Our nectar flow in Georgia is timed to the tulip poplar bloom. In a perfect world, I guess the rain precedes the flow but most flows are based on the spring bloom of nectar producing flowers, not the rain.
The tulip poplar blooms from the middle/end of April until the end of May so we at best have a 6 week nectar flow. This year it poured rain almost daily throughout the nectar flow, with heavy winds, blowing the tulip poplar blooms to the ground and making it impossible for the bees to fly.
To quote Cindy Bee, a master beekeeper in Georgia:
"The nectar flow in the Piedmont region of Georgia is pretty much over. Although we still have
plenty of clover blooming (and you may even see your bees on the blossoms) the nectar is nearly
dried up in them.
We had a very diminished nectar flow in general due to the beating that the tulip poplar flowers
took in all the rain and wind we incurred this springtime.
On a brighter note, the privet hedge produced a good bit of nectar this year.
Many folks don't appreciate the taste of privet hedge honey, but if the nectar is
mixed with any other sources it's usually pretty good. In addition, this honey will mellow
out somewhat if let "rest" after it's extracted.
If you're disappointed in your honey crop this year there's always the hope of sour wood
honey if you can get your hives up to higher altitudes where the sour wood trees are plentiful.
Otherwise, there's a small flow in the fall (mostly aster and goldenrod). This is darker
honey and much better for you as it contains more anti-oxidants. But it's also a lot
stronger in taste. Don't depend upon this flow to boost your hives that may be struggling.
It's generally not a plentiful flow and not one from which we harvest.
In regard to the fall nectar flow be aware that your bee yard will smell very unique. Don't
panic, you're not smelling foul brood. The nectar may smell like dirty socks or sour milk.
The bees know what they're doing. It's good honey, it just smells a bit strange.
So that's a word about the spring of 2009's nectar flow for the Piedmont. Hope you all
were diligent and got your supers on for the small window of opportunity we did have.
Best, Cindy Bee
So I'll be harvesting only about 1/3 what I did last year, if that, in order to leave enough honey
on the hives for the bees.
That's why I am worrying about how to support splits - we have a next-to-nothing fall flow - usually
we get no honey from that - and we had a next-to-nothing spring flow.
Linda T with concerns about mid summer splits still wondering?