June 2014

Northwest Arkansas Beekeepers Association

June Meeting 2014

Fayetteville Arkansas

7 June, 2014

Club President: Tom Nichols

Vice President: Mark Eaton

Treasurer: Nancy Kahanak

Secretary: Brad Keck

BEE FACTS: One teaspoon of honey packs enough energy for a single bee to fly around the world.

Once a year the NWABA takes the show on the road for a field trip to an Apiary with local heroes and experts. We are treated to a visit to a local Apiary and some hands on instruction. This year the Bakker Family has been kind enough to invite us to their home and Apiary. We are fortunate to have the chance to learn about bees and the numerous plant species that the Bakker’s have planted.

Some comments on the field trip to the Bee Garden of the Bakker’s.


1. Have in several periods of Spring, Summer and Autumn enough nectar and pollen production for the bee hives and a reduced need to support them with water:sugar solution.

2. Produce trees and plants that give a low crystallization level of the honey after 8 to 12 month period after harvest, and with preference yellow golden honey color.

3. Have resilient plants that can handle the dryer conditions of our summers that can have a limited amount of rain.

4. Be able to have if possible in the same year 2 blooming periods from 2 batches of plants one in the spring (beginning of the summer) and autumn.

5. Have plants that will bloom for extended periods (4 to 6 weeks).

6. Have plants that withstand a harsh winter period.

Plants that have proven to respect most of above specs and have proven themselves are:

Ø Anise & Giant Hyssop (Agastache rugosa & Agastache foeniculum),

Ø Blue weed or Vipor Bugloss = (Echium vulgare).

Ø Star flower = (Borago officinalis).

Ø Catnip = (Nepeta cataria).

Plants that are in testing at the moment:

o Milkweed = (Asclepias syriaca)

o Purple tansy = (Phacelia Tansy)

o BeeBee tree or Evodia = (Tetradium daniellii)

o Chaste tree = (Vitex agnus castus)

Agastache rugosa , Giant Korrean hyssop & Agastache foeniculum, Anise hyssop. Perennial.

o Agastache from Greek words agan meaning much and stachys meaning flower stalks.

o 4 to 5 feet tall and blooming in mid-summer to begin autumn.

o Native to China, Vietnam, Laos, Korea and Japan. Provide full sun, moist, well-drained soil.

o Attractive to bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.

o Divide clumps in spring and easily grown with low maintenance. No insect or diseases.

o Support the branches if they become tall (good fertilization can do that).

o When bloomed out cut the branches and it will give a second shorter bloom.

o Both species tolerate more moisture and humidity,

o Leaves used fresh or dry to flavor teas.

o Used as a bee plant in commercial operations.

o Agastache plants have different essential volatile oils to attract bees.

o Bees seem to be able to detect different volatile oil chemotypes of plants.

o Nasonov pheromone (mix essential oils) bees spray nectar source to direct other bees.

o Resistant to deer.

Phacelia tanacetifolia, Purple tansy, Annual.

Ø Bloom time: Spring and summer. Cover crop, or "bee crop," with nectar-rich flowers.

Ø Relative of borage family. Sow in April to June.

Ø Phacelia grows to 23 cm (9") in full sun or part shade. Planted early, needs cool weather.

Ø Needs alkaline soils to grow well.

Ø Plant in fall to establish well, plant makes a tap root to endure hot dry periods.

Ø In top 20 honey-producing flowers. Very rich in both nectar and pollen.

Ø Makes an excellent cut flower and has a long vase-life and strong stems.

Ø Not toxic but skin contact can cause rash.

Ø Does self-seed very easily.

Asclepiadaceae: Fascinating family of 250 genera (families) and 2000 species (very similar characteristics) many tropical. Annual.

v Some are toxic. Monark butterfly have developed immunity and store toxic compounds. The yellow black coloring of Monark against predators.

v Most insects feeding on milkweeds have this yellow black striping or marking.

v No toxins in the nectar, like is the case of toxic sumac or poison ivy.

v Asclepias syriaca flower is blamed to hurt the bees but no real proof.

v Milkweed can give exceptional honey crops.

v Family has high sugar content in nectar of 48% and >95% of sugars are sucrose.

Beebee tree, Evodia tree or Tetradium daniellii.

· Seeds should be stratified for best germination results.

· Full sun, days to maturity 5-7 years. Seedlings need lot of water, when trees are mature they have good drought resistance.

· Spacing: 40-50 ft = 13-17 m spacing. Size at maturity: 35-50 ft spread about 40 ft.

· Young trees sprouts very susceptible to freeze damage. Difficult to get a good adult tree in NWA within the 5 to 7 years. Freezing the top buds off will stunt the tree.

Robinia pseudoacacia, black locust, genus Robinia leguminous family. Perennial.

· Native SE USA.

· Height of 70 feet, with trunk 3-4 feet diameter. Spreads by underground shoots.

· Flowers: May or June. Blooming period is 10 days.

· Black locust is a major honey plant in the E-US, in France source of acacia monofloral honey.

· The wood is extremely hard, resistant to rot and very durable due to Flavonoids.

· Locust named by Jesuit missionaries, tree supported St. John in wilderness.

Vitex agnus-castus, Vitex, Chaste Tree, native of Mediterranean region. Perennial.

Ø Tropical and sub-tropical flowering plants. Vitex, name derived from Latin vieo, meaning to weave or tie up, a reference to use of Vitex agnus-castus in basketry.

Ø Vitex appreciated by beekeepers for long bloom from start June to end July.

Ø During the summer months, Vitex is one of few plants with nectar.

Chaste tree can become 10 to 15 feet tall tree, bush.

Ø Honey of excellent honey quality. Is believed to have sedative effects.

Ø Athenian women used the leaves in their beds “to cool the heat of lust” during the feasts of Ceres. In ancient times it was believed to be an anti aphrodisiac,

Ø It requires full sun or partial shade with well-drained soil. Hardy to USDA Zone 7.

Borage (Borago officinalis), starflower, Annual. Native to Mediterranean.

· The leaves are edible, also commercially cultivated for Borage seed oil.

· Grows to height of 60–100 cm (2.0–3.3 ft), Blue flower dominant over the white flower.

· Flowering season is long, from June to Sept. In milder climates, will bloom continuously.

· Prefers full sun, will tolerate partial shade and rich, moist soil. Add a lot of compost.

· Choose a site that is well protected from wind.

Nepeta cataria or catnip, Perennial Mint family. Well known for it's ability to get cat's high. It is native to Europe & Asia. Approximately 250 species of Catnip:

o White flowers, grows up to 3 feet.

o Most cats enjoy. Produces essential oil called nepetalactone. Nepetalactone causes hallucinogenic effect. Similar to LSD or marijuana. Cat get high for 5-10 minutes.

o Many wild animals also enjoy it. Cats can smell 1 PPB.

o Nepetalactone is 10x more effective repelling mosquitos than DEET.

o Also repels cockroaches rats & mice.

o Catnip tends to have a sedative effect on humans. It is most often drunk as a tea.

o Useful for upset stomach, treat headaches, coughing, insomnia & smallpox.

o Pregnant women should avoid catnip.

o Bloom from mid June to first frost and blooming periods up to 3 months.

o Catnip produces little nectar with low sugar content (22%) but bees like the plants.

o The plant only produces nectar and no pollen.

Echium vulgare, Viper’s Bugloss, Blue weed. Snake herb from Borage family. Annual.

Ø Native to South & Central Europe. Tall with blue flowers.

Ø Fall bloom provides nectar for bees for overwintering.

Ø Protection of the nectar inside the flower from vaporization or flushing away.

Ø For 8 weeks stable nectar source with nectar flow throughout the day.

Ø Concentration of sugars varies from 22.6 - 48.3% depending soil quality, not rain.

Ø Yellow gold color with lemon characteristics. High in fructose, slow to crystallize.

Ø In honey tastings among most favorites.

Ø Pollen contains Pyrrolizidine Alkaloids (PA) which should be avoided by humans.

Ø PA’s of natural origin and secondary metabolites for protection against herbivores. Most honey have certain levels of PA’s. Heating or putting honey in hot tea or coffee will not neutralize the alkaloids.

At the start of the meeting we had 47 people in attendance.