Nectar Flow

It’s August in Northern California and the nectar flow from the Yellow Starthistle is on… In fact, some beekeepers have already begun extracting honey. For those beekeepers trying to make pure Starthistle honey it’s important to have their bees in locations where there are few other nectar producing plants. Starthistle nectar and honey have a distinct green tint that is visible in both the cells of the hive and the jars on the shelves.

Last week, Rob Snyder and I were in the field with Shannon Wooten to sample some of his hives. He took us to a few of his locations in Shasta County to get an idea of what his Varroa and Nosema levels were like. The video above is from the Wooten family ranch where Shannon told us he grew up us a kid learning to raise livestock, fish, and hunt. He also told us that it had been quite some time since he had seen a nectar flow like the one happening in August of this year.

In the past, I have seen a lot of bees in orchards for pollination but rarely have I had the chance to work with a beekeeper and his bees in the middle of a nectar flow in a location as sweet as the Wooten’s ranch. I still haven’t figured out which I enjoyed more; seeing the bees work the nectar flow or watching the quiet smile appear on Shannon’s face as Starthistle nectar dripped out of frame after frame…

Starthistle Honey
Honey from Yellow Starthistle Nectar

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