After about a 15 year break from bees, I've come full circle again. Seems like the last time I messed with bees, the mite problem had just started,there was only one plastic frame/foundation on the market and honey was about 40 cents a lb. And back then you could treat hives with sodium sulfathiozole!
Good to bee back!
The wife and I were walking around the block here in Rockford,MI tonight and the smell of the Russian Olive trees is strong!
I see even the locust trees are in bloom. Yet I don't see any bees working these blooms.We've had our share of rain the past two weeks and today was actually the first sunny warm day. The bees seem to be working hard, but on what I don't know. Can there actually be a nectar source greater than the two I mentioned and yet not be seen?
Welcome back to the bees. This is my returning year after being away for about 8 years. Have to relearn everything. Though I still have my love for them and also some of the experioence has stuck, but when I see issues in the hive, I don't remember having seen some of them before.
Watch your bees and which way they go when the leave the hive...or rather when they leave the area they are hived. They pretty much fly straight to the nectar sites. If you watch them dance on the combs you can get a rough idea how far away the nectar is.
When bees return from foraging they report where they just came from several times. Look for bees wagging their tail around while crawling on the combs. Take a stop watch and count how many complete turns they make while wagging their tails. They will make a turn to the left and a turn to the right to make a complete cycle, and the center of these turns where the path crosses tells the other bees. If you know how to extrapolate the direction, but you are going to ahve to do your own reading to learn that, it has to do with gravity and the current possition of the sun and changes throughout the day as the sun moves across the sky.
The relative distance is figured by the number of complete cycles of this dance within a 15 second period. If the bee does this figure-eight dance 2 times in 15 seconds, the nectar source is 3-6 km away. If they cycle 3 times in 15 seconds, the nectar is 2.5-3 km away. If they complete 4 cycles in 15 seconds, the nectar is 1-1.5km away. so on and so forth
2 = 3 - 6km
3 = 2 - 3km
4 = 1 - 2 km
5 = 600m - 1km
6 = 400 - 600m
7 = 300m
8 = 200m
9or10 = 100m
and a circular dance while wagging means the nectar can be found within 100m of the hive.
This is all rough data and their are actually graphs that show the variability of these measurements, having to do with wind and differences between hives, but these are good rough numbers exprapolated from the graphs provided by Karl von Frisch.
Hope this helps.
The rain washes the nectar out of many flowers (not dandilions-they close up), so the bees will hit those here in a few days after nectar builds back up.