Willow Trees as a Food Source for Honeybees
Willow trees are water loving trees found in low-lying moist areas. The classic willow tree that people generally think of as a “weeping willow” is actually a non-native European tree called the White Crack Willow. Native willow trees are upright and do not “weep”. The White Crack Willow blooms later than the native varieties, generally in May-June.
Native willow species in Indiana include the Black Willow and the Pussy Willow. The Black willow is a thin upright tree with long, narrow, serrated leaves that grow along streams or on wet, swampy ground. The Pussy Willow is generally more shrub-like, but can grow to the size of a small bushy tree if left undisturbed. The native willows bloom anytime between February and April.
A stand of willow trees worked by an adequate number of bees can produce between 100 and 150 pounds of honey and nearly 1500 pounds of pollen if early spring temperatures are high enough for the bees to forage.