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  • Oil Seed Rape in October

  • General Q&A, Bee chat and only Bee chat please
General Q&A, Bee chat and only Bee chat please
 #4935  by stuthehandyman
 04 Oct 2019, 09:59
I've only just registered for this forum and this is my first "post" so here goes!
Towards the end of September I was out cycling a few miles from where I live in Shropshire and I noticed a field of bright yellow flowers. Upon closer inspection I was able to confirm that it was actually oil seed rape and it was covered in bees! Is there a new species of "winter" OSR that flowers at this time of the year? I hope my bees don't discover it otherwise any stores they make will be set solid in the combs by Christmas!
 #4936  by Patrick
 04 Oct 2019, 11:06
Hi Stu

Welcome to the Forum!

The brassicas (which includes Oilseed rape, mustard, charlock and a host of native wild plants) are a nightmare to ID in the field and you may need to see the seed pods - which is only of much use for a few weeks a year!

I would make a guess what you saw was an autumn ground cover crop of mustard. They are often planted to give soil cover, a break crop and cover for game birds like pheasants on shoots. Not surprised bees are working it - they probably think its Christmas early! Mustard is often the source of un-seasonal fields of yellow flowers turning up in mid Decembers etc. I wouldn't worry too much about it clogging frames but maybe worth keeping in mind if hefting hives there may be some residual crystalised stores giving a slightly heavier feel. Sure you will be fine.

Have you fed your bees already or is it still in progress?
 #4940  by stuthehandyman
 04 Oct 2019, 15:54
Hi Patrick,

Thanks for your prompt reply but it was/is definitely OSR. It's standing about 1 metre high and the smell is very distinctive.
Since they closed the sugar beet factory near to where I live a few years, a lot of the farmers changed over from growing beet to growing OSR so I'm very familiar with it. The first year it happened I suddenly got a crop of honey at the end of May. I'm usually very happy about it and the flavour is lovely but of course I do have to extract it fairly promptly!
I finished feeding my bees at the end of September but they are still on some sort of a honey run. Fortunately the flowering OSR is about 6 miles away from where I live as the bee flies!
I'd like to attach some photos of the October OSR complete with bees foraging on it if I could but the "insert image" icon doesn't seem to do anything.
 #4941  by Chrisbarlow
 04 Oct 2019, 20:57
I agree with Patrick, it will most probably be charlock or mustard. they do look the same, exactly the same, and smell the same, No farmers would be growing OSR this time of year not even as a cover crop. There certainly isnt enough time for the crop to turn to seed and then harvest. You are right of course, this is a speculative comment, to be sure, ask the farmer.

As for the insert image, yes it is annoying, its meant to link to an image, saved on another server. You cannot save it directly on yo BBKA servers.
 #4942  by Patrick
 04 Oct 2019, 21:18
No worries Stu - it’s pretty much the same plant either way. Rather like linseed or flax- actually exactly the same plant but depends if grown for fibre or seed.

My bees are also still definitely on the lookout for nectar and flying even in quite poor weather. I’m also still feeding, which is pretty late for me but so be it.
 #4943  by Alfred
 05 Oct 2019, 12:27
I've seen tons of autumn crocus about,and the bulbs I'm supposed to have planted for spring bloom have started to sprout in their netting.
 #4954  by AdamD
 07 Oct 2019, 11:39
There has been concerns written in the past about Ivy setting in the comb and then the bees can't consume it over winter. I've never had that problem; although ivy sets like concrete, bees are still able to use it and come spring it's pretty well gone and the bees are fine. I see no reason why the same shouldn't apply IF you do have OSR set in the combs over winter.
 #4955  by Patrick
 07 Oct 2019, 13:29
If they can utilise candy, they should be able to utilise granulated stores. But I have occasionally had "sucked dry" combs in the past with unhydrated crystals in them.