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LESSON 6: Nectar and Pollen Plants of the Pacific Northwest

You will be quite surprised at how many plants produce a surplus of nectar and pollen for the bees. For this section we will be focusing on the Pacific Northwest region. For your local region, it is best to research what types of nectar and pollen plants your bees will be visiting and if there is enough to sustain the hive. Remember a bee can travel up to 6 miles to find nectar but they can be more efficient if the plants are nearby.

There are great differences in honeys depending on what type of plants the bees visit. The color and flavors of the honey will vary tremendously from light amber to dark, and mild to strong flavors. Successful beekeepers learn to manage their bees so as to harvest only the best grades of honey. Some plants that bees visit will cause a lower grade of honey to be produced with inferior flavor.

There are many factors that determine the nectar flow of a plant. Soil types, irrigation practice, quantity of rainfall, elevation, temperature and wind all have huge impacts on how much nectar a plant will give off. The more nectar there is from a plant means more honey to the bee, so finding good plants that have a surplus of nectar is important.

Main Honey Plants in the Pacific Northwest Sorted By Month

  1. bee-on-raspberryMustard - March, pollen
  2. Oregon Grape - April, pollen and nectar
  3. Cotton Wood - April, pollen
  4. Willow - April, pollen and nectar is warm
  5. Cherry Tree - April, nectar and mainly pollen
  6. *Maple Large Leaf - April-May, pollen and surplus nectar
  7. Deciduous Fruit Trees - April-May, mainly pollen
  8. *Poison Oak - May, nectar surplus
  9. Madrene - May, nectar
  10. Manzanita - May, pollen and nectar
  11. *Vine Maple - May, surplus
  12. Cabbage - May, pollen and nectar
  13. Crimson Clover - May, pollen and nectar
  14. *Snowberry (Buckbrush) - May-June, surplus
  15. *Cascara - May-June, nectar
  16. Hairy Vetch - May-June, surplus nectar
  17. Raspberry - June, surplus
  18. Thistle - June, nectar and pollen
  19. *Blackberry - June-July, nectar and pollen
  20. White Clover - June-July, pollen and nectar
  21. Dill (oil) - July, pollen and nectar
  22. Fire Weed - July-August, no pollen and variable nectar

Honey Plants in Eastern Pacific Northwest (Dryer Regions)

  1. Dandelion - Spring, pollen and nectar
  2. *Alfalfa - June-August, pollen and nectar
  3. Red Clover - June-August, pollen and nectar
  4. *White Clover - June-August, pollen and nectar
  5. Mint - August-September, pollen and nectar
  6. *Sage - September, pollen and nectar

* Indicates best surplus sources of nectar

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