 acres of mixed clovers for a bee pasture and planted some anise hyssop along the field edges. The hyssop is always covered with bees of all species, including the honeybees. I also planted some borage, vetch, goldenrod and globe thistle on a steep bank nearby and the bees love this too. In my nursery I propagate a host of shrubs and trees that are good for bees. I can't say that this pays off from an economic standpoint, but I think it is important to support all our pollinators with some habitat if we have the means to do so.
 

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"What Blossom is best for brood increase?"
Buddy of mine started his family with a dozen roses.. now he has 2 kids and counting. That what you mean? ;)

[ January 08, 2007, 09:51 PM: Message edited by: longarm ]
 

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I probably shouldn't say this but it is true. The best plant you could put on your place would be to fill it up with dandelion. Thats impractical so my next best suggestion is to plant all the willow and maple trees you can. Ounce for ounce, willow pollen will produce brood earlier and healthier than any other pollen in the south. One warning, willow requires small amounts of boron to grow and produce effectively. The combination of willow and maple gives two early pollen sources that bloom a few days apart and can give some nectar from the maple.

I don't recommend fruit trees because they require spraying which can be a problem for bees.

Darrel Jones
 

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One way is to fertilize willows in nature will cheapest fertilizer and with wood ash from owen. Willows became mad to flower.

Later in spring and summer nature gives so much pollen that special plant is not necessary. Period before winter brood raising perhaps needs pollen. Clover pollen is high quality. Alfa alfa pollen is very low quality.

http://www.rirdc.gov.au/reports/HBE/01-047.pdf

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>The best plant you could put on your place would be to fill it up with dandelion.

I used to be able to buy seed from Gurney's, but they haven't had it now for some time. I wonder, though, if some other seed catalog wouldn't have them...
 

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The earliest pollen around here that bees use as a main buildup source, is red/silver maple.

If I was to plant, I would plant to fill the voids of summer nectar sources. Around here that would be from mid-July to the end of August.
 

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Eva Crane has the best coverage of bee forage that I have seen. I can't remember the title of the book, but it is probably sold online and from many supply companies. Many trees bloom ealier than spring dandilion, and some bulbs, such as crocus and snow drops supply small amounts of very early pollen. Trees definitely produce massive amounts of pollen, and you can always simulate necter by feeding. Do a little local dendrology and hiking and you'll be rewarded for your efforts.
 

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Eva Crane has the best coverage of bee forage that I have seen. I can't remember the title of the book, but it is probably sold online and from many supply companies. Many trees bloom ealier than spring dandilion, and some bulbs, such as crocus and snow drops supply small amounts of very early pollen. Trees definitely produce massive amounts of pollen, and you can always simulate necter by feeding. Do a little local dendrology and hiking and you'll be rewarded for your efforts.
 
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