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Author Topic: Dearth problems?  (Read 1417 times)
Rabbitdog
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Location: Lynchburg, VA


« on: June 08, 2006, 12:32:58 PM »

I'm in central Virginia.  The sourwoods are just about to bloom a bit early(usually around July 1).  However, we are experiencing a serious drought for the last 3-4 weeks.  Generally, we have a light honey flow throughout the sourwood bloom.  This year, I would guess different.
For the last week, my bees (11 hives) have been consistently horrible; worse than I've ever seen them.  I smoked and opened 2 hives yesterday around 4:30 just to introduce a frame of eggs and then closed them up, only aggravating them for about 3 minutes.  For over an hour, there were bees all over the place, flying around like japanese beetles when the thousands first hatch.  After an hour, I went back out and was over 100' from the colonies that I had disturbed and was raided by a few and got a very painful sting on top of the head (NEVER has a sting hurt like this before).  
I have some extra supers and cappings in my workshop.  Whenever I opened the door, bees showed up in seconds to get in.  Here's my question:  
I think there has been a complete cutoff of any nectar production due to the drought.  I know that bees get cranky during the dearth (which we usually experience in July/Aug).   Could this be the cause of this extreme behavior?
AHB is not a concern.  However, as much as I love bk'ing, I'd sell or destroy every last hive if bees were like this regularly!  Sad huh?
Has anyone else experienced this problem this year?  Please tell me I'm not alone.
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thegolfpsycho
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Location: canyon rim, ut


« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2006, 12:50:55 PM »

Sounds like a severe dearth precipitated by the drought.  In my neck of the woods, any day the winds blow from the south, it drys up the nectar and the bees get ornery.  Unless I have to, I don't fool with them on those days.  Our temps have been 10-15 degrees above normal here for last couple weeks with no moisture.  I'm afraid I may be facing the same situation, although my suburban hives usually do ok because of people watering the landscape plants.
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Apis629
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« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2006, 03:14:18 PM »

AHB can still be a concern, although, it's an unlikely one.  I heard from one beekeeper in PA, that he ordered a packages from Alabama, or Georgia, or thereabouts, found them to be the meanest bees he's ever seen and, on a hunch, decided to have them screened for AHB.  Wouldn't you know it, the queen had mated with AHB drones and the bees were POSITIVE AFRICANIZED.  Although, what your describing sounds like bees just in a fuss over the fact that there's no nectar to collect.  The older ones are always meaner and when they hang around the hive, you notice them.  And yes, I'm personifying.
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Hi-Tech
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« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2006, 11:17:10 PM »

It has rained 3 times at my house since February. We are currently 10 inces below average rainfall. My bees were doing just like you said. An old beekeeper here suggested placing an open pan of sugar syrup about 40 yards from my 4 hives. The bees can get a little syrup but it doesn't seem to be creating the robbing frenzy.

I feel your pain......
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tom
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Location: buffalo junction virginia


« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2006, 03:46:36 PM »

Hello Rabbitdog

   I see that you are not to far from me i live in mecklenburg county and we have been having some good rain here. My bees are working like carzy on pollen i do see some sourwood blooming around here but i don't know where they might be getting pollen they are working as soon as the sun can come up and doing well but if i see they need my help i still have some sugar syrup on hand to help them out some.

Tom
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goodeva
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Location: Goode Va


« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2006, 09:32:56 PM »

I am in Goode just outside of Lynchburg and even though It is dry my bees seem to be doing well. I have added a super a week for the last 2 weeks. I will feed them if it gets any worse. I belive that feed in late July and August encourges the queen to lay and that builds the colony up for the winter. The nectar usually cuts off during that time. I think that is the key. Honey or not the colony has to be strong to survive the winter. The dearth is hard on the colonies around here.
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tom
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Location: buffalo junction virginia


« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2006, 12:08:44 AM »

Hello Goodeva

   I am not to much worried about honey this year i am just trying to build them up so they can make it thru the winter. Until spring i have one hive that is hot and i mean i can't sit out near my hives now because they come right at me so i got a new queen coming soon and she is a NWC so i am just waiting and i will maybe feed my weak colonies some so they can build up since they are bringing in pollen. Sourwood is starting to come in now and you can smeel it as the wind blows thru the woods.


Tom
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qa33010
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« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2006, 12:44:38 AM »

I think if this keeps up then the earth may be resetting itself again (weatherwise)  IMHO.    

We're 16" shy from last year and about a month ago we were a little over what we normally get.  We haven't had anything more than a little sprinkle now and then since.  I started watering my sunflowers and various other plants in my yard since they were about ready to collapse.  For the first time since they started blooming the honey bees were on them.  Both of my strong hives are cranky and where I used to smell honey, now when I walked by I smell nothing.  The trumpet creeper is just starting to bloom where last year it started blooming in May.  Problem is the new owners are doing the best they can to kill it off.  No chemicals but a lot of chopping.  I'm going to a meeting this Thursday and hopefully some wiser heads will have some good information for me.
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