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Author Topic: Estimating honey flow by takeoffs???  (Read 6359 times)

Offline David Stokely

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Estimating honey flow by takeoffs???
« on: July 24, 2009, 12:45:35 PM »
Maybe this has been covered somewhere else, but it seems to me that there should be a way to estimate the level of a honey flow by hive activity.  It stands to reason that the busier the hive is the greater the honey flow.

I'm also thinking that it is easier to count bee takeoffs than landings.  The outbound bees so rapidly depart, while landing bees, especially with cleansing/orientation flights taking place hover and seem to me to practice touch and go landings, etc.

I just sat in front of my hive and it seems like there is a big level of activity going on.  Pollen gathering especially seems to be high.  In the past I would estimate normal being maybe 1 out of 10 returning foragers having pollen.  This morning it seems to be closer to 1 out of 3.  I cannot figure out what is in bloom here.  The pollen is bright lemon yellow, kind of like a dandelion color, but there are really no dandelions in bloom that I can see.  Goldenrod is not going here yet.  I don't know what they are gathering.

In just sitting and estimating with my watch, the best I could count is roughly 100 takeoffs per minute.  Assuming that bees that takeoff must sooner or later land then,  (I mean at the end of the day the landings and takeoffs have to balance out as equal minus those lost in the field) if a third of them are pollen that would make it 60-70 landings/minute of nectar. I'm not seeing hardly any hovering bees on orientation flights, etc. in front of the entrance.  Everyone seems to be focused on leaving the area as quickly as possible on some kind of urgent mission.

According to a little factoid on the Indiana Beekeepers Association website, a bee carries roughly 1 drop of nectar per trip.  An ounce of water is roughly 600 drops.  Nectar is probably somewhat denser, but to use water equivalent, then they are gathering 6 ounces of nectar an hour (60 landings/minute x 60 minutes/hour) = 3600 drops per hour @ 600 drop per ounce = 6 ounces per hour x 10 hours per day = 60 ounces/day or roughly 4+ lbs of nectar per day (due to the higher density of nectar over water).  That seems to be a decent flow to me.  The one thing I'm not sure of is the dilution of the nectar.  I don't know what nectar they are gathering to know how much they must concentrate it for honey?

Just wondering if anyone had any experiences counting landings and trying to determine honey flow from that measure?

a question from an engineer beekeeper. . .LOL

:)
« Last Edit: July 24, 2009, 01:01:34 PM by David Stokely »

Offline David Stokely

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Re: Estimating honey flow by takeoffs???
« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2009, 05:58:46 PM »
Trying to figure out what pollen my bees were collecting, I ran across this 'pdf' table of pollen plants, their blooming times and color.  I thought it was really nice:

http://www.hcbamd.org/files/Pollen_color.pdf

The table was put together by the Howard County, Maryland Beekeepers Association.  I think from their table, it looks to me like my bees may be gathering corn pollen or sweet clover pollen.  Corn pollen is probably more likely. . .

Offline c10250

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Re: Estimating honey flow by takeoffs???
« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2009, 06:14:40 PM »
I'm in Northern IL, I just counted 150 takeoffs per minute!  They're working something.

Offline NasalSponge

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Re: Estimating honey flow by takeoffs???
« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2009, 08:33:56 PM »
WOW....do you get core samples before installing a swingset??  :-D j/k

The best way to know what is going on with flows is a scale hive with daily checks of the weight. This can also tell you things like if your hive swarmed. Also remember this time of year especially when it is hot they are bringing in water.

Offline c10250

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Re: Estimating honey flow by takeoffs???
« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2009, 09:22:52 PM »
WOW....do you get core samples before installing a swingset??  :-D j/k

.... Also remember this time of year especially when it is hot they are bringing in water.

Hot??  What's that? You would think you're in NW Ontario if you came to Chicago this year.  I think I ran my AC one night all summer.

Offline David Stokely

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Re: Estimating honey flow by takeoffs???
« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2009, 11:02:03 PM »
No heat here either.  We're having the coolest summer in over 50 years.  I don't have a hive scale.  My little calculations are just for fun, something to do while watching the bees go in and out of the hive.

Offline MustbeeNuts

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Re: Estimating honey flow by takeoffs???
« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2009, 11:11:06 PM »
I found out that if you have 100 one way flights out its time for another super. seems to be the case for me. what they bring in , no idea, but they fill up like champs.
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Offline NasalSponge

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Re: Estimating honey flow by takeoffs???
« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2009, 11:48:52 PM »
Sheesh.....we have been over 100 many days this summer...close today.

Offline David Stokely

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Re: Estimating honey flow by takeoffs???
« Reply #8 on: July 25, 2009, 02:07:06 PM »
MustbeeNuts:

I don't understand how the number of one way flights out indicates the need for a additional super?. . .Please explain if you can how you found that out?

Thanks (very much still in the learning mode)

 :) :) :) :) :)


Dave

Offline MustbeeNuts

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Re: Estimating honey flow by takeoffs???
« Reply #9 on: July 25, 2009, 11:24:39 PM »
A much more experienced beek told me that, I was asking the same as yu, about flights in an out. I was told that somewere over 80bees a min meant that the supers were filling up with either brood or honey, something to do with the amount of bees available to forage. I don't know why its that way but for example I have a hive now with 160+ bees going out, so approx 320 round trips per min, well that hive has the seventh  super on it, and still a month and a half of goldenrod flow coming, Granted med supers but still. I guess it has something to do with room availabe ifthere full there is more bees available to run around, if there working inside they need more bees inside. and that hive was a new package.!!

I grant you it is strange but I have a hive a new split, it only has 6 frames full, I only see 40 bees one way, there aren't enough bees to cover the brood so they stay behind, just my thoughts but the brood area isn't full of brood yet, about 4 frames of  brood.No super needed. I have another with barely 20 bees a min, its got also near 5 frames but only 2 are brood, no need to add, don't ask me why it works butyou can see the ratio of bees, but now the ones with 80 bees, have full boxes of bees and brood or honey, time to add a super.
I imagin its just some ratio of bees in hive to foragers, Just my thoughts. I am sure someone with more experience could add to this, either to say I'm wrong or right. Or explain the rational,

try it you'll see that i'm right, if you got 80+ one way flights check the top box. see how close it is to needing one. I'll bet its pretty close.
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Offline Joelel

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Re: Estimating honey flow by takeoffs???
« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2009, 01:08:32 PM »
Maybe this has been covered somewhere else, but it seems to me that there should be a way to estimate the level of a honey flow by hive activity.  It stands to reason that the busier the hive is the greater the honey flow.

I'm also thinking that it is easier to count bee takeoffs than landings.  The outbound bees so rapidly depart, while landing bees, especially with cleansing/orientation flights taking place hover and seem to me to practice touch and go landings, etc.

I just sat in front of my hive and it seems like there is a big level of activity going on.  Pollen gathering especially seems to be high.  In the past I would estimate normal being maybe 1 out of 10 returning foragers having pollen.  This morning it seems to be closer to 1 out of 3.  I cannot figure out what is in bloom here.  The pollen is bright lemon yellow, kind of like a dandelion color, but there are really no dandelions in bloom that I can see.  Goldenrod is not going here yet.  I don't know what they are gathering.

In just sitting and estimating with my watch, the best I could count is roughly 100 takeoffs per minute.  Assuming that bees that takeoff must sooner or later land then,  (I mean at the end of the day the landings and takeoffs have to balance out as equal minus those lost in the field) if a third of them are pollen that would make it 60-70 landings/minute of nectar. I'm not seeing hardly any hovering bees on orientation flights, etc. in front of the entrance.  Everyone seems to be focused on leaving the area as quickly as possible on some kind of urgent mission.

According to a little factoid on the Indiana Beekeepers Association website, a bee carries roughly 1 drop of nectar per trip.  An ounce of water is roughly 600 drops.  Nectar is probably somewhat denser, but to use water equivalent, then they are gathering 6 ounces of nectar an hour (60 landings/minute x 60 minutes/hour) = 3600 drops per hour @ 600 drop per ounce = 6 ounces per hour x 10 hours per day = 60 ounces/day or roughly 4+ lbs of nectar per day (due to the higher density of nectar over water).  That seems to be a decent flow to me.  The one thing I'm not sure of is the dilution of the nectar.  I don't know what nectar they are gathering to know how much they must concentrate it for honey?

Just wondering if anyone had any experiences counting landings and trying to determine honey flow from that measure?

a question from an engineer beekeeper. . .LOL

:)


Bees are very smart and know what is needed in the hive. That's why sometimes you see them with nectar and sometimes with pollen.
Acts2:37: Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
38: Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
39: For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.
40: And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation

Offline David Stokely

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Re: Estimating honey flow by takeoffs???
« Reply #11 on: July 28, 2009, 01:58:25 PM »
As usual, I ate my lunch today watching the hive in my back yard.  My goodness, huge level of activity!  I counted 50 or more takeoffs in 15-20 seconds and I don't know that that number isn't low.  They were just taking off in squadrons of 5-10 almost continually.  I was counting as fast as I could and I just couldn't keep up.  Something big must be in bloom, but I have no idea as to what.  I do not see anything much blooming in the lawns around my house.  I live within a couple of hundred yards of a river, the other side of which is an agricultural area also with lowland/floodplain areas on that side.  I'll be very interested to see what progress they've made this week, when I next inspect them this weekend.

Go girls go!!!

 :)

Across the river from me are large areas of corn growing.  I've read where bees can get pollen from field corn, but can they get nectar also?  I would't guess it would make great honey, or at least my Google search didn't come up with hits of anyone advertising the selling of "Corn Honey". . . LOL

Offline Joelel

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Re: Estimating honey flow by takeoffs???
« Reply #12 on: July 28, 2009, 08:16:44 PM »
As usual, I ate my lunch today watching the hive in my back yard.  My goodness, huge level of activity!  I counted 50 or more takeoffs in 15-20 seconds and I don't know that that number isn't low.  They were just taking off in squadrons of 5-10 almost continually.  I was counting as fast as I could and I just couldn't keep up.  Something big must be in bloom, but I have no idea as to what.  I do not see anything much blooming in the lawns around my house.  I live within a couple of hundred yards of a river, the other side of which is an agricultural area also with lowland/floodplain areas on that side.  I'll be very interested to see what progress they've made this week, when I next inspect them this weekend.

Go girls go!!!

 :)

Across the river from me are large areas of corn growing.  I've read where bees can get pollen from field corn, but can they get nectar also?  I would't guess it would make great honey, or at least my Google search didn't come up with hits of anyone advertising the selling of "Corn Honey". . . LOL


They say one take off a second is a good strong hive. It depends on how far they have to fly and what their gathering and how many workers graduated to worker at a given time.I sometimes have many more then one a second.
Acts2:37: Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
38: Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
39: For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.
40: And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation

Offline Jim 134

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Re: Estimating honey flow by takeoffs???
« Reply #13 on: July 29, 2009, 07:05:43 AM »
               Joelel ...


   Are all you'r bees bring home nectar ? I hope so how about only water on hot 90+ days how about propolis and pollen    



   BEE HAPPY Jim 134  :)


 
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Offline David Stokely

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Re: Estimating honey flow by takeoffs???
« Reply #14 on: July 29, 2009, 08:20:14 AM »
I may have found the cause for my recent frantic hive activity.  Here is an excerpt from an article in Bee Culture Magazine:

There is no evidence that honey bees significantly increase soybean production by aiding pollination (Danka and Villa 2004), but commercial beekeepers profit from setting hives near monoculture soybean fields. In Tennessee, for example, it is reported that large quantities of surplus honey crops have been produced by bees working soybean fields (Hivetool.com 2003). As a marketable commodity, soybean honey ranks high among the nectar crops. Soybean honey is desirable in both taste and nutritive properties, and its high antioxidant content makes it an ideal preservative for use in the food industry (Engseth 1999). To the hobbyist beekeeper, soybean is a readily available and abundant source of nectar and pollen for their bees, providing forage from Spring to Fall in warmer climates.

Read the entire article at this link:
http://www.beeculture.com/storycms/index.cfm?cat=Story&recordID=442

There surely are soybean fields in the agricultural area across the river from me.  I hadn't thought of soybeans as a honey crop, but  it sounds like this could definitely be where they are going.  I'll check out the bloom state of the fields.

 :)

Offline jimmyo

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Re: Estimating honey flow by takeoffs???
« Reply #15 on: July 29, 2009, 11:16:20 AM »
Try walking the fields and see what they are working. check stagnant creeks and see if they are picking up water. This time of year it is mostly water in SE Indiana. Joe Pye is blooming and dutch white is still blooming but not much honey from it. Watch for golden rod to bloom then you'll see action.
Jim

Offline sc-bee

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Re: Estimating honey flow by takeoffs???
« Reply #16 on: July 29, 2009, 11:33:13 AM »
Of course this want help with ag sources but neat to look at!

http://www.pollen.com/allergy-weather-forecast.asp
John 3:16

Offline Joelel

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Re: Estimating honey flow by takeoffs???
« Reply #17 on: July 29, 2009, 12:06:38 PM »
              Joelel ...


   Are all you'r bees bring home nectar ? I hope so how about only water on hot 90+ days how about propolis and pollen    



   BEE HAPPY Jim 134  :)


 

Yes all bees Carry alot of water and more when hot.Some kind of bees carry more propolis then others,some use more the other kind do. All hives carry pollen and nectar.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2009, 02:05:20 PM by Joelel »
Acts2:37: Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
38: Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
39: For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.
40: And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation

Offline David Stokely

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Re: Estimating honey flow by takeoffs???
« Reply #18 on: July 29, 2009, 01:02:50 PM »
In this area, I think it safe to say they aren't carrying much water.  We are in the midst of (to use winter terminology) a bitterly cold summer. Here's a link to the U.S. Weather Service page for my town:

http://www.uswx.com/chron/wx/in/46507/?obshr=720#GRA

About 2/3rds of the way down the page, is a chart for the temps for the last 30 days.  Count em. . .we have had 5 days in the last month that got over 80° and 6 days that got to 80°.  On zero days has it gotten to 85°.  The rest of the time, that means 19 days that it has only been in the 70's or below.  Note there are 4 days in the last 30 where it never reached 70°.  That is incredible.  I mean, northern Indiana isn't the tropics, but I don't think it would be a hot summer for us if every day in July was hotter than 80°.  Tomatoes are late here.  Sweet corn is very late. . .This is a cold summer.  I read a day or two ago that Chicago (about 100 miles west of here) is having the coldest July since record keeping began at the present location 62 years ago.

In addition, I'll try to get some pictures, but my bee hive is right on the edge of my backyard pond.  The landing board is a little more than a foot away from the water.  The frogs in the pond wait for bees that come up short and land in the water.  Sometimes there will be 3 or 4 frogs in the water in front of the hive.  I occasionally do see the bees on the lily pads or on any floating algae apparently getting water, but they aren't numerous.

 :)


« Last Edit: July 29, 2009, 02:46:31 PM by David Stokely »

Offline c10250

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Re: Estimating honey flow by takeoffs???
« Reply #19 on: July 29, 2009, 06:54:45 PM »
Here's some entering and leaving . . . bee line . . .

There are actually more entering and leaving than shown in the video, the video just show's those leaving straight up through the sun.

Make sure you watch in HD by clicking the "HD" button.