Not-So-Golden Side of Goldenrod

This time of year, honeybees are feasting on this nectar-rich plant when available. Their opinion of its golden goodness may not be shared by us humans.

For starters, goldenrod nectar can cause a “locker room” smell in the hive. Additionally, if the resulting honey is primarily from goldenrod nectar, it might have a strong flavor that many folks don’t prefer.

If you have an undesirable smell about your hive(s), don’t be alarmed. Beyond not panicking, there are a couple things to consider:

  • If the smell is quite strong and undesirable, be sure your hive isn’t infected with American Foulbrood (AFB). The USDA’s Agricultural Research Division has a great publication about it.
  • Assuming the source of the smell isn’t AFB, and if you pull honey from the hive, give it the critical taste test. If it doesn’t please your palate, you may want to consider leaving it on the hive for overwintering or marking it to be fed back to bees.

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