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The hour and ½ commute from Front Royal to the new office in Merrifield permits the opportunity to observe the green growing things in the median of Rt 66 and gives me an idea of what my honey bees might be foraging on at any given point in the season. These days it seems that wild carrot (aka Queen Anne's Lace) and the chickory are the predominant forage, although I noticed wild carrot blooming in front of the house 2 weeks ago. I'm not sure if the bees really dig that sort of thing. White and blue respectively, I would think that the chicory blue would at least attract their attention.

There are also plenty of some kind of yellow daisy along the highways that are beautiful and prevalent, but I'm not sure how rich a source of nectar or pollen they might be. Nor do I believe that these are native, but rather a planted "wildflower" as part of beautification by the Virginia Highway Commission. There's also a lot of vetch still around as well as a yet unidentified sage with tiny purple flowers that have been strong for at least the last two or three weeks. Here again, I don't know if they get anything from this sort of skerbage. Chuck does weird things like stopping on the edge of a highway when he sees a large meadow filled with a particular kind of forage to observe whether or not there are any honey bees foraging there - nutty kinda shit that only beekeepers would do. Whereas vetch is a wonderful cover crop with underground nodes that bind nitrogen to the soil they don't seem to attract the bees so well, or so Chuck reports.

I think it's safe to say that sometime in the beggining of July is the start of the nectar dearth in the Shenandoah Valley and I suspect will probably continue throughout August; but then speculation like that is the point of this post. I gave the girls a gallon of sugar syrup this morning and this November, after some research, I'll plant one of the varieties of clover that are offered at the Southern States.

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The exquisite itch

October 2015

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