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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Batesburg-Leesville, South Carolina
    Posts
    1,443

    Post

    Hi folks. I just got back inside from doing some studying out in my bee yard and wanted to share some of my ideas for your evaluation.

    We have had unusually dry weather in my part of the south. Upon consulting with a national precipitation map, I see we are not alone.

    I noticed my bees had not brought in as much nectar as I expected they would have by now. Dewberries are in bloom, but blackberries are a week away.

    The first thing I noticed is that dewberry blooms had some agitated bumblebees, and very few honeybees. Both bees would dart from bloom to bloom, staying only long enough to determine there was no nectar on each bloom. I did not make the connection with the draught at that time. Next I examined several rows of turnips that had been allowed to bloom and go to seed. (about 5 pounds of turnip seeds which the guy at the feed store wondered what in the world would anybody need that much for...)

    Same result for turnip blooms - the bees which already had large loads of pollen, would land on the bloom and make one or two "pokes" down for a fraction of a second, (quicker than I normally see) and then fly to the next bloom.

    I think (the obvious) that this dry weather is having an effect on the nectar flow at this stage. I wonder how many inches of rain it will take to get us back on track?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Western Pennsylvania
    Posts
    2,071

    Post

    Not sure how drought affects you guys in the south, but I think we'll be ok here in Pennsylvania. Generally a spring drought will have little impact on our early flow, as is consists mostly of tree bloom which by the time of bloom would not need abundant rains due to the well developed root system that most mature trees have, and winter precipitation.

    Even though we here in PA are experiencing a rain deficit for the year, Maple, Tulip, Black Locust, Cherry ect. should be fine. What we fear here in the north at this time more than drought is a late frost or freeze, which can wipe out our tree bloom much more effectively than a drought could.

    A spring drought will have a delayed effect on us later on sometime in June when tree bloom tapers off and summer blooms such as clover fail to come in as strong as they otherwise would have. This scenario can put a real damper on colony development of the swarms and small colonies, as this is exactally what we experienced here in PA during 2005.

    [size="1"][ April 16, 2006, 12:50 PM: Message edited by: Pcolar ][/size]

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    College Station, Texas
    Posts
    6,973

    Post

    we are very dry here in central texas also fordguy. there are some ups and downs in regards to nectar secretion for us here. the typical bloom which you have mention will bloom for a very short duration (depending largely on soil type). the upside is that certain brush species (mesquite) will bloom only in response to dry conditions.

    this year we seem to be extremely dry, extememely early.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    New Braunfels, TX
    Posts
    463

    Post

    In south Texas, we have not have any appreciable rain for months. We had a few showers sail through, but only spotty precipitation. Folks in our Association say this will be a very bad year. We have a major bee tree, Huahia (phoenic spelling) that produces excellent honey nectar. Not even blooming. Sad. It looks like we will be feeding down here for some time.

    Ron S.
    Hobbyist

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Bartonville, TX USA
    Posts
    456

    Post

    Fall drought resulted in not getting my usually fall wildflower harvest of about 20lbs. Instead had to feed heavily.

    Winter rains resulted in strong late winter pollen and nectar availability. But now our spring rains are absent and I am expecting that we will see some challenges unless rain comes soon. We usually see the nectar dry up early in June when the heat and rainfall tapers off. Not sure what will happen as the heat is early and the rainfall isn't there.

    Having only 4 years experience I am still a 'newbie' when it comes to observing the blooms and what the bees are working. This year was the learning experience of truly watching the upper story tree bloom I had been ignoring. Thanks to what I learned from the checkerboarding discussion I became aware of and started to search out and find bloom in the winter. We had lots of flying days this winter and that pollen had to be coming from somewhere. I have watched the succession of bloom, pollen activity, switch from pollen to nectar and am excited to see the next few months. Every year my eyes seem to open up a little more.
    "Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes"
    Henry David Thoreau, Walden

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Round Top, New York - Northern Catskill Mtns.
    Posts
    1,895

    Post

    A spring drought will have lasting effects. The recharge of ground water will not take place. The deep soaking that replaces the lost soil moisture also does not take place. With dry soil, heavy rains tend to run off as opposed to soaking in. Seeds and shallow rooted plants do not get the moisture / water to sprout or bloom and provide nectar.
    If the nectar sources are short or lacking, then the colony may not get the needed food sources to rear brood and put stores up. If the spring nectar flow is absent, they will most likely not build up to the peak population, which can set them back even if the rains come later in the season.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Devils Lake, North Dakota
    Posts
    9,123

    Post

    Dry spring here has been a blessing in my case. I had some pallets with bad ventilation/drainage issues and over the winter several colonies were very damp. Some died. The dry blast has really brought them around.

    Hope your dry spell breaks.

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