Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Jewel Weed Plant Leaving Stripe On Honeybees

Do you keep honeybees? If so you may have notice this stripe on your returning foraging bees. This is from the Jewel weed plant. The part of the plant that produces pollen is called the Anther. When the bee enters Jewel weed to collect nectar the Anther rubs the top of the bee. Leaving this white stripe. As the bee goes from flower to flower the pollen from one plant is mixed with the next which pollinates the plants.

As a beekeeper I have learned to watch the entrance of the hives for clues to what the bees are working at that time. This is usually judged by watching for pollen on the bees legs. The color of the pollen can indicate what species of plant. There are some plants that just seem not to produce pollen but the bees still get nectar. One thing is for sure I can always tell when the girls (bees) are working the Jewel weed when they come back with a stripe.

The Jewel weed is a very important plant. It has several uses. All of the uses are from the juice that is within the stem of the plant. Collect a handful and crushing it in your hand then rub the area. If you contact poison ivy and Jewel weed is around crush the stems and rub the area where ivy contacted. This will prevent the rash from starting in most cases. For bug bites do the same but repeat applying every 15 minutes for an hour and itching will  stop and swelling will not occur. The yellow Jewel weed is not as effective for skin irritations.

 *Poison Ivy

 *Bee Stings

 *Nettle Stings


So this is a great plant to be familiar with. Here are a few pictures for those of you who are unsure what the plant looks like. Remember the yellow Jewel weed is least effective.

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