Saturday, September 8, 2012

Stinky Bee Yard? Blame the Goldenrod

You can certainly tell when fall is in the air.  The goldenrod flowers are in bloom and boy does the bee yard ever stink.

It's true that flowers give honey its flavour so don't be put off by the smell of goldenrod in the yard as the bees process it.  The final product doesn't taste anything like the smell.

What does goldenrod smell like?  If you put your nose to a flower it has a faint but pleasant fragrance.  But when the nectar is being processed by the bees there's a very distinct and unpleasant smell that comes out of the hives.

It smells like stinky feet.  Image a hot day with lots of walking and you're wearing your shoes with no socks.  Then you pop off your shoes and within a few moments you've cleared out the room.  Everyone complains.

That's what golden rod smells like.

So don't panic and think you've got American Foul Brood (AFB) if it's fall and you get a whiff of something stinky.

Goldenrod is a plant native to North America and it grows abundantly in meadows and alongside roads and highways.  If you're lucky sometimes you'll get what I call a bird poop gift--a bird has eaten a flower seed and pooped it out in your garden where it catches and grows.  I have a goldenrod plants now in both my front and back yard.

I have to say that goldenrod honey is my favourite flavour of all the honeys flowers and bees produce.

5 comments:

Kat said...

Achoo! They are very beautiful plants, but reek havoc on my sinuses. I did not know that about the bad smell while the nectar is being processed. Interesting.

Brad said...

Well that explains it! I was collecting honey yesterday and thought that it was time to throw out my old boots!!!
Thanks for the information Barb!

bee control pittsburgh said...

i have been to a bee garden and i have tried getting the honey's on it..it was a pretty great adventure to me..

Creative Jamie Hume said...

Great article! thanks for posting.
Golden Rod is a medicinal plant. Could it be that it is cleansing for the Bees in some way? It is an anti-inflammitory, helps with infections and healing.
It seems at first glance that many or perhaps even all of the Bees favourite pollens come from medicinal plants.
Perhaps that slinkiness has a cause that is especially important? Or no?

Beekeeper Barbara said...

Creative Jamie Hume: It makes sense since the food that any animal eats provides nutrition and benefits. In New Zealand there's the tea tree plant and the honey from this plant is so beneficial that is rated as medical grade and sold to hospitals for honey bandages to treat ulcers.
Honey itself is antibacterial and antifungal so that combined with the benefit of golden rod would make for a healthy sweet treat.

A friend of mine makes golden rod jelly. It's delicious.

I believe the stink is from yeasts in the golden rod honey.