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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Lynn, MA


    I live in Southeast New Hampshire (Exeter/Epping area for those who know the area) and I'm wondering what our "honey flow" period usually is?

    Some people say it is over by late June, early July, some say earlier, some say later. A few people even told me it lasts right through the summer, which logical to me since there are flowers blooming that whole time.

    As a new Beekeeper, what exactly is a honey flow? As long as there are flowers or crops blooming/flowering and the bees can get nector, is that still considered a honeyflow? I see lots of plants flowering in this area right through August into early/mid September. So, I'm confused to exactly what the honey flow is or when it is here in SE New Hampshire.
    Lynn, MA

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Wakefield, MA, USA


    There are only certain plants that will yield nectar in large amounts, and these only bloom for certain periods during the season. It is when these flowers are blooming *and* when the colonies are up to honey-storing strength that we see significant honey being produced and accumulating as surplus in the hive. The periods when this happens are called nectar flows ("honey flows").

    There is almost always some source of nectar in the fields but it is not always available in large amounts that will yield surplus. Also, there can be variability in the bloom dates and yield due to weather conditions. Some years there are good nectar plants that will not yield, for one reason or another -- the rain will wash out the nectar, or it will be too cold, or hot, or dry, etc.

    Here in NE there is a minor flow from the Maples and Willows in early spring, but it is usually too cool for the bees to work on very much, and the colonies are rather weak. As the season progresses there are the dandelions and fruit blossoms -- again, usu. minor, along with various wildflowers.

    The first major honey flow is in June, with Black Locust. If the weather is right, this can be a big crop. Then it's clover, then Basswood (if you are fortunate) and sweet clovers through some time in July. June, then would be the main honey flow month for us.

    There is a good nectar flow in some areas in Aug. from knapweed/knotweed/Japanese Bamboo. During this time, in other areas, the hives will just lose weight with nothing but minor sources available and big populations to feed.

    The fall flow can start in late Aug. with goldenrod and aster and continues til frost. I have had bees in central NH where this was "the" major crop and ideally they would put away a surplus of 50 pounds or more. It really depends. With all the development in southern NH the crops probably aren't what they used to be, but if you are in a good spot you may be pleasantly surprised!

    Good luck...


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