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Collect your own nectar

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  • Peter Bernhardt
    Dear Sam: I know of no source for flower nectars. Have they considered buying jars of raw honey and diluting it? If you find a competent and truthful
    Message 1 of 2 , Sep 4, 2012
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      Dear Sam:

      I know of no source for flower nectars.  Have they considered buying jars of raw  honey and diluting it?  If you find a competent and truthful apiarist he can tell you what his bees foraged on, in season.  That's the best I can suggest.

      The other option is to go to flowers that produce a lot of nectar and isolate them in the bud by covering them with bridal veil or some other fine mesh to keep out other foragers.  When the flowers open the nectar can be removed by variously calibrated micro-capillary tubes (1 vs. 5 vs. 10 etc. micro liters).  Start on something that makes oodles of nectar and remains in bloom for much of the year.  Why not use orange blossoms or some other citrus tree?  

      The question remains as to what mosquitos will stomach?  Can they digest sucrose (certain birds can't)?  Consequently, some flowers produce only fructose and glucose for animals with limited digestive systems.  Then there are the weird sugars like melizitose, xylose and lactose (lactose is quite rare and controversial) that may poison certain consumers.  Please also remember that the nectar of many flowers may contain as many as 22 individual amino acids.  Wasps, for example, may really prefer a nectar rich in proline.  For a more general discussion of what is in nectar, and why, see my book "The Rose's Kiss; A Natural History of Flowers."

      It seems to me that the thing to do is first find a lab that will analyze the flower nectar or honey.  What is in it?  You don't want to feed the little darlings something that will upset them, now do you?  I know of one such lab in Utah that will do both sugars and amino acids but such full analyses are expensive.  Still interested?  Write Dr. Gary Booth <gary_booth@...>.

      Peter Bernhardt     
    • Pierre Martineau
      Dear Sam: Thinking about Peter Berhardt s comment:
      Message 2 of 2 , Sep 4, 2012
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        Dear Sam:

        Thinking about Peter Berhardt's comment:

        <<
        I know of no source for flower nectars. Have they considered buying jars of raw honey and diluting it? If you find a competent and truthful apiarist he can tell you what his bees foraged on, in season. That's the best I can suggest.
        >>

        I am wondering whether Orange Blossom Water ("Eau de Fleur d'Oranger") or Rose Water ("Eau de Rose"), both commercially available, might be potential candidates. I do not know if they still qualify as "nectar" after the processing they are subjected to, so I apologize if this is totally irrelevant.

        Best,

        Pierre Martineau
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