Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Bees Like Sumac

We have good land for sumac.  [Great wiki article on all the varieties of sumac here.] 
Most of the sumac we have is rhus glabra - smooth sumac.   It makes great 'lemonade'.  I've experimented a lot with it.  Read about it here.

Last year we noticed a new patch of sumac that was a little shorter, a little different.  It turned out to be staghorn sumac, rhus typhinus.  The staghorn sumac is blooming right now and the bees are all over it. 

All. Over. It.

This is good!  This means that we've got something to continue the nectar flow for the bees through the summer.   I'm hoping that when the smooth sumac blooms, the bees will be all over it, too.   It will bloom later.   I'll keep you posted.  I've heard that sumac honey is dark and reddish.    When we did our last inspection, I found a little patch of dark red honey on one frame.   I'm thinking it was sumac.  

The nectar flow is the time of year when plants are blooming and producing a lot of nectar for the bees to turn into honey.   The biggest flow is in the spring when the trees are blooming.   Then it slows down in a lot of places.  Most places make honey in the spring, then harvest it, then let the bees build up their own honey stores through the rest of the year to get them through the winter. 

At our place here, we have a lot of honey locusts, tulip trees, and autumn olive.   Then there's a short lull until we have our acres of wild blackberries bloom.  Then a short lull until the white sweet clover and staghorn sumac bloom.   Then, hopefully, the smooth sumac.  Then the goldenrod.   

This means that our little area right here might be pretty ideal for a steady long flow from spring until fall.   Who knew??  I'm watching the bees carefully to see what plants they're working.  


  1. Cool because we have tons of sumac too...for if and when we have bees. ;) We have so many bees all over our clover blooms right now you have to be careful how you walk through the grass. I wish I knew where their hive is...or hives are...

  2. Sumac also makes great fuel for your smoker!
    --Brown County


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