Knapweed Honey

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by Ray, Aug 4, 2013.

  1. Ray

    Ray Member

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    2 snips from ApisBee:

    No in the Okanagan it is so dry that by mid August there is no nectar coming in except from knapweed which has a bitter sap in the stems and is in the nectar also causing the honey to be bitter tasting.


    Here in the Okanagan we have knapweed that produces a light colored honey that has a pleasant aroma but when tasted it first tastes sweet and mild in flavor but once the sugars have gone your left with a bitter aftertaste in your mouth.

    Second Opinions? Third Opinions? I should have one of my own in a few days.
    I have been grinning for weeks, up until now, with several acres of knapweed growing near my hives. The field south of me has a pink cast, there are so many of them.
     
  2. ApisBees

    ApisBees Active Member

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    It's not all bad. The knapweed will loose a lot of its bitterness if it is stored in buckets or holding tanks and aloud to vent for a month or two. Or blend it with other honeys but no more than 20% knapweed I can still taste it in the honey but most consumers wont be able to tell. If you are unaware of the knapweed flavor, touch your finger on the plant stem and lick your finger. Pull the early honeys out of the brood chambers and let the bees keep the knapweed honey to over winter on.
     

  3. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    we have any number of bad tasting honeys here... bitterweed, broomweed and snow on the prairie are three that come quickly to mind.... some folks are even slight put aside by tallow honey which you can collect in great volume down on the Texas Gulf Coast in almost any of the old rice growing areas <and it seem most of the packers do pretty much what Apis bee describes above and blend in other stuff until the taste is not noticeable and at about at the same ratio Apisbee describes. the concept of 'bad' honey is very difficult to explain to new beekeepers who almost always think all honey is good. after about 2 years of experience they ALL have some experience in capturing at least one of the above list and then they know exactly what your are talking about.
     
  4. ApisBees

    ApisBees Active Member

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    Some beekeeper prefure to extract all the honey at one time during the year so the different honeys are blended during the extraction process. Others will pull honey off after different flows, label and sell them as specalty honeys at a premium price. After a few years you will cet to know the honeys from your area and how the best way to market them. Be aware that every once in a while a nectar source that in most years dosn't effect the honey will because conditions where favorable. Also a neighbor will plant a dirrerent crop resulting in a change to the taste of the honey.
     
  5. Ray

    Ray Member

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    OMG! [​IMG]Bitter doesn't describe that awful taste!

    [​IMG] Is there ANYway to make this stuff palatable?
     
  6. ApisBees

    ApisBees Active Member

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    Knapweed has that special taste that has to be experienced and can't be described.
    Pull the good honey out of the brood chamber and put the knapweed honey for the bees to winter on, they don't seem to mind the taste. If you are using standard brood supers and Dadant for honey wait another couple of weeks and place all the brood in the bottom super, pull the full frames of caped honey to extract and remove any queen excluder and leave the super of Knapweed for them for winter.
    And see post 2
     
  7. Ray

    Ray Member

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    Thanks, ApisBees
    This is probably the third strike, for my excursion into 'Unlimited Broodnest'.
    The Knapweed has been blooming for a month, maybe more, and the population is plentiful. If it wasn't for that terrible taste, the plants would be a Godsend.
     
  8. ApisBees

    ApisBees Active Member

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    We don't get much from the knapweed any more. The government and researchers in there attemps to control the spread and stop it from killing the native grasses introduced 2 beetles, one that eats the roots and another that feeds on the seeds. The other thing that will kill it is water it doesn't like to grow where there is regular irrigation. But before the beadle release it was good for 80 to 100 lbs. per colony.