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  1. #1
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    Default Do mountain side beekeepers get longer nectar flows?

    Have any of you beekeepers that live along a mountain side noticed longer bloom dates? I guess what I'm getting at, do you think that the changes in elevation allow the bees to forage on a particular nectar source longer since presumably the nectar flow would start first at lower elevations?
    "Science is knowing, art is doing, and common sense is knowing and doing on the basis of experience." Alex Shigo

  2. #2
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    Sep 2011
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    Default Re: Do mountain side beekeepers get longer nectar flows?

    LOL, I started to post something along this line yesterday concerning what my bees may be foraging for.

    I live in a Valley that is 20 miles wide and over 30 miles long. it starts at an elevation of about 4000ish feet and climbs out and up to around 8000 feet at the highest peak surrounding it. Typical elevation change is somewhere around 2000 feet from valley floor to average surrounding hills. I am located just above the 5000 foot mark so pretty much right in the middle of it.

    If my bees fly 1 mile north they will find snow in some areas. a mile south and they will find trees in bloom. They are actually finding pollen. I believe it is Elm from somewhere. and have been for at least the past two weeks.

    I forget the exact number but for every 100 feet you rise in elevation is comparable to traveling I forget how many miles North on the planet. I do know it was quite a distance. so 1 mile south and 1000 feet lower may be like the Sacramento valley. wile where I am at it pretty much exactly like Northern Washington. A mile North of me and another 1000 feet up would be like Canada.

    There is no question that the bloom period here is extended. and in an extreme fashion. It is not so much a mountain side. but a long continuous uphill climb of 2000 feet or more. Stretching for over 15 miles in each direction.

    Now does this result in more forage for the bees? No because the foliage is limited in that it only has so much space to grow in. also differing bloom periods does not cause those trees to bloom longer. They will still bloom and then cease just as any other tee will. So although my bees may forage to the south today. and to the north in a couple of weeks. they still have exactly the same number of trees an d the exact same amount of nectar to gather as anyone elses bees would have. they simply have longer to do it. they also have to work harder to find it because where it is keeps moving on them. They also find less nectar for each days work. It pretty much evens out.

    To the north west of me is a mountain called Peavine. Local gardeners will tell you to never plant your garden until all the snow has melted of this mountain. And every year for the past 30 yeas I have planted my garden well before the snow melts from it. My wife never fails to point out that there is still snow on the mountain. i have every year reminded her that I would worry about what is on the mountain if i where planting my garden on it. until then I will plant my garden according to where it is being planted. I have never lost a garden yet. She never has figured out what it is that I am watching.
    Last edited by Daniel Y; 02-19-2014 at 06:31 AM.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    Hiltons,Virginia
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    Default Re: Do mountain side beekeepers get longer nectar flows?

    Speaking from the mountains of southwest virginia,the change in elevation does help some.We have trees blooming in march in the valleys and some of the trees at higher elevations don't bloom till the first week of may.In some years the early blooming trees at lower elevations get killed by late cold snaps and frost before the bees can get max benefit and get the later bloom when the weather is normal, if their is a normal spring anymore.I would say over the long run it probably evens out.I hope we have a normal spring this year.


    www.poorvalleybeefarm.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
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    Big Stone Gap, VA
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    949

    Default Re: Do mountain side beekeepers get longer nectar flows?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rather-b-beekeeping View Post
    Have any of you beekeepers that live along a mountain side noticed longer bloom dates? I guess what I'm getting at, do you think that the changes in elevation allow the bees to forage on a particular nectar source longer since presumably the nectar flow would start first at lower elevations?
    To some extent yes. We live in a valley, the mountains next to us are rise well over a 1000 feet above us. As an example, sourwood starts around the end of June, 1st of July. In the mountains, it will start a week to two weeks later. Same with maples, poplar and so on. To that extent, the flows can be prolonged.

    On the flip side, since most of our honey is tree honey. We do not have a strong summer or fall flow.

    HTH,

    Shane

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Louisa, VA
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    Default Re: Do mountain side beekeepers get longer nectar flows?

    Thanks guys! It has just been one of those topics that I have been wondering about. It seems that for the most part even though the bloom dates shift with elevation you don't seem to think it makes all that much difference in total nectar collection.
    "Science is knowing, art is doing, and common sense is knowing and doing on the basis of experience." Alex Shigo

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
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    rensselaer, ny, USA
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    Default Re: Do mountain side beekeepers get longer nectar flows?

    It also is useful on a smaller scale. My bees live here on the farm in a central open space (with some hedgerows and some re-growth) thats about 90 acres of open meadow. It is a generally east and south facing hillside of about 8-12% slope (I'm in NY so it's got intermediate, rolling slopes as well). That meant last fall that the earliest- flowering stands of goldenrod (of the same species) were through blooming when the latest pockets were just beginning, prolonging the nectar flow and protecting it from the short term vagaries of weather (cold front and rainy day just at peak, for instance.) Add in the many additional varieties of goldenrod that may prefer drier, wetter, shadier, etc. conditions and the richness - and safety - of a varied population of plants is revealed. The total elevation change over this field is probably not more than 125 feet, but the parade of bloom datess from micro-area to micro-area was astounding to watch once I was watching it through the bees' eyes.

    Enj.

  7. #7
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    moravia,ny
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    Default Re: Do mountain side beekeepers get longer nectar flows?

    the same type of question has been asked about a beeyard located by a water body. the bees will find a source. they dont go by a beekeepers map.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Bluebell Utah
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    Default Re: Do mountain side beekeepers get longer nectar flows?

    I believe that elevation changes benefit the bees. It extends the time that the bees can forage. one mile south of me the blooms are a week earlier then here. A mile north the bloom dates are a week later. While the bees only have the same number of acres they can reach as if it was flat elevation . The bees have the advantage of the extended bloom of a certain plant limits the dearth. and rather then a boom and bust cycle in between blooms the blooms tend to blend together. the plants to the north are just starting a certain bloom the plants to the south are just finishing that bloom up and are beginning on the next bloom.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Do mountain side beekeepers get longer nectar flows?

    Quote Originally Posted by beeware10 View Post
    the same type of question has been asked about a beeyard located by a water body. the bees will find a source. they dont go by a beekeepers map.
    True, the bees will find a source. There is then the added problem of distance traveled for that source. part of what I see in the progressive bloom issue. It is one thing for bees to be able to forage in every direction. they will locate far more forage on any given day if they are completely surrounded by it. if all the forage is in one direction then the same acreage is further away. they will still forage it.

    I make no claim to accuracy as to these numbers but they where chosen based upon past things I have read.

    1. Bees will forage as far as 7 miles from the hive in any direction. that is approx 196 square miles by simply square calculation. 14 X 14 = 196

    2. the vast majority of forging will be done within 3 miles of the hive or again by simple square calculation is 36 square miles. 6 X 6 = 36

    3. it is estimated that anything over 5 miles in a net wash as far as return or benefit to the colony. as much energy is being uses as calories in food stuff is being gathered.

    4. now lets assume that any colony will find that minimum 9 square miles to forage. In the case of unlimited direction that forage will be 3 miles away in every direction. but ins the case of limited direction either by progressive bloom or a body of water. all of that 36 square miles lies to the south. In that case half of it lies within three miles where the majority of foraging will accour. another two miles fall beyond three miles but within 5 miles. The last mile falls beyond the 5 mile mark and is a net loss to the colony.

    The rough net result will be a band of available forage 6 miles wide and 3 miles deep form the hive for a forage area of 18 square miles. potential range of 30 square miles and 6 square miles they will forage but will actually reduce the overall increase to the colony.


    This 18 square miles is in comparison to the 36 square miles a hive would have if forage was in every direction for three miles.

    The actual forage range fora circle with a radius of 3 miles is about 28 square miles. if half of that circle lies only to the south it makes a forage range of 14 square miles.

    Now in reality the situation would be even worse in the case of a progressive bloom. because as the bloom was moving up from the south for example. there will be days that all of it lays beyond that 5 mile mark. days that it lies partially within that 5 mile mark and days that it completely surrounds the hive. unlike the flat land bloom that surrounds the hive in every direction every day.

    I then see that there could be one day of negative benefit foraging. one day of partially beneficial foraging of which is cancelled by the one day of loosing. and one day of beneficial foraging for three days of bloom. the flat land hive has 3 full days of beneficial foraging. As the bloom moves north you will have the same effect in reverse. for two days of beneficial forage out of 6.
    Last edited by Daniel Y; 02-23-2014 at 06:13 AM.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

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