Spanish Needle (Bidens alba) is a wildflower that blooms year round in South Florida. It is a source of both pollen and nectar for bees. Many people consider it a weed because it can spread very quickly and has seeds that are hard to remove from clothing and pet’s fur. I used to consider it a weed too until I started beekeeping and realized it is a great wildflower for them.
Bee on Spanish Needle flower
2 bees on Spanish Needle flowers (The second one is close to the bottom of the photo.)
Spanish Needle growing in my backyard
There is an area in my backyard full of it, but I resist cutting it because I see my bees and many other native foragers enjoying the pollen and nectar this plant provides.
Our front yard has a collection of succulents and cacti. Many of these flower throughout the year providing a nice source of nectar for our bees.
We have a large Kalanchoe marnieriana plant that produces pink-orange flowers full of nectar.
We also have several aloe vera plants that bloom. These have longer pink flowers which also provide a source of nectar. Here are two bees foraging.
Nothing beats the joy of seeing your bees finding food right from your own yard.
While outside preparing some honey to feed to one of our hives that had low stores, this girl landed on my sticky finger for a drink of honey. You can even see she had been out collecting pollen as she had some yellow pollen in her pollen basket. When she was done I watched as she flew right back to her hive.
It has been a mild December for us here is South Florida. Our hives have been reduced down to one brood chamber, but the bees are active and foraging. So far our average day time temperatures have been 77-80° F (25-27° C). With our temperate climate there is always some type of flower in bloom year round. Right now Florida Pusley (Richardia scabra), also commonly called Mexican Clover, is blooming everywhere. Many people consider it a weed, but its small white-purplish flowers are a good source of pollen and nectar for bees.
This worker bee was foraging in my backyard.
You can see the white fuzzy pollen all over her head and she already has some yellow pollen in her pollen basket.
Here you can actually see that her wings are damaged, but she had no problem flying from flower to flower.
Off she goes again! Loaded with pollen.