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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Chatham Co, NC, USA

    Default New beekeeper needs clarification re: honey flow

    We've been told by a couple different people that the honeyflow is over. How can this bee when a) it's barely June and b) the bees are still working flowers. does this mean they are putting up any more food stores?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Tucson, Arizona, USA

    Default Re: New beekeeper needs clarification re: honey flow

    In most locations, when there isn't a severe drought, there will be some nectar and pollen available, even here in the desert Southwest U.S.A.

    A nectar flow/honeyflow is when there are so many flowers blooming on one or more nectar producing plants that the bees can easily harvest so much that they run out of storage space and are stimulated to store excess nectar as honey, build new comb, expand their populations, and swarm.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Whitsett, NC

    Default Re: New beekeeper needs clarification re: honey flow

    As Joseph Clemens said there are still plants blooming but they are not major nectar producers like the Tulip Poplar. The link below is for NC and shows clovers vetch and sumac still blooming in the piedmont. So unless you live by some major farm crops of some kind or near some sour wood trees the major flow is over at least for me, until fall.
    Now I have also read that it takes 2-3 days for nectar to be available after it rains and we seem to be getting a hit and miss shower every other day, so that may also affect the nectar flow.
    Just some thoughts.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Chapel Hill, NC

    Default Re: New beekeeper needs clarification re: honey flow

    Hi! I'm just up the road from you at the county line. Welcome!

    It's true that the main nectar flow is over for us this year. I define "main" the same way as Joseph states above. In our area, that would start in March with the ornamental hollies, redbud, blackberry, tulip poplar, American holly, Tupelo, Linden and clover. Of course, other things are mixed with these, but these are the main indicator plants that start in late March and end in Mid May.

    The Tupelo and Linden can be hit or miss, but I an fortunate to live close to some mature hardwood stands that do produce some years. I don't mention red maple because it's so early in the season there is rarely a large enough population of bees to bring in a surplus of nectar, though it is important for pollen and nectar for buildup.

    There will be minor flows as long as rains continue into the Summer. The clover is reflowering right now, and the bees are working it due to the rain we have had. There will be some soybean and cotton in the area, and if the rains continue, they will provide a decent flow if you are close to a field.

    The "dearth", meaning no nectar flow varies year to year here and is usually drought/ dry weather induced. It has started as early as May and as late as mid July some years. So far, we are looking good this year for a later, shorter dearth.

    The Fall flow is variable here as well. It is all dependent on how much rain we have had through the mid to late Summer period. Mid Summer rains are needed to support the growth of the asters and goldenrods, while the late Summer to early Fall rains provide the extra mositure the plants need to produce nectar. Just because the goldenrod has flowers doesn't mean it is producing a nectar flow.

    Hope this helps.


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