After a facebook poster on my AG page mentioned Solar Minimums for the potential cause of the cool weather, I kicked myself for not having thought of it myself.
Rather than assuming the weather patterns have just been 'bad luck' I'd like to try to figure out possible reasons for it so I can plan future season's with a realistic outlook.
While my weather is a lot better than a lot of the rest of the country, it's been challenging to say the least to get a start on the season. Like last year I'm at least 3 weeks behind in nuc and queen production. Very few foraging days, too cool for syrup take up, hive growth at a crawl ( I am not migratory and stay in a Northern location), grafted queen cells ready soon I may have to throw away, etc.
Trying to make sense of the cool rainy weather and predict the challenges of future seasons.
As of now, for next years orders, I'm planning to change my availability dates a full month later than what I've been able to achieve in past years. Last year was the same as this year. Winter just wouldn't let go, everything including blooming and flow dates were a month late.
Sucks in an already short season area.
From the internet:
WHEN IS THE SOLAR MINIMUM?
The minimum for this 11-year sunspot cycle is expected in 2019 to 2020. It doesn’t meant the Sun goes dormant; the solar activity just changes form.
During solar minimum, sunspots and solar flares subside. The Sun’s ultraviolet output will dramatically decrease and the upper atmosphere of the planet may cool, among other noticeable shifts.
Also, we can see the development of longtime coronal holes—vast regions in the Sun’s atmosphere where the magnetic field opens up and allows solar streams to escape the Sun; this can cause space weather effects such as auroras as well as disruptions to communications and navigation systems.
The Sun’s record-breaking sleep ended in 2010. Sunspots started increasing slowly through 2011.
In February of 2012, sunspots peaked at 66.9, and then had a lull in activity until late 2013, when numbers began to slowly climb.
April of 2014 gave us a second peak at 81.9. Many cycles are double peaked, however, this is the first time the second peak was larger than the first peak (in February, 2012).
During 2015, monthly sunspots declined steady to their 50’s. During 2016, monthly sunspot numbers dropped to their 30’s and they just kept going down.
In 2017, monthly sunspot numbers declined to their 20’s.
In 2018, sunspot numbers are expected to drop further into the teens.
Sunspot counts have reached their lowest level in over 5 years.
I like the science behind this theory. No use kicking a dead horse if weather the next few years is likely to be poor for early production. Schedule adjustments may be imminent, short term goals readjusted to incorporate the reality of the (possible) situation.