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Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Butler / Moshannon Pa
Itís goldenrod time again
Early September in Pa is a great time for honeybees to forage Canadian goldenrod. Hives that have been in the loafing mode come alive again when the goldenrod blooms. Itís a great source for both pollen and nectar.
I was stacking firewood 100 yards from the beeyard this morning when I got my first whip of the ď smell ď. When bees gather GR nectar, the moisture content is about 50%. Bees will fan the cells filled with raw nectar with their wings, 24/7, to dry the honey to below 17-18%, at which time theyíll cap the cell with beeswax. The smell of drying goldenrod is unforgettable....some say it smells bad,like sweaty socks, while others ( like me), say it has a cheesy or spicy smell. The finished honey is quite dark, but doesnít taste anything like it smelled when it was drying.
I stopped and watched the forringing bees returning to the hives. They were packing heavy, carrying 50% their body weight in nectar. They had rough landings at the hive entrance, some even bouncing a little when they touched down. The bees toting pollen will have bright yellow balls of pollen on their legs when they return.
Other than Octoberís aster bloom, this goldenrod bloom is the last call for honey bees before winter. They know it, and will work every daylight hour to pack their hives before the cold weather sets in.