We always return from an A2B2 (Ann Arbor Backyard Beekeepers) meeting or SEMBA event in a state of great excitement but insufficient energy to take our notes and write a blog post. We intend to get to it the next day… perhaps the day after next… surely in the following week until another month has passed and it is time for the next meeting/event and too late for the previous information to be timely. Sigh.
Nor have we kept up with our survey of bee plants near us. Things have bloomed and gone without mention by or sometimes notice from us. Not so the goldenrod. This time of year it dominates our property out back as well as the roadsides and fields around us. A bright, yellow scumble over the grassy canvas. A good thing too. From the A2B2 we hear that some beeks report hives without adequate amounts of capped honey to make it through the winter, probably due to this year’s atypical weather. This means that the goldenrod bloom could be the last chance the bees have to gather adequate food for the winter. And even then it would not be possible without adequate rain for the plants to make nectar instead of just pollen.
The sight of so much goldenrod also suggests that we have been a bit foolish in our gleeful observations of other blooms in patches. A hive of, say, forty thousand bees may have about ten thousand foragers out collecting food. That suggests that the echinacea in our flower beds, which the bees seem to like, may be a welcome snack and part of a balanced diet for the bees but will not be a major contributor to their larder. Likewise for the dogsbane and jewelweed growing alongside the driveway. This is why the survey of bee plants should cover a two mile radius.