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  1. #1
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    Default NASA Honey Bee Forage Map

    I found this online and it looks like a great tool in knowing nectar sources in your area for specific months. The significant sources of nectar are bolded in orange.

    Click on the map picture on the main page, then click on your state, and there's your list, beginning with the earliest bloom month and ending with the latest bloom month. Right now for my region, New Hampshire, it shows significant sources are red clover, locust, sumac, basswood, in July will start goldenrod, and in August will start aster. It doesn't show dandelion (or maple) as a significant source in April, which surprises me, I figured dandelion would be a significant source. (It's a source, just not bolded in significant.)

    http://honeybeenet.gsfc.nasa.gov/Hon...orage_info.htm

    I didn't realize NASA was interested in honeybees.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: NASA Honey Bee Forage Map

    I'm sorry but that map doesn't match my upstate NY flower blooming sequence (dandelions starting in February, and cucumber and squash flowers in May, here ????), and misses large events like black locust. And everything is marked NON significant source of nectar for honey. So in theory there's nothing here for my bees? What's being hauled into my six and seven box stacks in that case? Good thing I don't plan on harvesting any honey!

    They'd better stick to rocket science, because their botany is out of whack.

    Enj.

  3. #3
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    May 2013
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    Kinder, Louisiana, USA
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    192

    Default Re: NASA Honey Bee Forage Map

    I agree. They show Chinese Tallow as "Non-significant" for my area and it's one of our major flows. ???

  4. #4
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    Default Re: NASA Honey Bee Forage Map

    I agree. Sweet clover, Basswood, White Dutch Clover all not significant, but Milkweed is?

    What book did they read?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: NASA Honey Bee Forage Map

    enjambres, I agree. But what is significant to one is not to others even in the same region. There is a difference between significance and importance. I would say that dandelion is important, but to the whole annual crop it contributes very little compared to the major sources year after year there for "nonsignificant".

    I would say that were Region 10 (which in NY includes The North Country) expanded to include the whole State of NY that would be a better representation of significant floral sources of nectar. Yet Locust would still be non, which has been my experience over the last 28 years.

    Michael Palmer, how would you rate the significance of Locust?

    When I think of nectar sources in NY the Clovers rate as No.1, Goldenrod as No.2, and Asters No.3 for parts of the State other than The North Country. St. Lawrence Co. anyway. Then Basswood No.4, Purple Loostrife No.5 maybe, regionally, Locust No.6, I guess. Buckwheat in the Finger Lakes doesn't yield nectar anymore. Trefoil isn't grown in large enough acreages to be noticeable. Cranberries make almost no contribution to the annual crop. I know of only two places in the State where there is any significant amount of acreage of cranberries grown.

    That's what comes to my mind. What did I forget? Maybe NASA should contact the CIA for some input. I wonder what the source of NASA's information is and whether it is significant. lol
    Last edited by sqkcrk; 06-07-2014 at 06:11 AM.
    Mark Berninghausen
    Squeak Creek Apiaries



  6. #6
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    Default Re: NASA Honey Bee Forage Map

    Maybe we all should send Jaime at NASA our comments and suggestions. I just did.
    Mark Berninghausen
    Squeak Creek Apiaries



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Bakersville, NC
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    44

    Default Re: NASA Honey Bee Forage Map

    The map is pretty right-on for the mountains of western NC for major flows. When several of what they call insignificant sources all bloom together -- it makes for a significant flow though.

    When I moved to the area I asked a respected member of the local bee club what were the major flows here. He proceed to name off all the major and semi-major flows by the weeks of the month. I wrote it all down and that has been remarkably helpful. What a treasure of info.
    Last edited by BlueRidgeBee; 06-07-2014 at 06:39 AM.

  8. #8
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    Jan 2011
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    Athens, OH
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    2,726

    Default Re: NASA Honey Bee Forage Map

    This is a pretty cool tool- http://nassgeodata.gmu.edu/CropScape/ .
    Buy the ticket, take the ride. -H.S. Thompson

  9. #9
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    St. Albans, Vermont
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    Default Re: NASA Honey Bee Forage Map

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    Michael Palmer, how would you rate the significance of Locust?
    Whennthe weather is right I've seen a super. Seems it usually turns cold and wet for the locust bloom…so far not this year. There is hope.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: NASA Honey Bee Forage Map

    I usually count on a week of rain when the locust blooms. This year's locust bloom looks kinda sparse compared to the year before last.
    Mark Berninghausen
    Squeak Creek Apiaries



  11. #11
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    Rensselaer County, NY, USA
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    Default Re: NASA Honey Bee Forage Map

    Well, my black locusts (in northern Rennselaer County, NY near the VT border) are blooming their fool hearts out this year. My house and apiary are smack in the middle of about 4 acres of locust which is literally white with blooms.

    It's warm (80+ F), rain free, and almost calm winds, or at most gentle breezes.

    The whole area is vibrating with the buzz on insects working on those blossoms. Hundreds and hundreds of bumbles (of three different sizes and patterns). Lots of varieties ofother kinds of bees, flies, butterflies, moths are up in the trees. (Along with several species of bug-eating birds who are having a fine time of it, too.0

    But to my surprise, my honey bees aren't working the locusts at all. At first I just assumed that they were up there, but I wasn't seeing them. But when I looked carefully, I saw none. So I got the binoculars (many of my trees are three stories tall). Nope, no honey bees. Next I dug out the spotting telescope and looked for a couple of hours yesterday and still no bees among the many bugs on the flowers. Then I put on my tree climbing gear and got my head right up among the flowers. No bees seen on the fully open racemes of flowers high in the trees, which was exactly the same as what I'd seen on lower branches when standing on the ground.

    I am completely perplexed by this because I have assumed for ages that black locusts were a really big deal for bees. If I take the fresh flowers and suck hard on them I can get a tiny, perceptible jot of nectar that tastes sweet to me. Obviously there are many bees and insects getting some nectar from these flowers or there wouldn't be this deep buzz overhead. Is there a physiological mismatch between these locusts (at least with the phenotype on my farm) and my honey bees' proboscises? (My bees are all of unknown, mutt origin from local swarms.) I don't recall them working the locusts last year, either, in the few days after they arrived and before they were cut out of the barn walls. (But I was too-new a beekeeper at that point to realize the significance of that.)

    Perhaps Black Locust (Robinnia pseudoacacia) which is not native to the north country - though widely naturalized - has some sub-types which combine the ability to survive and prosper out of its original range but have a slight physical difference in flower shape that makes them unuseable to honey bees, or at least my honey bees? Yet, just yesterday I was asking local beekeepers about black locusts and was told that they are super nectary plants. I wonder, though, if they like I have always just assumed the buzz overhead was from honeybees, when it is actually from non-honeybees?

    Or maybe there's something unusual about the locusts' nectar this year. It's a very interesting question.

    Luckily my bees are finding forage elsewhere as they are hauling pollen (and presumably nectar) in by the boatload.

    I suppose the good news is that at least in my area, bumble bees appear to be holding their own population-wise.

    Enj.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: NASA Honey Bee Forage Map

    Same thing happened at my house last year or the year before. Stupendous locust bloom. I could hear bees in the trees. There were 60 colonies across the road. My bees could have walked to the locust trees. Not one honeybee in sight in those trees. Bumbles and hylicted bees, but no honeybees.

    I don't believe in Locust Honey.
    Mark Berninghausen
    Squeak Creek Apiaries



  13. #13
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    Clifford Township, PA
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    Default Re: NASA Honey Bee Forage Map

    We didn't have black locusts up in Maine but now that I'm down here in NE Pennsylvania, the buzz seems to be all about locust trees. I had to look them up (while at work of course) so I could see how to identify them. When I left work at the end of the day, I found that the trees my truck was parked under were black locusts in full bloom. Did I see any honey bees on them? Not a one. Went out to check the next day on coffee breaks and lunch and didn't see a single bee. Been checking since and no sign. Now the petals are dropping into my truck bed and there is a cloud of locust petals following me as I leave work. While it is pretty, it doesn't encourage me to place my faith in the power of the black locust tree.

    Of course, my experience doesn't prove a thing and perhaps in some areas near here it may be a major source of nectar. My bees are bringing in lots so they must be getting it from somewhere. There is so much blooming around here and the idea of nectar-source loyalty may be coming into play. After so many years of beekeeping in very cold climates, it seems there are just too many dishes on the bees' banquet table for them to be able to gorge on everything.

    Unscientifically,
    Wayne

  14. #14
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: NASA Honey Bee Forage Map

    Maybe there is a window during each day when Locust is most attractive. Or maybe it's the variety. Honey Locust, maybe? I do recall the Locust trees in Williamsburg,VA, ages ago, teeming w/ honeybees. So some locusts somewhere sometimes do produce nectar that honeybees forage from. Just not where I live when I am looking.
    Mark Berninghausen
    Squeak Creek Apiaries



  15. #15
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    Default Re: NASA Honey Bee Forage Map

    Honey Locust (Gleditsia triacanthos var. inermis.) is not related to Black Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) except by sharing a similar-sounding common name.

    I will ask around locally and see if I can locate a black Locust with observed heavy honeybee foraging and try to get some seeds or cuttings off it to propagate. Someone I discussed this with over the weekend said sometimes you can see nectar dripping off the blossoms which does sound more like Gleditsia than Robinia, to me.

    The good news is that it used to be that I cultivated the black locusts here on the farm as fence-post material. Then, after I got bees, cutting them was proscribed. But if the bees ignore the flowers, the young ones can go back the work as fence posts-to-be.

    Enj.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: NASA Honey Bee Forage Map

    The NASA site isn't completely relevant?

    Next you'll tell me a govt. agency is off its rockers.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: NASA Honey Bee Forage Map

    Quote Originally Posted by NewbeeInNH View Post
    The NASA site isn't completely relevant?

    Next you'll tell me a govt. agency is off its rockers.
    Nah, I just wonder what book they read. They certainly didn't ask any beekepers which blooms were significant.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: NASA Honey Bee Forage Map

    Quote Originally Posted by enjambres View Post
    Honey Locust (Gleditsia triacanthos var. inermis.) is not related to Black Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) except by sharing a similar-sounding common name.

    I will ask around locally and see if I can locate a black Locust with observed heavy honeybee foraging and try to get some seeds or cuttings off it to propagate. Someone I discussed this with over the weekend said sometimes you can see nectar dripping off the blossoms which does sound more like Gleditsia than Robinia, to me.

    The good news is that it used to be that I cultivated the black locusts here on the farm as fence-post material. Then, after I got bees, cutting them was proscribed. But if the bees ignore the flowers, the young ones can go back the work as fence posts-to-be.

    Enj.
    I saw a semi today that had Honey Locust across the airfoil. Turns out there is a Honey Locust Trucking Company.
    Mark Berninghausen
    Squeak Creek Apiaries



  19. #19
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    Default Re: NASA Honey Bee Forage Map

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    Nah, I just wonder what book they read. They certainly didn't ask any beekepers which blooms were significant.
    Read the page Michael. It tells you what sources they used.
    Mark Berninghausen
    Squeak Creek Apiaries



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