One of the many things us beekeepers do is grow a lot of flowers. I know every beekeeper or person just getting started into beekeeping has at least thought about what types of flowers they might need in their area. I live down in San Diego and I have my go to flower favorites. My favorites are targeted around a few features.
- Perennial. Will I have to replant every year?
- Frequency of flowering.
- Do the bees like it?
A pretty simple list. But moving ahead here, I’m going to talk about dead heading your flowers. Dead heading your flowers is simply just trimming off any dead bits off of the plant. As a beekeeper, I’m pretty much talking about how we can induce more flowers to grow so our friendly bees have more food on the plant. Once a flower has passed it’s bloom cycle, it will begin to die. At that stage, your best bet is to “dead head” the dying flower head. By doing so, you enable the plant to focus its energy elsewhere and perhaps inspire further blooming of the plant.
How do I dead head? Simply just cut off the flower head about 1/2″-1″ above the nearest leaf grown found beneath the spent flower. Many people then simply discard the flower, but here is a grand idea. Save those cuttings!
Take the cuttings and leave them out somewhere where they will continue to dry out. The reason you want these clippings to dry out is you can then use them in your beehive smoker! Think about it this way, you could pay good money for fuel to burn in the smoker, or you could use some delightful smelling dried flowers for fuel in your smoker. I’ve even seen this stuff for sale as a boutique delightful fuel. From the picture on the left you can see my lavender fuel supply now. I use this stuff every month as I perform my hive inspections.
Well that is it for this quick minute on making your bees happy while make smoker fuel!