Apps or Ideas for recording bloom cycles
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  1. #1
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    Nov 2015
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    Austin, TX
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    Default Apps or Ideas for recording bloom cycles

    Does anyone keep a pollination journal as a way to compare information over the years? Things like first blooms, color of pollen bees are bringing in, what plants bees are working and the dates.

    Is there an app you would suggest for keeping these kinds of notes?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Knox, Pa. USA
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    Default Re: Apps or Ideas for recording bloom cycles

    All that kind of stuff is interesting when you first start. Then you realize it takes all your time just to figure out and manage your hives from year to year.

    BTW Welcome to beesource!

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
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    Henry, Illinois, USA
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    Default Re: Apps or Ideas for recording bloom cycles

    One idea would be to take pictures of the pollen on the bee knees as the bees enter the hive. Figure out where it came from and record what provided it with a picture of the plant and date. Make a free website and collect on advertisement. Later expand by allowing others to post the same information in their area. Make a world map. When you have beautifully complete data charge for pro access.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
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    Ottawa, ON
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    Default Re: Apps or Ideas for recording bloom cycles

    As a hobbyist I've kept a simple journal for 6 years. I find it useful. My hives are a mile away so each visit is a planned excursion for a reason. I record what I did at the hives, what is blooming, general weather conditions etc. I know when I made splits, when I reversed, when I treated and with what. I find it useful to review past years activities as I enter each major period in the new year.

    I follow the dictum you can't manage what you don't measure. The journal tells me what I did and what happened.

    I use a cheap note book and pencil.

    Regards Peter
    Ottawa. ON

  6. #5
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    Red Bud, IL, USA
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    Default Re: Apps or Ideas for recording bloom cycles

    I use Excel for my record keeping but it's not overly complex; as Tenbears points out it all takes time and more hives and complexity means more time. I have one column that identifies the basic reason for the note (out yard/hive, bloom, splits, harvest, or whatever observation/info I feel significant to remember) by sorting and filtering I can segregate by hive, bloom note or whatever. The nice thing is you can start out as complex as you want while you sort out "important" from the "nice to have but not worth the time." Recommend you stay consistent with your "naming convention" or learn how to create drop down lists.

  7. #6
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    Feb 2011
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    cool ridge, wv, USA
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    195

    Default Re: Apps or Ideas for recording bloom cycles

    check out eversweet apiaries website- they have some nice charts for bloom times, pollen colors and sources......

  8. #7
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    Mar 2014
    Location
    West Chester, PA
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    Default Re: Apps or Ideas for recording bloom cycles

    I attempted this my first year. My goal was to record the dates of when certain blossoms appeared, then use that information as a local indicator for the start of the peak nectar flow. I found it nominally helpful to know that I needed to get my supers on the hives generally by mid-April, but I already knew that. It might help to know that I had a few days more or less in the schedule, but I concluded it really wasn't worth tracking for hive management. It was fun to do as a hobby with the kids though!

    Jim.

  9. #8
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    Feb 2006
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    Default Re: Apps or Ideas for recording bloom cycles

    I've been working on tracking bloom dates on a simple excel spreadsheet since 2006. Blooms are down the side of the sheet in sequential order, and the years are in columns across the top. Takes no time at all to fill in the dates as you go. I don't worry about recording pollen color or other information, just bloom dates. I keep a separate journal for inspection notes.

    I've found the bloom information to be helpful in planning my beekeeping activities, especially in the spring. Early in the spring when referencing the recorded dates you are able to predict when certain species will be blooming later on based on past historical trends. It helps me with swarm management, splitting, and supering plans.

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  10. #9
    Join Date
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    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
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    Default Re: Apps or Ideas for recording bloom cycles

    Just wondering how the average of "5-Oct" and 2-Oct" can be "2-Oct"?
    (See "Aster peak")

    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  11. #10
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    Jun 2011
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    Default Re: Apps or Ideas for recording bloom cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by beebqueen View Post
    Does anyone keep a pollination journal as a way to compare information over the years?
    We do, it's a simple setup on a wiki running on a server in my closet. For the first year, it's interesting. Second year, it was almost as interesting, third year it became 'enlightening'. The real big thing we have taken from this exercise, most of the time we see some form of bloom starting, we think 'wow, that is early this year'. Example, we saw the first hazelnut tassles this year on Jan 17, and we immediately both said, awfully early this year. BUT, going back into the notes from years gone past, reality is, we said that every year, and, every year hazelnut tassles come at roughly the same time give or take a few days.

    Having this journal, combined with multiple years of data from the scale hive, has turned into an invaluable resource for planning. Scale data shows when the hives are putting on weight, bloom journal shows what's blooming at the time. I cross reference them, and I now know what to watch for. I can already say with a high degree of certainty, the ornamental plum in front of the house next door is going to bloom next week, and when it blooms, I expect to find a half frame size brood patch in the hives. Last year we started our spring feeding cycle on that cycle, and we had very strong hives by the time salmonberries bloomed, which is when our strong flow arrives. This year, I started the spring supplements on the hazelnut tassles when we saw bees coming in with pollen. That's a 3 week head start over last year, and, if it works out, we get one extra brood cycle prior to the flow, enough for me to take a nuc from each hive and still leave them in good strong condition for that flow.

    Another thing we've found to be quite consistent, there is a patch of thimbleberries by the road in town, always blooms a week before the ones here at the house. If the hives are going to swarm, during thimble berry and salmon berry bloom is the time they do so. The first thimble berry flower beside the road on the way into town is my cue to start a set of grafts so I can put fresh cells into mating nucs for the main flow bloom.

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Apps or Ideas for recording bloom cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by Rader Sidetrack View Post
    Just wondering how the average of "5-Oct" and 2-Oct" can be "2-Oct"?
    (See "Aster peak")


    You got me. Like I said, I don't spend a whole lot of time messing with it. Generalities are good enough for my planning purposes.

    Look at 2012. We had a very mild winter and you can see the maples and early pollen starting up much earlier than "normal". Everything else following it moved up weeks earlier on the calendar right through spring. Rather than the typical early May swarms, we had swarms starting up mid April. A lot of beekeepers were late with reversing and supering, and swarms were through the roof. By comparing current early spring bloom dates this year to the chart I'll be better prepared to begin swarm control management at the correct time. Spring buildup here after dandelion is very robust. Being just a week late in management can be the difference between a good honey yield and unwanted swarming.
    Just another little tool in the box.
    To everything there is a season....

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Durham, NC
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    21

    Default Re: Apps or Ideas for recording bloom cycles

    Do any of the popular tracking apps have places for bloom data?

  14. #13
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    Dec 2010
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    Default Re: Apps or Ideas for recording bloom cycles

    I correlate mine to local rainfall data. I look at a number of rainfall charts and ask my friends with rain gauges. I really don't have enough years here in my environment. Southern California has great plant diversity and the biomes react to different drought years and amounts of rainfall differently. I have not been recording past one major [wet years / dry years] cycle yet, which can run more than a decade. It's looking like this year might complete a dry cycle since 2010, our last wet year.

    If I can get larger areas of very accurate rainfall data superimposed with my flower bloom maps, I'll have a pretty good seat-of-the-pants indicator for where to fly over just prior to moving the bees in a few more years.

    A "drone" R/C airplane with enough range will be a big help, and a lot cheaper than flying. That's down the road a bit, but I'll start building one as I build up another hot wire bow for cutting the foam. Financially speaking, a bigger truck and a Swinger forklift have to come first.

    Out in the Mojave, it was simpler, but far less productive. The most important thing seemed to be bees with long range foraging, and mobility (=> hives on pallets + a truck). Carniolans may have worked better out there, with their tendency to adapt colony size to the situation rapidly.

  15. #14
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    Jan 2011
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    Default Re: Apps or Ideas for recording bloom cycles

    Phenology is the study of when botanical things happen in the yearly cycle. One "happening" that's fairly easy to pin down is 'Leaf Out.'

    This page (https://www.usanpn.org/data/spring) on the National Phenology Network's website shows when 'Leaf Out' is supposedly happening. Another map shows how out of whack it is this year, in each particular spot.

    I asked how they get their maps, and got this lovely response:

    Our maps are generated from models that use historical observations of cloned lilacs and honeysuckles and daily observations from weather stations to predict the set of weather conditions that will precede leaf out in the wide range of plants. For this year's map, we pull in current weather data from locations around the country to predict which locations have experienced the onset of spring, based on the model predictions.

    So here are the maps for yesterday's 'Leaf Out' and 'Leaf Anomaly.'

    160315_leaf_ncep_states.jpg 160315_anomaly_states.jpg

    There's also an attempt to build a network of observers who contribute to a national database of all sorts of phenological events. It's a bit sketchy, but beekeepers might be interested and might get involved... Project BudBurst
    Beekeeping - a form of magic that weaves together two elements: wood and bees.

  16. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    Utica, NY
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    Default Re: Apps or Ideas for recording bloom cycles

    Barry has a sticky post for bloom dates by state. Could be some good data there. Although I am not fond of calendar dates.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

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