Saturday, September 6, 2008

The Ever Present ..... Sea-lavender

The lavender coloured flat- topped small blossoms found on salt marshes, together with a public information board on the natural worlds points of interest

When the summer weather has turned out to be poor and the beekeeper is faced with empty supers and strong colonies,they can be used to advantage if sites have been found on the heather or sea-lavender to extend the season.

Sea-lavender ( Limonium - Lambs ears/Statice) is known to flower arrangers as a good dried flower, it is also an excellent honey plant. It can be found on the edges of salt marshes often growing alongside another honey yielder the sea aster (Aster tripolium) from July to September. The mud flats on which it is found are subject to high fortnightly spring tides which sometimes in stormy weather cover the plant and cause it to stop yielding nectar for several days until it dries out. The sea breezes on the coast are not to the bees liking and so a sheltered spot, as close to the plant as possible, should be set up. Another danger can be picking up foul brood if an area is popular and like the heather they should be moved in the cooler night to avoid over-heating. Despite this if there is a fine settled spell it yields well, the honey has a delicious soft bitter taste,and valuable stocks have not been wasted. Management is similar to going to the heather with stocks crammed full with sealed brood and headed by a young queen.
BICKERSTAFFS September 2008


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