The main flow in my part of Wisconsin is right now. At the moment in my neighborhood, all clovers are in bloom, there is Birdsfoot Trefoil everywhere, sumac is beginning as is Knapweed. This medley of blooms will run through up to August. There will be a little lull, and then the Goldenrod and the Asters will finish the year off. Then next year will start with Maple, willow, dandelion, and fruit bloom. I saw that average yields per hive in WI were 80 lb's and this year I expect I'm going to make that.
It is a great place to raise bees and make honey. Of course we do have interesting winters...
Beginnerhives = I am just north of you in N,E,Jefferson and E, Dodge. This Thursday, at 3 in the afternoon, the flow started. The flight of the bees changed.I agree with Sutton and Adrian, with the addition of:
3 days after a daytime rain, sooner if the rain was at night.
The flow usually slows down if it gets too dry. Picks up after the rain.
Can't quite figure out what's the haps with another fellow Wisconsin Beekeeper. I've got 5 hives in Ferryville, back in the valleys a couple of miles.
The nectar and pollen inbound to the hive is slow, only one hive is really rocking. I've got clover, pumpkin blossoms, and plenty of other flowers in the valley. No pesticides within two miles so that's pretty cool. But I've got two hives recently combined with no super, a have with two supers, a have with one super, and another with one super. Neighbors I've seen have six supers installed. Makes me feel small.
I've got new equipment I made myself, Pierco plastic frames. The packages came from Dadant last year and wintered well. One of the hives is a split I created from a package I purchased in Elburn, IL. The original hive has three supers on it here in my backyard at home in the western suburbs of Chicago.
I can't tell you about the larvae because I haven't seen them in a week and last I saw them I wasn't looking for wet, shiny, liquid or dry. I'll have that answer for you next week.
Sqkcrk - Your Mr. Palmer must have taught his bees to read the Farmer's Almanac.
Mxr618- Ferryville is on the Mississippi? Near Viroqua? The used equipment question was directed tword some equipment sold at an auction near Boscobel last year that I believe may have been contaminated. Ruled that out as a problem. Are you in a valley that is slow to warm? Just because your neighbors up there have lots of supers on, does not mean that they have the bees to fill them. We have seen yards onlya few miles apart develop at vastly different rates. Please report back in after you visit them next. I am curious also.
Mxr618 - In these valleys, there are many variables in weather/flora which makes different bee yards challenging in terms of timing for flows. For example, right now I have yards that are on only two supers, and others that have four (thistle, clover, birdsfoot trefoil, alfalfa). But I also have yards that are very heavy on the late summer/autumn flows (goldenrod/aster, etc). Timing is probably the most important lesson to be learned in beekeeping.
Well Roland, Mike manages his bees aboutas well as anyone I have known. And he works at it. I'm not saying that all of his hives hit the mark every year, but I bet alot of them do.
Besides, I was originally stating an ideal. that being that the thing we as beekeepers most want to do is have the largest population of bees in our hives at the right time of the year so that they can exploit the nectar source to the most benefit of the colony and thereby the beekeeper. That's the ideal, the goal. I've maybe only hit the bulls eye once in 20 years, but it was good.
How do you manage yours? To what goal? When do you want them to have the maximum pop.?
Apparently the best time for a nectar flow is right now.
I went across the road from my house to strap down some supers that are on the deck of my truck, which is sitting amongst 40 hives and 20 some 5 frame nucs.
Just to see what I might see, I pried the migratory cover off of a hive that has three supers above the two deeps, w/out a smoker, hive tool or veil. The bees are flying pretty hard and I figured if they told me to shut the door I could probably at least see if there were some bees in the top box or not. There are.
So, i went the nextstep. I pried a frame out from the middle to see what I couild see. (kinda like that bear thatwent over the mountain) Nectar in a number of cells in the middle frame.
Yeah, there's a nectar flow on now. And this is a pretty poor honey yard. I'm imagining whqat is going on in the rest of my yards. I'm ready to leave early tomorrow morning for some out yards.
Mapman - thanks for the help, you are near him then?
Sqkcrk- Yes , I strive for the same ideal. Get them at peak when the flow hits, Ours hit last Thursday in the afternoon, the flights in the yard got a purpose to them and there was slop in the brood nest. We manipulate frames alot to keep the brood nest clear for the queen.
No one ever mentions the "momentum factor". We believe that a hive that gets up to strength early looses that excitement of building population(do the field bees get old with nothing to do?), and sometimes does not do as well as the younger hive that hits the mark maybe a little late, but has a younger average age of the bees.
Yes, timing can be everything sometimes. Do you bet on a latter flow(now) and split, or play it safe and get the populations up in case the flow is early and almost done by now(like a couple years ago). We bet the farm on a later flow.
Ok, got a look at the honey supers this afternoon before the skies opened up: whole lot of nothing. No buildout of comb (and honey) in the last two weeks in Ferryville, WI on all four hives.
Very strange. Forage everywhere. I'm pretty bummed. Without looking at the larvae (which I couldn't) I can't figure out what the problem is.
The hives are very active -- even continued outbound flights when the rain started but they just aren't interested. In each of the supers there is a full bar of comb with honey to show the girls where the party is supposed to be.
Any NE Iowa or SW Wisconsin beeks with weather problems?
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