Beekeeping in the Florida Panhandle: if I were a beekeeper

Glenda Wilson

If I were a beekeeper, I would want to have something blooming each month  for my bees.     

So, how would I do this? There are many flowers, both native and non-native, that bees love.    

There are many trees which the bees can utilize for nectar. As a beekeeper, I would not have a lot of time to weed, fertilize, plant, etc.  

Thus, I think trees might be one answer. I would also utilize flowers as necessary.  

So let us look at what trees are blooming and when. Notice a lot of these trees are native and thus do not take a lot of care, once established.  

February                           Cherry, Apple, & Plum

March                             Red Chokeberry 

April                               May Haw, Galberry, Possum Haw, Youpon & (Azaleas) 

May                               Galberry, Possum Haw, Youpon, 

June                               Inkberry, So. Magnolia, Red Bay

July                               Palmetto

August                                           Beauty Berry, Loblolly Bay

September                                     Beauty Berry

September, Oct., and Nov.             Wildflowers and herbs

Planting these trees would provide nectar and pollen needed by honey bees almost year long.  December and January may be the only two months requiring you to feed your bees.  

Fall wildflowers such as Golden Rod, Narrow Leaf Sunflower, Bidens/Beggers Ticks–all of these are perennial, thus plant only once.

Fall blooming herbs such as Bee Balm, Yarrow Garlic Chives, Borage, Rosemary are perennials, too. In late summer & fall think thistles, salvias, and Bluebeard.  

Then considering letting your garden mustard flower grow which would feed the bees for quite a while.  

Bees feed for both nectar and pollen. Nectar is for energy and pollen for food (nutrients plus protein).  

Some pollen is transferred during  feeding and this is pollination, which–without pollination–the plants could not live.

Glenda Wilson graduated from the University of Missouri with a B.S. in physical therapy. She has been a master gardener for 19 years. She is a member of the Chipley Garden Club (past V-P and Treasurer) and presently serves as chairman of the Joyce Carter Butterfly Garden at Falling Waters State Park. Her home garden is listed as a pollinator garden by the Herb Society of America’s Green Bridges Program.