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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts
    1,974

    Lightbulb The Importance of Knowing your Local Beekeeping Calendar

    One thing that has really struck me this year - especially now that I'm up over 10 colonies - is the need to know your regional 'dates'.

    By that I mean:

    • When early pollen starts and what's blooming
    • When swarm season starts and what's blooming
    • When the main flow starts and what's blooming
    • If/when you're most likely to get a dearth in your area
    • When fall flow starts and what's blooming
    • When to complete assessments and begin feeding if necessary
    • When you should be finished with liquid feed
    • When to treat (if you do that)
    • When to have them ready for winter


    Notice that a lot is tied to an awareness of blooms. Knowing what flowers are important in your area and becoming aware of them is huge.

    For the last couple of seasons, I only ran a couple of hives in my yard. So it was easy to react moment-to-moment.

    But this year, with 13 hives in three yards, I have found that I'm often playing catch up - a little behind on what I should be doing. This creates stress for me and the bees. From a lot of the questions I see on the forums, I can see that others are playing catch-up a lot too.

    To any of you less-experienced beekeepers: Take my list and see if you can put a date next to each one, and a bloom next to each one that mentions bloom. If you can't then work to be able to.

    It'll make next season way more enjoyable.

    Adam

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Platteville, WI
    Posts
    134

    Default Re: The Importance of Knowing your Local Beekeeping Calendar

    Thanks for the thread. I'll have to ask some local beekeepers about this.
    "Life will find a way - it always finds a way." -Jurassic Park (MOVIE/BOOK)
    USDA Zone 5a

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Clackamas Oregon
    Posts
    737

    Default Re: The Importance of Knowing your Local Beekeeping Calendar

    I have been logging everything, costs, what I did and more importantly what I should have done. I need a better way of getting it to a calendar so I am not repeating my mistakes. My other issue is the weather has been so wonky I cannot seem to set up a pattern. As we know it all about patterns.
    “Why do we fall, sir? So that we might learn to pick ourselves up” Alfred Pennyworth Batman Begins (2005)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Palermo, Maine, USA
    Posts
    731

    Default Re: The Importance of Knowing your Local Beekeeping Calendar

    This year I started writing "beekeeping milestones" in a little weekly pocket calender. Each page opens to a week, and it is about 3" by 6" so it fits easily into a shirt pocket. It provides 3 or 4 lines of space for each day. It works well for me.
    Like us on facebook This is the place to bee!
    Ralph

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts
    1,974

    Default Re: The Importance of Knowing your Local Beekeeping Calendar

    I've got an idea for another thread that may help more. I'll post it in a minute.

    Adam

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts
    1,974

    Default Re: The Importance of Knowing your Local Beekeeping Calendar

    I think it's important to keep notes on what we do each year, and that can help to build a schedule in the future. You can also ask other beekeepers in your area. I think a real part of the challenge is in knowing what key operations are in order to know what to ask another, more experienced beekeeper. I just started another thread on Bee Forum called "What Are Your Beekeeping Calendar Dates? Please Respond".

    Perhaps we can get people to input their dates. That might be more helpful.

    Adam

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Slidell, LA, USA
    Posts
    259

    Default Re: The Importance of Knowing your Local Beekeeping Calendar

    I think the dates of your local bee club meetings are also important to remember. If you don't know something someone at the meeting probably will.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,848

    Default Re: The Importance of Knowing your Local Beekeeping Calendar

    So, I'm wrapping up my last Database for work, and will start on the Bee one I mentioned a few weeks back. I will post updates as it progresses, but one function will definitely be calendar oriented and the ability to create task lists for different outyards/hives. Wrapping this last DB up is taking it's toll though as the user has so many different details everywhere it's driving me crazy trying to build all that functionality and keep the integrity of the data.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,531

    Default Re: The Importance of Knowing your Local Beekeeping Calendar

    i've just got a little past one year journaling my hives. i'll take the time this winter to go back and put each hive's history on its own page.

    excellent suggestion adam. especially regarding what's blooming in relationship to swarming ect.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    DFW area, TX, USA
    Posts
    1,062

    Thumbs Up Re: The Importance of Knowing your Local Beekeeping Calendar

    A couple things I feel are important:

    • Local average first and last frost dates...
    • How much honey should a hive contain going into my local Winter season?
      • What are the best local feeding strategies for Summer and Winter?

    • How local weather conditions affect life in the hive
      • Do queens routinely stop laying in the heat?
      • Do I need to provide wind breaks, wrap or insulate for winter?

    • Are there any large scale growers in reach of my foragers?
      • Thinking of pesticides and the risks of yards close buy
    Last edited by Lburou; 10-24-2012 at 06:32 PM.
    LeeB
    I try to learn from my mistakes, and from yours when you give me a heads up :)

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,384

    Default Re: The Importance of Knowing your Local Beekeeping Calendar

    Years ago, I was lucky enough to come across a large number of Gleanings in Bee Culture from the late 1800s. I read every word.

    AI Root recommended that his students keep track of bloom periods for their area...for at least five years. All your bee work should be timed for those bloom dates...rather then calendar dates. Once you know the general bloom patterns, you can adjust your management as the patterns shift.

    Example...2012

    I began getting swarm reports from Alabama...thanks Keith. Every colony was starting swarm cells, and much earlier than normally. Then reports came from North Carolina. Then Virginia...everything swarmed...production colonies, nucs, and even swarms swarmed. Thanks Karla.
    Then Connecticut....

    And the maple bloom started early here...that with very strong colonies. Now, my usual supering time is the first week of May. But, with all the swarm reports, and the early bloom of Maple...we supered early. Started on April 18, and storing nectar in the supers before the end of April. I saw very little swarming in my bees, and they made a very good crop.





    Quote Originally Posted by Adam Foster Collins View Post

    To any of you less-experienced beekeepers: Take my list and see if you can put a date next to each one, and a bloom next to each one that mentions bloom. If you can't then work to be able to.

    It'll make next season way more enjoyable.

    Adam

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    DFW area, TX, USA
    Posts
    1,062

    Thumbs Up Re: The Importance of Knowing your Local Beekeeping Calendar

    Excellent points Michael Palmer, I'll take that advice.

    Along that line, I ran into this rule on the _Learning_ page at Bushfarms.com:

    Quote Originally Posted by Michal Bush
    Rule 3: Real learning is not facts, it is relationships. ...snip... Everything you learn in any subject is part of the whole puzzle and is related to everything else somehow.
    The facts are just the pieces of the puzzle. You need them to figure out the relationships, but the pieces themselves don't make any sense until you have them connected. The connectedness of all things is one of the first things you need to learn in order to be able to learn...snip...
    It is much more important to have a few facts and understand the relationships than lots of facts and no relationships. One little part of the puzzle put together is better than more pieces and none of them put together. Knowledge and understanding are not at all related. Don't go for knowledge, go for understanding, and knowledge takes care of itself.
    Last edited by Lburou; 10-25-2012 at 06:56 AM.
    LeeB
    I try to learn from my mistakes, and from yours when you give me a heads up :)

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