What’s in Alaska Honey? Part I – Trees

If you happen to know an Alaskan beekeeper, you may have noticed that they are staring at the tops of trees as of late. The reason is, many of Alaska’s deciduous trees are sources of pollen and nectar for honeybees, and right now is prime time!

There are several types of pollen out there right now. The most obvious is that of the various willow species.

Willow flowers and pollen in Anchorage, April 10

Willow flowers and pollen in Anchorage, April 10

There are other species that also contribute – Birch, cottonwood, aspen, to name a few. All provide pollen, and some nectar, to varying degrees.

One thing you probably won’t find in Alaska is willow honey. While bees will bring in quite a bit of nectar, it is consumed quite rapidly as colonies try to grow rapidly. By the time the bees have enough honey that a beekeeper would notice, the tree nectar will have been overtaken by a number of other sources.

Take a look in the tops of trees, and see if you see some honeybees up there foraging.