Beehive Buzz: Summer Dearth

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Partridge pea Photo: John Bradford, Florida Native Plant Society.

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Wild bergamot. Photo: Almost Eden Nursery, Merryville, LA

On the 21st of June 2023, Carl sent this email, “The tallow flow appeared [to] slow this year. The last 10 days have really picked up. The tallow and clover are finished. Any idea what's [the nectar] source at this point?”

After the tallowtree, clover, dewberries, and privet have finished blooming, beekeepers are in the season of the year called the “dearth” when there are fewer flowering plants. This dearth ends in the fall when goldenrod and some other wildflowers are in bloom.

To answer Carl’s question directly about summer sources, AHA consulted the website of the Xerces Society (XS), a conservation organization for pollinators and beneficial insects. XS published a plant list for pollinators for the southeastern United States, including Louisiana Native Plants for Pollinators & Beneficial Insects: Southeast.

This list includes 50 different plants species, and the XS staff have a few favorites on this list which bloom in the summer:

  • Asclepias perrenis, Aquatic milkweed
  • Asclepias tuberosa, Butterfly milkweed
  • Cephalanthus occidentalis, Buttonbush
  • Chamaecrista faciculata, Partridge pea
  • Cirsium altissimum, Tall thistle
  • Echinancea purpurea, Purple coneflower
  • Monarda fistulosa, Wild bergamot
  • Pycanthemum tenoifolium, Narrowleaf mountain mint
  • Verbesina virginica, Frostweed

Sometimes these lists fail to mention plants unique to Louisiana so feel free to share your favorite bee-friendly summer wildflower with Beehive Buzz.

If you want to contact “Beehive Buzz,” please send your questions and pictures to Keith Hawkins, Area Horticulture Agent (AHA), 318.264.2448 or . Also, you can be on the “beemail” email list by emailing your request to the address above.

“This work has been supported, in part, by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Renewable Resources Extension Act Award, Accession Number 1011417.”

“Mention of trade names or commercial products and services in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute endorsement by Louisiana State University AgCenter.”

6/29/2023 4:06:03 PM
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