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Author Topic: The highs and lows of Bloodwood  (Read 1670 times)
Lone
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« on: February 20, 2012, 09:29:57 AM »

G'day.

 Bloodwood is the most common tree here, at a guess maybe 80 or 90% of trees.  Ironbark would probably be next most common.  Ever since I've had bees, the bloodwood has budded up annually and the buds have fallen off - until this year.  Bloodwoods have been flowering for 3 or 4 weeks and have plenty of more flowers yet to come.  The trees are thick with buds.  Things have looked promising, honey-wise, since December, but every time I check it has been a disappointment.  I have had to split a hive and add supers because they are breeding up and bearding, and bringing in bloodwood pollen like crazy. The stingless bees get bloodwood pollen too.  But there has been very little honey and no whitening.  I thought this time I'd leave them go for 2 weeks before checking again, and giving them a chance to fill up the hives.  That inspection will be on Wednesday.

 Someone told me yesterday that this tree produces nectar at night and not during the day.  This would be ironic, because I have been waiting and watching years for bloodwood flowers, only to find they are probably useless for honey.  A watched tree never boils, that's for sure.  But my friends say they are reeling honey in.  Has anyone had experience with this?

 I went to the DPI today and asked what species of bloodwood we have here.  Apparently it is the Corymbia erythrophloia, AKA Eucalyptus erythrophloia, red bloodwood, gum-topped bloodwood, variable barked bloodwood, red-barked bloodwood.  It covers a large range.  It is one of the few eucalypts to have suckers.

Here is the bloodwood over the hives:



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Lone

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bud1
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« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2012, 04:25:22 PM »

shucks misss lone you better get thhe makings fo some biscits, that sucker gota be giving out some necter
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Geoff
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« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2012, 04:40:30 PM »

  Better round them up and treat them to a Girls Night Out Lone !!!!!!
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Danulsarn
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« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2012, 05:17:27 PM »

Hi Lone.

There is a research paper from Sothern Cross Uni on the nectar secretion of another species of bloodwood - C.gummifera aka red bloodwood from the east coast. They found nectar secretion to be pretty even over a 24 hr period. Not sure how relevant it is for your species of red bloodwood though I'd guess they're similar.

We have it flowering here and the bees are loving it despite the rain.
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Lone
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« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2012, 07:46:21 PM »

Bud, I think I just have the murphys laws of the bee world.  Now that conditions are perfect, they have decided not to pay their rent.

Geoff, I was thinking about putting lights in the trees and using little stockwhips on them.

Danulsarn, the fellow who made this claim doesn't have bloodwood where he lives, so I'm not sure if he is correct.  But I would have expected better signs of a honey flow.  My friends however have filled up a 44 gallon drum on the bloodwood. It is interesting that your variety of bloodwood is flowering too.  I suspect that the hot dry conditions have brought on the flowering this year..or do you think it is a timed cycle of a few years?  I know they don't like it wet.   They lost a lot of leaves and a few branches in the floods last year, and seemed to get new shoots the hotter and drier it is.  The ironbark have budded up for the second time too.

I'll give an inspection report after I check tomorrow. 

Lone

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OzBuzz
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« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2012, 05:26:25 PM »

What's your hive looking like Lone? plenty of room to fill? are you running excluders? what's the brood like? is the queen actively laying? or has she had a dearth previously, reduced laying, and only now picking up? If that's the case there may not be enough foragers to bring in ample nectar - just a thought
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Lone
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« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2012, 03:07:20 AM »

Well today was B-Day.
Things are booming.  They are getting honey off the bloodwood all right!  Hive 2, the strongest, had fully drawn and filled a honey super I added 2 weeks ago.  Worried about crammed up broodbox, we added a 4th super, as a 2nd brood super.  It is going to take super-man to lift that top storey off the high hive stands we have.  But there are still no fully capped frames.  Some I think were being drawn out more.  Some are 80% capped but in the wet season I don't want to risk extracting it.  I wore my full bee suit for the first time in a couple of years.  This hive gave me 20 stings last time.  A friend was a few metres away watching.  I think he should have been in a wheelchair race at the speed he left at when he got 4 stings up his shirt.

Hive 1 was a double.  A strong hive of the breed we have that breeds brood up quickly.  But I had kept it with just one honey super hoping they would cap what they had.  Needless to say they hadn't finished capping anything, but had built up on top of the frames.  We use migratory lids.  So we went to town and bought aluminium flyscreen and put it right across under the lid.  I was reluctant to put a solid mat on top because they would lose the ventilation in this hot weather. I think the gauze is loose enough they will still be able to walk on top of the frames. We added another brood box on this hive as well.

The other breed of bee is a bit slower at building up so we left things alone except for putting gauze under the lid of the one which also was building on the frames and not capping what they have.  These two hives were from a split sometime after christmas, so are a bit behind. 

All the new frames we've added have been undrawn plastic foundation, a good time to have it drawn now they are on a flow.  There is now whitening on nearly all the hives and obviously bringing in honey.

I think this will answer your question, Oz.  Actually this has been the best year anyone remembers here.  There has been no dearth since before November and in fact I had to make that split.  I have never before been able to have more than a 2 storey hive and I won't add supers unless necessary, but now there are 2 doubles, 2 triples and the quadruple.  I still am using excluders, though I was thinking about taking it off the strong one.  I just have a problem queen-spotting at the best of times.  I haven't fully inspected the brood today, though 2 weeks ago it was pretty much wall to wall in the 2 strongest hives.  I moved brood upstairs then to make room.

And bloodwood is beautiful honey!!

Lone

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annette
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« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2012, 10:17:14 PM »

Happy for you Lone. I know what it is like to go several years and no honey. Last year was our year to shine and finally get lots of honey. Still living on this honey and probably will last all year long.

We are having a terrible drought this year and now I am wondering what the bees will do this year.

How may years you been keeping bees Lone??
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Lone
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« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2012, 08:46:20 AM »

Hello Nettie,

We've always managed to have just enough honey for ourselves here, and just a little bit to give away.  Some years the honey pot was nearly at the bottom before we could extract again.  You are always making things out of wax, so I thought you'd be getting a lot of honey too.

Let us know how your bees go.  Are they in town?

According to my first posts on the forum, I've had bees since sometime in 2008.

Lone
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annette
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« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2012, 08:46:45 PM »

My bees are out in the country on 20 acres of manzanita, toyon, poison oak, some eucalyptus, other things that I have no idea what.

We have a yoga center up the block from me and they have allowed me to place my bees on the property. I do own 3 acres of land, but I am sort of down in a valley and very damp. The yoga center is up hill from me and the difference in temperatures is unbelievable. The bees are very happy up there.

I don't need so much beeswax to make the products I make. I only ran out once and had to buy some.

Had a dream last night that a swarm of bees was in my bedroom and I was playing with them. Even found the queen and she was walking around on my hand. I was so happy. Figured they were telling me something so I went up to check on one hive today and found they needed much more space. Jammed packed with drone brood, worker brood, honey, pollen and so many bees. Could be ready to swarm soon. Opened up the brood nest and gave them another super on top. Nice of them to come to me in a dream.

Take care and good luck this year.
Annette
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Lone
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« Reply #10 on: March 05, 2012, 09:12:27 AM »



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In the bloodwood shade.

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Geoff
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« Reply #11 on: March 05, 2012, 03:39:35 PM »

  Good to see that you have a real dog Lone, not just a lap puppy !!!
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Lone
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« Reply #12 on: March 05, 2012, 06:34:41 PM »

I didn't know till I loaded the photos that that thing was in nearly all of them.
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