Sunday, November 22, 2009
The soybean, considered self-fertile, can be a significant source of nectar for honey production. However, there are quite a few varieties of soybeans being grown now; and some varieties produce enough nectar for honey bees to produce a surplus of honey, and some do not. The result for the beekeeper is that soybean may be an erratic nectar source, changing from year to year depending upon the varieties of soybeans grown in the area surrounding the bee yard. The variety of nectar rewards offered to the honey bee may explain the difference in results of studies of increases in soybean crop yield for soybeans pollinated by honey bees. Results have been measured from zero to 30 percent increases in soybean yield when honey bees are present for added pollination. A 16 percent increase is the most common finding. Soybean farmers and beekeepers both recognize the importance of the honey bee in helping to produce our food crops. Soybean honey, one of my favorites, is light amber in color and mild in aroma and flavor.