Early Flow or Longer Flow?

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by dr.buzz, May 14, 2012.

  1. dr.buzz

    dr.buzz New Member

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    With this year's mild winter and early spring in so much of the country, I'm curious if this means that nectar producing plants are simply on an earlier schedule, or will the flow actually last longer? For example, if watermelon usually has a ten day window to be pollinated in, a warmer than normal would only be expected to cause watermelon plants to bloom earlier, but not longer than 10 days, is that right? And if so, are all plants like that? Will we all expect to get more honey this year, or just the same amount as "normal" but just earlier?
     
  2. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    for most of the southern US the extent of the honey flow is about rainfall more than anything else. at least here the important thing is to get adequate rainfall prior to the primary bloom.

    in regards to watermelons and watermelon pollination it is my understanding that getting the first bloom set is very important... if not then the first watermelons are set back about one month. once the first bloom is set they appear to bloom fairly constantly for a good period of time. this is of course for watermelons under intensive management and drip irrigation.
     

  3. indypartridge

    indypartridge New Member

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    Here in the midwest things have been blooming about a month earlier than usual, but the length of the bloom is the same. Most of the beeks I've talked to are expecting an extra long dearth this summer, during which the bees will likely consume much of the surplus they've put up during the spring.
     
  4. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    Wow, then the BKs who took most of the bees' Spring honey in the midwest and south are going to be feeding a whole lot of sugar or corn syrup through Summer and Fall...? I can't help but imagine this extra long diet of mostly syrup might have an effect on the bee's overall nutrition and health. Anyone else having similar thoughts?
     
  5. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    blooms are early, same length of time. some nectar sources available this year compliments of the much needed moisture that haven't bloomed in the last 2, and a better garden year. my concern is for the last bloom of the season, the goldenrod. this carries my bees through winter. i expect this to be early as well, so will plan accordingly.

    omie, i am not an early extractor, but if i am faced with feeding my bees sugar syrup at the end of the season, not exactly the nutrition needed, but would rather do this than let them starve.
     
  6. Eddy Honey

    Eddy Honey New Member

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    Don't some plants bloom based on length of day? Here in Southern New Jersey the holly trees are right on schedule and it has sounded like a squadron of B-52's under the hollies for the last 10 days. The bees work them from sun up till sundown.

    The forest floor is covered in sweet pepperbush and that blooms in late June/July and is considered a surplus nectar source.

    As for crops, the farmers are planting everything at the same time as last year. Hay fields are covered in alfalfa and some fields are covered in red clover. I've seen more white clover here than I've ever seen.

    In 2 or 3 more years my 5 Bee Bee trees should be blooming to take up the slack before the goldenrod/aster flow.
     
  7. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    eddy honey it is not about the length of the day, it is about ambient temperatures, and 'growing degree days'.......:grin:
     
  8. Eddy Honey

    Eddy Honey New Member

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  9. bamabww

    bamabww New Member

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    The early spring has benefited me with two supers of honey 2 months earlier than last year. I've noticed something in my red clover that has never happened before and I think it is because the early spring / rainfall caused it to start early. The bees have worked it very hard this year, much more than last it seems to us. Around this 6 acre patch I have bush-hogged a walking path for my wife and daughter. The clover I cut down has come back and "bloomed" again. Usually when I cut the clover down, it is gone for the year. This year it came back. We've had good rainfall and good temperatures as well which as riverbee noted is critical.

    I want to cut a wider strip around the field and see if the same holds true. But finding the time to do it is a big problem.
     
  10. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    a snip..
    eddy honey it is not about the length of the day

    tecumseh:
    well that ain't exactly correct riverbee. if this were so then folks in places like north dakota and canada would not collect 200# crops.

    of course this goes beyond dr buzz's original question of early and or longer flow and is about the intensity of the flow during a somewhat compressed time slot. I myself look at this as a distinction between punctuated and constant flow environments. the first being somewhat associated with southern beekeepers.... where the flow is short and stops before the next flow kicks in (most often times with a dearth in between). the second being more associated with environment the closer you approach the poles where once the flow starts it is fairly constant and often time expansive (often times no dearth in between, but once it is over it is over).
     
  11. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp New Member

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    Interesting thoughts there, Omie/indy.

    I wonder if the fall flow will be early, too, thus creating a summer dearth of roughly normal duration? If it is/does, then when does the "flow clock" get back on schedule...if it does get back on schedule? Over the winter? Would that mean the bees will be eating their winter stores before winter actually sets in? Could the upcoming winter be the danger time of an extended dearth or extended cluster time where bees might starve where normally they overwinter fine on the same amount of stores?

    Sorry, newbee mind rattling on.... :dontknow:
    Ed
     
  12. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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  13. Tia

    Tia New Member

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    There are lots of flowering plants out there that if you deadhead them before they have a chance to set seed, they will set new blooms in an effort to set seed. You can pretty much keep this up all summer season long as long as you give them ample water.