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Author Topic: How will I know when the nectar flow ends in my area??  (Read 1901 times)
TNBeeLady
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« on: June 04, 2013, 09:55:40 PM »

Hi, I'm in middle Tennessee and have 4 new hives this year.  I fed them the first few weeks while they were drawing out the comb.  I'm wondering how I will know when I need to start feeding them again.  How do I know when the nectar flow ends?  Thanks.
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Sparky
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« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2013, 10:05:59 PM »

What is the configuration of the hives now ? If they are built out to the boxes that will be needed to go into winter you probably will not need to feed them anymore. 
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gov1623
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« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2013, 10:08:32 PM »

Give the newest frame of nectar a tap. If some comes out, it is fresh nectar and the flow is still on. If there is no runny nectar, the flow is over.
Hopefully after the flow they have enough stores that you wont have to feed them.  
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TNBeeLady
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« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2013, 10:20:03 PM »

They all have a large brood box and a medium super.  One has the medium super almost filled & I put a honey super on that one.  But the others are not that far along, and have barely begun in the medium super. Does the nectar flow usually go thru until the fall?  Or is is sporadic?
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Better.to.Bee.than.not
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« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2013, 01:40:33 AM »

Does the nectar flow usually go thru until the fall?  Or is is sporadic?


it depends solely on the area, the available flowers and when they are in bloom. There are nectar flow maps people have attempted to provide to give general ideas, though. for instance this one:

http://honeybeenet.gsfc.nasa.gov/Honeybees/Forage.htm

Actually I sort of mispoke, it is not solely on area, the available flowers and when they are in bloom...it is also based on it being fair enough environmental conditions for them to get it also, I guess. since there is no flow if they don't get out of the hive to get it eh? This happens sometimes up here in michigan with our maples...it is often to cold still for the bees to take full advantage of it.

« Last Edit: June 05, 2013, 01:51:45 AM by Better.to.Bee.than.not » Logged
Better.to.Bee.than.not
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« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2013, 01:58:58 AM »

Also, keep in mind we are talking about nectar here...not pollen. many people think of pollen when dealing with honey bees or bees in general. but nectar is really what bees use for energy more so. pollen is used to feed larvae, and also as a protein source, and bee bread.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nectar
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blanc
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« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2013, 08:32:18 AM »

My question would be why feed them when they are an established hive? The only time I feed is if they are distressed after a removal or a new swarm to boost them a bit but they start rejecting feeding when they find food and after that they are on their own. If needed to feed to survive the winter is another issue but not in spring and summer months.
Blanc
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TNBeeLady
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« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2013, 08:45:16 AM »

I'm concerned because last year I started my first hive (that disappeared or died out in March this year, but that's another story).  By about mid August they were booming with 2 deep supers FULL of honey and brood.  I had some health issues during that time and didn't get to check them again until the end of September.  Their deep super of honey was all but gone so I started feeding them, and they were using a gallon of syrup twice a week.  So I guess the nectar flow stopped, & they used all their stored supplies.  I'm wondering how I know if the nectar flow stops.  I'll look at the nectar flow map you suggested, Better.to.Bee.than.not.  Thanks.
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TNBeeLady
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« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2013, 08:57:16 AM »

The nectar flow map was very helpful.  It shows significant flows that should have been going through Oct & Nov in my area.  Last summer we had drought conditions, which I suppose affected the nectar flow.  Thanks again.  I'm just trying to learn to be the best beekeeper I can for my girls!! Smiley
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Better.to.Bee.than.not
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« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2013, 03:11:02 PM »

My question would be why feed them when they are an established hive? "~" If needed to feed to survive the winter is another issue but not in spring and summer months.
Blanc

Well that is really a good question and one that many people disagree about or have different situations they view about it. If it is a established hive many people believe in just letting the bees do as the bees will, they have survived for millions of years doing it. however, some areas have micro climate issues just because thats nature for you....and many of those above believe still, let the bees die, its natural, if you coddle them, then they lose their natural instincts for survival...you actually weaken them.....and that is hard to disagree with also, for me anyways.......but then you have others who say , hey...it's a quirk of nature, if we run into a dry spell, quite possibly do to something man is doing, and it cuts off what would be natural flows of nectar unseasonably, or due to some pest that ravages the land, giving them some feed or sugar water to help them out through the bump isn't such a bad thing...besides, I like my bees, they are like pets, and I have a lot of $ ties up in them and I'm not going to allow a act of circumstance to cost me a fortune or kill my pets, or deny me honey...I'm a bee keeper, which means I keep bees, I control them and the situation as much as I decide to or can, and I do the same to my cat, dog, goldfish,etc also and do not expect them to go out foraging and be at the whim of nature either.

the 'I' above is not first person, btw.....I personally am a mix of both. but do not think either is 'wrong'

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sterling
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« Reply #10 on: June 06, 2013, 11:02:06 AM »

Hi, I'm in middle Tennessee and have 4 new hives this year.  I fed them the first few weeks while they were drawing out the comb.  I'm wondering how I will know when I need to start feeding them again.  How do I know when the nectar flow ends?  Thanks.

The main flow is usually over by the end of June here in middle TN. Last year it was over by the middle of June. So there is no set date. As long as there are some clover and field weeds blooming in Woodbury the bees can get some nectar. With new hives I keep check on their stores if they are low I will give them some syrup. A new hive will try to build up big and will need more feed then an established hive. Around here a medium super full will be needed to over winter besides what is in the brood area. So check them in Sept. if they do not have that then feed them until they do. The way I feed new hives is give them alittle at a time let them run out then give them alittle more. That lets them have the needed food to build up brood and draw comb without them being able to store a lot. But in Sept and Oct. they need to store so I feed them larger amounts.    Sterling,  also in middle TN
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Wolfer
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« Reply #11 on: June 06, 2013, 10:52:34 PM »

Ive found it doesn't take too much from sept to feb. after that is when they starve because of trying to build up in advance of the necter flow.
In feb I pick up the hives. If I don't think their heavy enough I try to feed some way, depending on temp.
This year it was too cold to feed syrup so I wet 10 lbs of sugar to a paste and smeared it on the top bars. It worked.
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Nature Coast Beek
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« Reply #12 on: June 07, 2013, 06:16:07 AM »

My question would be why feed them when they are an established hive? The only time I feed is if they are distressed after a removal or a new swarm to boost them a bit but they start rejecting feeding when they find food and after that they are on their own. If needed to feed to survive the winter is another issue but not in spring and summer months.
Blanc

For many it comes down to simple economics which determines this. (Not advocating here, but pointing out...) If you can take all the honey and sell it for over $7 per pound and feed back sugar syrup at well under a buck per pound......
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Better.to.Bee.than.not
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« Reply #13 on: June 07, 2013, 10:36:44 PM »

  Their deep super of honey was all but gone so I started feeding them, and they were using a gallon of syrup twice a week.  So I guess the nectar flow stopped, & they used all their stored supplies.  I'm wondering how I know if the nectar flow stops.  I'll look at the nectar flow map you suggested, Better.to.Bee.than.not.  Thanks.

Sorry evidently missed you still asking this. Gov1623 sorta answered when he talked about checking out the nectar/honey cells in your hive to see how much  along it is really. if you have new wet loose honey being stored they are storing nectar obviously, and getting it from somewhere. Some folks simply say if the bees cannot take care of themselves they need to die off. If you want to be involved, then check their stores. if you are continuously seeing more uncapped nectar they are getting it from somewhere. the basic amounts tells you how strong the flows are currently, or you can pay attention to the agriculture in your area, which is a good idea anyways to always know what basics are growing/etc. buckwheat here will completely supply a hive per acre just itself when it is in, and supply 50-60lbs of honey. I use it as a cover crop myself.  Maybe someone else will have a better answer, though.
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TNBeeLady
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« Reply #14 on: June 08, 2013, 09:35:47 AM »

Thanks everyone, I'm learning a lot from your comments.   sterling, last year I had 2 deeps on that hive.  This year I have 1 deep & 1 medium on all 4 of the hives.  The weight of the 2nd deep is so much I can hardly lift it, so I'm glad to know the medium should be sufficient in our middle TN area.  Wolfer, I was feeding last winter with an inverted jar feeder over the inner cover, and what a mess that was, so I may try the sugar paste idea this year if I need it.  And Better.to.Bee.than.not and gov1623, I appreciate the info about the nectar flow map and looking for runny nectar.  I feel much more informed now about being able to judge the nectar flow situation.  I really appreciate everyone's input!!
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10framer
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« Reply #15 on: June 09, 2013, 11:15:54 AM »

when you look at the bees in the morning and very few are coming and going there is a good chance that there is no flow.  i would think in the southeast july 1st is a fairly safe bet unless you have a lot of sourwood or are near cotton fields (also kudzu can produce a little).  after that it's all just kind of maintenance flows.  i think goldenrod kind of winds things down til the next year.  so, check them in the fall and unless you have one that's particularly light at that point you can probably leave them alone until january other than lifting them to see how heavy they are.  feeding in winter can get them started building up early.  i try to feed as little as possible.
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sterling
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« Reply #16 on: June 09, 2013, 05:41:49 PM »

Watch um and don't let them get too crowded. They may need another medium even if they are in a ten frame box. Did you start them as packages or nucs? and when? If you started them early spring they may use the medium for brood also, so they will need another for honey storage. unless we get another drought like last year.
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TNBeeLady
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« Reply #17 on: June 11, 2013, 09:26:06 PM »

sterling, I started them as packages.  2 the second week in April and 2 in May.  I'll be sure to watch the medium super for brood, and add another if needed.  Thanks!
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