Clues to Nectar Flow

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by randerin, Sep 5, 2012.

  1. randerin

    randerin New Member

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    Other than an uptick in flowers, are there visual (or otherwise) clues that a nectar flow is starting, ongoing, improving? :?:
     
  2. Noronajo

    Noronajo New Member

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    Bees seem to be zipping in and out of the hive with a sense of extreme urgency-it looks like the entire hive is coming and going at the same time. If you got in their flight path, they'd bounce right off your head!
     

  3. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Heavy traffic can be a good indicator.
    I have just been fooled big time on this very issue. I have seen goldenrod in bloom for about a month now, it's beginning to end. Aster is starting to bloom as well. These are usually the last flow we have up here. The traffic at my hives has seemed normal but when I went thru a dozen of 'em yesterday I got a surprise. Almost no growth in the last month. Any frames with just foundation that I put in a month ago have hardly been drawn. No additional stores built up either.
    My guess is that while goldenrod has been in bloom, it was too dry and did not provide a flow. It makes sense because I rarely saw honey bees on the goldenrod except where I work. The bees are all over it there. Then it dawned on me, they irrigate the blueberries and the goldenrod in the rows thrived. :shock:
    This will be the first time since I have kept bees where there is almost no fall flow. Good thing I checkerboard and saved up boxes of capped honey cause I believe I will surely need them. That, and I better start checking on the price of sugar.
     
  4. randerin

    randerin New Member

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    Interestingly, only AFTER I installed a hive in my backyard did I start looking at potential nectar sources... There is a large (1 1/2 acre cultivated area about 300 feet north of me. Looks like they are raising tomatoes and maybe (potatos)?. Then 1/2 mile west of me is a good size nursery that grows perennials, annuals, and shrubery. Lot's of goldenrod blooming here now. The bees have a very definite flight plan that points in the direction of these potential sources.

    I would suppose that cultivated/irrigated nectar sources could account for good hive activity, despite the dry dry conditions we are experiencing in this area.
     
  5. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I watch traffic and how much feed mine are taking (I know, that awful sugar water). But this summer it was taking them a week to use up a quart of sugar water. Now they are bringing in pollen, but are going through a quart of 1:1 about every 2 days, and on the hive with the new queen, they drained their jar in 1 day. So I'm thinking there is pollen - ragweed and goldenrod, but except for what I water, not much nectar. My vitex and butterfly bushes may be it for nectar.
     
  6. litefoot

    litefoot New Member

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    I've wondered if the alfalfa all around me has better flow when the flowers bolt before the first cutting or after the subsequent cuttings later in the year or maybe it's all the same.
     
  7. Daniel Y

    Daniel Y New Member

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    I watch the activity at the hive entrance. lots of bees means lots of work. Not necessarily nectar work. I also watch for how many are bringing in pollen. My bees seem to do most of this in the morning hours.
    No pollen means they are bringing in either nectar, water or nothing.

    My final confirmation is when i look in the hive and see if any more comb is getting filled. I have started to get pretty good at guesstimating what I will find. Earlier this year when I really had no clue I got a pleasant surprise. I know my bees had been very busy but no idea what that might mean. after one week I checked and they had filled a deep body with nectar. I didn't realize they could go it that fast. SInce then I have had a med super on that they managed to get 75% full and have done nothing but hold steady. It sort of stinks cause they won't finish that med and it was the honey I wanted to harvest. I am hoping for something to happen in the fall so they can fill it out.