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Author Topic: East Coasters - Spring Flow - Overall Hive Status  (Read 4089 times)
bassman1977
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« on: May 11, 2009, 06:01:54 PM »

Just curious how the flow is going for the East Coasters.  I did an inspection today and I am not very happy but at the same time, kind of expecting of the findings.  The hives are huge.  Plenty of brood and eggs and I accidentally found the queen in one hive.  Let me tell you...that was the largest queen I have ever seen.   shocked

Usually about this time of year, after the dandelion bloom, I am taking off between 2 and 3 boxes of dandelion honey.  My supers are dry right now.  There's a good amount of honey in the lower parts of the hive and the one box is only 3 frames drawn out.  None of the honey is capped.  I know the clusters in all my hives coming out of winter were real small.  I think the rain we were having when the dandelions were at their peek kept the foragers inside.  Even still, when it was dry out, I would walk the yard and there weren't many foragers out in the dandelions.  I wasn't very impressed with the dandelions this year either.  They lasted only a week at their high point.  Last year I know they lasted two weeks or so.  Clover flow is next...a few weeks away I guess.

What are the rest of you experiencing?
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tlynn
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« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2009, 08:30:21 PM »

Raging laying queens, tons of pollen, one super from citrus already pulled and nectar now slowly coming in from Palmetto probably.  Comb building on fresh frames slowly and steadily.  We are just starting to see a few flowers on the cabbage palms.  All this in spite of the most serious drought we have seen in years.  It has felt more like Phoenix than Florida the past few weeks.  There is now a water restriction in place that says you cannot water your lawn, wash the car, power wash the house, or fill fountains.  It's a big deal around here.  People are upset their expensive St. Augustine is dying, and it is.  Fortunately I have weeds in the back and Bahia in the front. 

I know a beekeeper who has about a dozen hives in 2 orange groves.  He said the one grove with bigger hives got only a super or less of honey whereas the grove with weaker colonies gathered 3 supers each.  The difference?  The second was irrigated and the first one wasn't.
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« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2009, 08:54:31 PM »

I'm in S.E. NC-almost SC and the flow here is sick. People are saying it is the best in 70+ years. Unfortunately my 3 good hives are needing to build comb but even so I have 2 med supers almost capped and I will be adding more tomorrow. I'd have done it today but it rained almost all day. I have a ton of Gallberry and Tulip Poplar where I am and I tasted some honey from some brace comb I had to get rid of and it was awesome. This is my first year with established hives and I am still thinking I should have more honey already but I've been told the flow is a little late. I don't know how long it last but if goes another 3-4 weeks my other hives should have plenty of foraging bees to add to my efforts. I really want to sell my honey for the Chordoma Foundation this June at the national meeting but I doubt I can get enough to make it worth the trip and even if I do June will be too close to get everything bottled. Heck I still need to find a source for 1lb plastic jars Smiley
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« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2009, 12:05:03 AM »

I have not had any luck with the weather lately.  The only days the weather has been good enough to mess with the hives has been on days when I otherwise haven't had the chance to get into the hives, and when I do have the time to get into them the weather hasn't been very nice.  But on the other hand, the weather has extended some of the blooms, so I have mixed feelings about it.  But I have been just itching to pull some honey out lately.

I just noticed the blackberries and clover started to bloom within the past couple of days here, so I am looking forward to that honey. 
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bassman1977
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« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2009, 09:20:47 AM »

I know what you mean SgtMaj...I had a hard time getting to the hives also when it wasn't raining.  It's a busy year.   Smiley
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« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2009, 09:29:30 AM »

My two 2nd year hives are not really packing that much back as of yet.  But both hives did swarm a couple of times each back in early April so I'm not really surprised.  The swarms that I boxed and split are drawing comb and beginning to store some nectar for curing though!

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bassman1977
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« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2009, 02:21:10 PM »

This can't be all the east coast beeks we have around here  huh huh huh huh  WHERE ARE MY PA BROTHERS AND SISTERS!!!!!!!   grin grin grin grin grin
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« Reply #7 on: May 12, 2009, 02:24:42 PM »

Alright, I got into one of my hives today... the girls were in a real pissy mood today, but they had built up very well, the queen has a nearly solid brood pattern too, They are loaded down with brood, 8 full deep frames of near solid brood.  Had plenty of bee bread too, but very little honey.  I was going to take some, but they had too little for me to take any.  I guess it's all the rain we've had.
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« Reply #8 on: May 12, 2009, 03:35:41 PM »

Hi Bassman,
my experience has been about the same.nectar in the broodboxes,not much activity in any of the supers.Seems a lot coming on late this year.
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« Reply #9 on: May 12, 2009, 04:09:27 PM »

Both of my hives are still drawing out comb. They started a few weeks ago from medium nucs. They've been bringing back a lot of pollen and have been gulping down sugar water. I just need them to hurry up and draw out the comb and then get to work filling it.
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« Reply #10 on: May 12, 2009, 04:48:34 PM »

Here in the White Mountains of NH the dandelions and apple trees are just starting to open. My winter hive is booming with a full box of honey....on the bottom. Looks like the bees started in the top box (#3) and worked down. They were at the very top this winter so I started feeding in February. The nights can still get into the high 30's and low 40's but the pollen is very heavy for this time of year. I'm hoping to split all ten hives in June and will leave the honey for winter food...then next year...

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« Reply #11 on: May 12, 2009, 08:02:01 PM »

I have notice clover blossoms and a little white tips on black locust Flowers, won't be long now. No honey here either yet . Enough Rain for now. Save some for Summer.
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Russ
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« Reply #12 on: May 12, 2009, 09:07:12 PM »

hives bigger than any other year in beginning of march before any flows, they are still packing it in but they thing with queens this year beats me, I have some hive wanting to requeen a new queen that has 5 full frames of brood, plenty of room, they did the same about 3 years ago with queens, now matter how good she was they would kill her or make her swarm, other than that they going barn burners. and still got a good flow going.
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challenger
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« Reply #13 on: May 12, 2009, 09:54:08 PM »

TWT-how long does the flow normally last in your neck of the woods.
I checked mine today and the 2 strong hives I have supers on are putting away a good amount of honey. It is my first year trying and they have had to build comb. My main issue is that they have a lot of comb built between the bottom bars of the honey frames and the top bars of the hive body below and when I reduced the number of frames from 10 to 8 I broke had to break a lot of this comb and also replacing the frames meant squeezing a lot of bees between the frames. I hope this doesn't happen next year when I have comb in the honey supers. Other than that I think I have some of the best honey coming in right now. Some of the frames have some capped honey and some of the brace comb I had to get rid of was capped and I chewed it up and it was heaven. The honey ranges from light amber to literally clear. I hope I can sell it for Chordoma for a premium price. Wish me luck.
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« Reply #14 on: May 12, 2009, 10:00:51 PM »

we start with a few small flows in mid march then the major flow starts about late april, then we have a few small flows going through may and into June, this year clover is running ramped, I have 15 hives on a cow pasture full of white clover and they are still hauling it in, the tulip poplar should still be going but close to ending, the blackberries blooms just stopped and the tulip poplar should be close behind, china berrie are going strong now one one out yard that other flows have stopped on so with the rain we had this year we should be going good for a few more weeks.
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« Reply #15 on: May 12, 2009, 10:35:44 PM »

I am just outside Ocean City, Maryland and the nectar flow has been real slow. We have been receiving a lot of rain. In fact it has been one of the wettest Springs in 10 years in this area.

I have 3 supers each on my 7 hives and they have filled one and a half supers so far. I hope this rain stops. The Farmers can't even get in the fields to plant their corn.

Good Luck.
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« Reply #16 on: May 13, 2009, 12:26:23 AM »

Howdy All i am here in virginia and well i have one super full and capped except the comb at the bottom of the super frame and they are swarming like crazy but i have been able to catch them all. I had one hive that capped all but the little bit of comb and i am waiting for them to finish capping it but they swarmed and left it but they are in the second super drawing out that and filling it. I also had my first hive to swarm and they broke the tree limb and drew out the brood chamber in a day or two so i put a super on them and they are filling it except the side frames. Today they were busy working like crazy so i am hoping to maybe get at least a couple of supers of honey my girls are not touching the blackberries this year they seem to be working on something else clover is in bloom but due to the rain they are turning brown but i have not seen any basswood blooming yet. Is it safe to say that i can pull this super that has maybe a inch of honey that has not been capped to sale.


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WayneW
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« Reply #17 on: May 13, 2009, 06:41:13 AM »

My hive from last year is going strong!!! Bursting at the seams with bees Smiley. Havent really checked stores as all my frames are foundationless and need to be drawn first.

I hived a package last friday that seems to be going great so far. They are drawing comb like crazy (also on foundationless), the queen is free, but i havent been back in to see if she's laying yet (maybe today).

The wet weather here has been rediculious, 8 days in a row............ .25 to .5 a day or so. It hasnt been total washouts, no flooding conditions, but wet and cold everyday. Forecast says now it will start to warm up and dry out a tad. Guess time will tell.

There's been lots of activity at both hives and the package has slowed down taking the sugar syrup, so im guessing there is a strong flow of something since they are drawing comb nicely.
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bassman1977
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« Reply #18 on: May 13, 2009, 11:50:58 AM »

Thanks for the responses.  It pretty much confirms my suspicions that the rain is slowing the bees' time in the fields and limiting honey production.  Here's hoping better conditions!
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« Reply #19 on: May 13, 2009, 02:29:54 PM »

Thanks for the responses.  It pretty much confirms my suspicions that the rain is slowing the bees' time in the fields and limiting honey production.  Here's hoping better conditions!

Yes, Rain and cold is killing us.  We really need some warmer weather.
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« Reply #20 on: May 16, 2009, 09:19:07 PM »

Hi everyone,

I'm just a second year keeper. Was so happy that the girls made it through the winter. I had low numbers after winter, but a good queen. Hive is really starting to turn on and get big now. No honey harvested last year...hope to steal like 40 pounds this year..

Anyway, Tulip Poplar is blooming here in Richmond, and the bees are busy and building comb and storing honey on foundation in my first super. I will likely add another super with foundation in the coming weeks...

Here is a question for you experienced...I just saw conflicting information with regards to Basswood trees...
Wikipedia says Basswood is a major nectar source for honeybees...http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_Nectar_Sources_for_Honeybees#Trees_and_shrubs_2

But...Botany. com....says this..

Bees are highly attracted to the extremely fragrant, minute flowers and produce a delicious Basswood honey. However, do not grow T. tomentosa and its varieties if you keep bees, as the flowers of these trees are poisonous to them.

I guess that is just one particular cultivar of Basswood that is dangerous...anyone have a feel for what I likely have in my area? I live near the river..reckon these are growing feral down there...

Take care!
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« Reply #21 on: May 17, 2009, 12:45:42 AM »

 I have to agree with most of you. The weather has been bad with the rain. We are having a good flow with the locust blooming and berries are starting but the supers are not filling up like I thought that they should be. Brood chambers are full of bees but they are not filling up supers. We have a few more weeks to go, lets hope something gets them going.......
                    Marc
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« Reply #22 on: May 17, 2009, 08:36:57 AM »

Another Eastern Shore guy here,

The rain has slowed production of honey but has really helped my brood levels. My house Bee's are only building, not taking sugar at all and seem to be finding good amounts of pollen.
My new farm site is going CRAZY...filling any space they can find will nectur, building comb as fast as I can put supers on. If I had drawn comb already I'd be throwing spuers on weekly. This site has irrigation and a very motivated farmer who use to keep bees but is too busy and would rather pay me. WOOHOOOOO!!!!!
He could find NO ONE for pollenation..I was in shock! This place is like BEE NIRVANA...and expanding..I feel so blessed at this point...
If anyone had told me my Bee business was going to explode like this I would have laughed. Becky's son has been loading all my shallow frames with foundation ( for a fee). I only hope we don't have a repeat of last year..wet spring..then no rain for the entire summer...
My two nuc's are doing great but the queens are tiny...these bees were regressed already and from old local stock. They were given to me for managing a friends 3 hives which had not been open for some time. Very close to swarming as well.
My yard across from my house with my parent hives does not seem to have much interest in working, plenty of numbers but not alot of nectur stored. They are not getting a day of sun exposure due to tree's. I'm tempted to move them to the farm where they can get a steady flow all summer. It's 5 miles away so i'll be forced to leave them alone more..not a bad thing.
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« Reply #23 on: May 17, 2009, 07:52:58 PM »

I was surprised to find the shallow supper I put on a hive at my outyard completely capped Friday. It had been on for a couple of weeks. Here in my part of WV there was a nice autumn olive bloom although wet. I noticed today that tulip poplar is starting to bloom now. I lost 1 of 4 over the winter and 1 last fall. I just replaced those with package bees.
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« Reply #24 on: May 17, 2009, 08:22:30 PM »

My girls have been building up very nicely, so far, But that week of rain did slow things down.  I have one hive from a cut out last year that was getting just where I wanted them for the honey flow and didn't they go and swarm.  Locust is just starting to bloom and the weather is to be sunny and warm for almost the next week, maybe more....that may make up for the lost dandilion.   Jim
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« Reply #25 on: May 17, 2009, 10:08:07 PM »

This is my first season, I started the first week of April.  Each time I add a super after the first deep the bees have to build it out.  Right now I have 2 deeps built out and full of both honey and brood.  I added a medium super last week.  I checked this am and they were in the medium working on it hard.  The tulip poplars are in full swing as well as other stuff though I can't say what the other stuff is.  They're bring in pollen from white to yellow to deep orange.  Anyway I figure I will be adding a shallow super just before the first of June to keep up with them.
BTW we have a ton of dandelions this year but I did not notice the bees working them, maybe I just missed them.  I don't really go over there that much these days.  There's plenty enough to keep up with down here.
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« Reply #26 on: May 18, 2009, 10:16:06 AM »

I am really disappointed right now. We have had 4-5 days of rain straight and a few prior to that right in the middle of the best flow in years and I think this may put the screws to the honey crop this year. Our temps are way down today and yesterday. I would say 25 degrees below normal. Prior to this my hives were really starting to get going and I have 2 supers on 3 hives and 1 super on another. Another setback for me was finding eggs in a medium honey super on one frame. I didn't use an excluder because these were undrawn foundation and once they were drawn out they were quickly filled with nectar so I figured I would keep the frames with nectar in the center and the queen would not come up and lay in them. As it turns out there were several rows on this one frame that were empty and she put eggs in them, I scraped this section of comb out and out the frame to the outside figuring the bees would rebuild the comb and I also reversed the hive and made sure the queen had plenty of room to lay in. Maybe I need to use an excluder but I feel like it will slow the honey production down. Would using half an excluder in the middle section help?
Thanks-Howard
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« Reply #27 on: May 18, 2009, 10:39:05 AM »

I am about 45 mins form twt. Our flow looks off this year. The old timers are telling me it is due to the amount of rain we have had this year. They say it takes about three days to recover from a downpour and it seems we have had one about every other three days or so for the last month.

Most folks are saying it is over for us for the year?

Two years ago we had a late flow of some kind (no one could identify) in July. My bees are within abou a mile of a small town, maybe sources in yards contributed.  This is not he norm in my area. Hope we get it again
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« Reply #28 on: May 18, 2009, 04:03:33 PM »

This cold rainy windy weather has pretty much blown all the tulip poplar blossoms off the trees.  What a shame they were going strong and filling my boxes with nectar.  But we have persimmons and holly coming up and then my clover, borage, buckwheat, birdsfoot trefoil, and anise hyssops.  So I'm not discouraged. 
-pc
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« Reply #29 on: May 19, 2009, 12:01:35 AM »

I am in Piedmont NC with about 15 hives.  Lots of rain/clouds.  Bees have not been able to get out to forage and are not bringing in nearly as much as in past years.  Brood rearing was heavy a month ago, but, though I haven't checked closely, I suspect it has slowed.   The ones that swarmed early I doubt will recover enough to make anything.   A good way to tell how much they are bringing in is to walk in front of the hives just after dark and listen for the buzz of drying the nectar.  They are not as loud as in years past.  My season ends around June 15.  If we don't get sustained dry weather soon, it will be too late for me (if it's not already too late).
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« Reply #30 on: May 20, 2009, 06:35:02 PM »

Most folks are saying it is over for us for the year?

I went to one of my out yards yesterday and pulled 3 supers and 1 deep I installed 2 weeks earlier and they was even worked on, nothing drawn out at all, seems we did get better flows from poplar when we was in a drought. looked at most of my supers and seems that yard has more clover honey than poplar, my back yard hives has poplar honey but not as much as I would have liked being the hives was loaded with bee's this year, I was planning on all 50+ mediums filled and 10+ shallows filled and maybe even 60+deeps frames filled to extract this year, looks like I might get the deep frame count and maybe 30 mediums super plus 3 shallows filled this year, depressing when you think about it, I have about 20 more supers just sitting there with foundation that will have to wait to next year, maybe I might get about 50 more build this year to add to it because I am fixing to go wide open into raising queens and splitting and making more nuc's, hope the queen rearing goes better than the flow. 
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« Reply #31 on: May 23, 2009, 05:08:06 PM »

Well the tulip poplars are still producing.  That cold windy rainy front hit us from the SE of all directions, so all the poplars on the NW side of a decent buffer are still intact.  I was watching the bees today and saw them all heading between W and N, so went and took a look and sure enough there they were still going at it.
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« Reply #32 on: May 23, 2009, 09:19:20 PM »

It's been dry this last week and the girls have really been bringing it in.
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« Reply #33 on: May 24, 2009, 10:23:50 AM »

What do you think they are getting nectar from? I my bees are flying hard but nectar is barely trickling in. I bought 4 nice nucs and 2 queens for splits and now have 11 hives that should be double deeps easily by the Fall. I may even split the 2 hives I have supers on when the honey is harvested. The nucs are taking a quart of light syrup a day so this is going to be expensive but I suppose next year will be worth it.
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« Reply #34 on: May 24, 2009, 11:56:10 AM »

I'm like TWT, pulled untouched supers off last week. I have 8 hives and it's looking like I might get 12 med supers of honey.
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« Reply #35 on: May 24, 2009, 03:53:45 PM »

Well there is nothing else up on the north side of my woods but tulip poplars that are still blooming.  I can watch practically all the bees leaving the hive heading North.  Now I honestly can't see them working up there because those are 90 foot trees but I don't see anything else around either.  And I do see them still building out the new middle deep I put on last week. 
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« Reply #36 on: May 24, 2009, 06:16:38 PM »

well in central kentucky it looks good here but it is getting dry. This is only my second year and I have only couple hives that were strong enough, there rest of my hives were this years swarms, but I think I am going to get three  medium supers off 2 hives and they even swarmed so I am happy with what I am going to get this year. They even had to draw out the comb on all the supers too. so I am very happy with this year!
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« Reply #37 on: May 25, 2009, 09:08:35 AM »

Does anyone know if the bees forage on Swamp Bay Magnolia? I have a ton of them here. They have a flower that look like a miniature Southern Magnolia.
I think I also have a few Sourwood here anf was wondering if these are done blooming.
Thanks-Howard
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42 days and their wings fall off, eh?


« Reply #38 on: May 25, 2009, 10:57:03 AM »

Don't know about those Magnolias but they havent touched mine.  As far as Sourwood we are still looking forward to it here.  Should be soon I am told.  My buckwheat is beginning to flower though.
-pc
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challenger
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« Reply #39 on: May 26, 2009, 09:02:00 PM »

Where is Derby NC?
I am in S.E. NC and I hope the trees I am seeing are sourwood for sure. Do you have any photos of the ones near you? I am so disappointed in this years lack of production due to the heavy and very poorly timed downpours. It seems the bees are still gathering nectar but I don't know where it is coming from. The trees that I think are sourwood have tiny buds on them and I can only say they are sourwood from photos I've seen on the web.
Thanks-Howard
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bassman1977
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« Reply #40 on: May 26, 2009, 10:20:04 PM »

Our clover flow should be starting real soon.  I hope this rain passes and we get a couple weeks of dry weather.
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pollenchucker
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42 days and their wings fall off, eh?


« Reply #41 on: May 27, 2009, 10:43:22 AM »

Derby is in the country between Pinehurst and Rockingham, say also about 50 miles west and slightly north of Fayetteville.  
I am personally not familiar with sourwood.  The guys at my local bee club mentioned that it would be coming in shortly.  I have no idea what it looks like.  Guess I should google it.  But like I said the buckwheat is beginning to make flowers and the clover is high but don't know when it will bloom, shouldn't be too long as bassman mentioned.
And we also have Persimmon and Holly coming in soon.
It may take all summer but I think I will have my first honey harvest by Fall.
-pc
« Last Edit: May 27, 2009, 10:55:06 AM by pollenchucker » Logged
challenger
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« Reply #42 on: May 28, 2009, 08:39:11 PM »

What Holley are you referring to? There are several types here and the only one I see buds on are the ornamental "Ilex" I think it is called. The holly I am most familiar with is the kind with the real sharp leaves and is one of the first to bloom and did so about a month or more ago.
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troutstalker2
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« Reply #43 on: May 28, 2009, 09:06:59 PM »


  Its been raining a lot here, weeks. Just in time for the honey flow, gee what luck. Two hives, I will probably get 2 mediums off of one and probably 0 off the other.

David
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bassman1977
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« Reply #44 on: May 30, 2009, 09:35:09 AM »

Clover is popping out and it's supposed to be nice.  banana devil Hopefully the supers will be full soon. 
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rast
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« Reply #45 on: May 30, 2009, 10:27:01 AM »

 Seeing as how my "spring flow" is over here on the Central Fl. Ridge, I can report. I extracted nothing. After the freezes and drought here and me scrambling to move them from a frozen grove to one that wasn't, the bloom was too dry and the wind blew them off as soon as they opened. Even the late winter maple bloom buildup here was damaged. The palmetto bloom opend dry. 30 -50 miles in almost any direction would have done better. This is what we call a micro climate. Any new members reading this, that is why location is important when you ask a question.
 What I learned. The hives that built up strong and did make themselves a deep of honey. From these I am raising queens to requeen the weak ones that don't have a clue how to forage in bad times (and being optimistic, raise more hives).
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pollenchucker
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42 days and their wings fall off, eh?


« Reply #46 on: May 30, 2009, 03:59:17 PM »

Challenger you are correct, I apologize for the misinformation.  The holly here is Ilex Opaca, aka American Holly.  It bloomed back in April and is now bearing small green berries for its efforts.  Do know what color it's pollen is? I recall both bright yellow and pumpkin orange coming in during that time period.
-pc
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