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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone, I see you are posting a request to write down bloom dates. This is an awesome thing. We are doing that here. In addition we are about doing a correlation between Growing Degree Days and Bloom dates and hive development because the growth of the hive is tuned to the flows of nature. I bet we can normalize hive activities all the country based upon this concept because bees do the same thing in Georgia as they do in the hills of New Jersey, but not at the same time. So, I am doing this and we are also charting the GDDs. Meanwhile, I am trying to do my hive management in the Spring based upon a GDD time table and a record of my swarm dates last year. Bloom dates shift from year to year. Growth degree dates are based on real time information. What happens in the hive does so right under your nose, trick is to anticipate the occurrence. My hypothesis is that we can do.
 

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My hypothesis would be that yours is wrong. The general idea behind it is sound, but the generalization of the model assumes that the flora is the same everywhere, which is untrue. Different locales have different flaura, which consists of varying compositions of different plants. Even if you had exactly the same species (which you don't), here's just an example to illustrate how different areas' degree days don't impact the local varieties in the same way:

Let's take grain corn. If you live in southern Québec, you'll get corn varieties whose silk will come out at 1590 UTM (maize thermal unit). If you live a bit more north, though, you'll get corn whose silk comes out at 1170 UTM. Even when talking of not only the same species (corn), but the same type of the same species (grain corn), the plant will not flower at the same number of degree days.

Furthermore, degree days are calculated differently for different plants. For some plants, it's measured on a base of zero degrees, while others, it's on a base of about 5 degrees. This is due to the fact that the minimum temperature for growth is not the same for all plants.

It's a tool you can try to develop for yourself. You'll need a few years' data to try to approximate a base temperature value. However, it's not a tool I think you'll be able to generalize to elsewhere.
 

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Swarm,
Bouncing off Dominic's post, look to natural species, like weeds. Ground ivy, creeping Charlie, is pretty widespread; dead nettle, Bittercress, ajuga, dandelion, henbit, some may be broadly regional. Corn has too many cultivars.
If anyone wants a start of any of these GDD indicators, just let me know.
 

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I, too, think that it may be impossibly complex to work a nationwide "master" schedule that relies on the bloom dates of plants in different locales, even if the plants are the same species.

My Mother had a farm in north VA, up against the Blue Ridge. I live on a farm in northern NY. After she died I inherited her farm and was down there more than up here for 5 years as I wound things down. It was an eyeopener for me because I often felt completely perplexed by the succession of plant growth there compared to what I was used to seeing here. The same "sentinel" plants didn't bloom in the identical sequences and plants stayed in bloom for differing lengths of periods so graudally as the season progressed the plant associations got more and more out of whack. No, I wasn't seeing daffodils in October and trumpet vine in March; the same basic early plants started early in both places (though VA two months before NY) but the blossoming periods were not just latitude-dependent copies of each other. When I was ready to sell the farm I dug lots and lots of plants from tiny bulbs to B&B trees. I finally filled two 26' foot long UHaul trucks just with plants I wanted to move from VA to my NY farm. The first spring after the move the plants were still on a VA progression schedule, but over the years they have slowly reverted and now similar plants from both locations bloom concurrently, even when they would have had different associations down south.

So while GDD is useful locally, I think reported GDD/bloom correlations from different locations may yield inaccurate predictions. I suspect that it's a much more complex and subtle set of seasonal prompts, involving not only temperature, but also day length (especially changes in day length, which varys a great deal from north to south in the US), sun orientation, night minimums, wind, especially when dealing with the difference between mid-continental climate conditions vs. coastal and "near" coastal (say up to 150 mi. inland) and near the Great Lakes. Altitude probably also plays a big role as well.

Not to mention things that many non-botanists may not be aware of. For instance to my surprise last Fall I discovered that just in NY, alone, there are 70 different species of goldenrod. So when someone says their goldenrod flow is on, which species are they talking about? I suspect they assume that their "goldenrod" is everybody else's goldenrod, and that is simply not true.

But I do think that long-term, careful records of local conditions will be very useful to local beekeepers. I have lived here for a quarter century and find that my farm notebooks are very accurate predictors of what milestones of the growing season I can expect to see next, even though over that length of time I've experienced a wide range of variation from year to year in temps, rain, summer droughts and frigid winters. Now, I'm studying my notes, which because I am a fruit and vegetable farmer were intended to cover plant-centric events (weather, rainfall, blooms, pest emergence, etc.,) to see what info I can extract that will be useful in the management of my bees.

Enj.
 

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Swarm,
Bouncing off Dominic's post, look to natural species, like weeds. Ground ivy, creeping Charlie, is pretty widespread; dead nettle, Bittercress, ajuga, dandelion, henbit, some may be broadly regional. Corn has too many cultivars.
If anyone wants a start of any of these weeds, just let me know.
Corn has too many cultivars? I would disagree. We end up with thousands and thousands of acres of clone corn. How much clonal dandelion do we have? Almost none. All of the weeds you mention are not the subject of heavy selection pressure, hybridization, or mass vegetative duplication. Pretty much all individual plants are genetically unique. Corn genetic diversity therefore pales in comparison. Even if there is a seemingly large number of cultivars (just because we give them names or numbers), each one is present countless times in the environment.
 

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Dominic,
I understand what you were saying now, the "same" genotype of corn expresses differently geographically. Darn fickle corn with all those different sets of genes. Is the same seed corn grown everywhere? I suppose you are right that there may be more genetic variation in a weed's adaptation to various climes.
However, in the pursuit of the holy grail, there is much to be learned, even if the goal is not attained, like just identifying forage plants.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for what you said-Length of Day and Length of Night might also might add a handle.
1st and foremost is records good records, then some indicator plants, and then reference what happens in the hive, then stop the swarm , grow the bees, and make good honey. I like it all/

Regards,
Swarm-King
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hi Dominic! You are right about this in general and in specific maybe regarding corn. However, we are more concerned about select indicator plants in specific areas. Dandys are a good one but they are late for me and my swarm dates. I need something earlier. I know that farmers fly by the wire and fine tune their time like no other folks. That being said, I think we know we might be able to fine tune records by looking at GDDS using a standard baseline. I am thinking we need something which has some data published. Cornell and a few other places give us GDDs using a 50 degree base. Anyway, I'm going windmill tipping. I'm normalized to 50 degrees on my swarm dates. So I shall see, and we shall see. My first shot at this will be inside the 30 GDD window, using a 50 degree baseline/

Regards, Mon ami!

My people were from Nova Scotia and relocated to Louisiana many moons ago. Something about the English.. So-they say I am Cajun. So bee well/ and thanks for the insight.

Swarm_King

My hypothesis would be that yours is wrong. The general idea behind it is sound, but the generalization of the model assumes that the flora is the same everywhere, which is untrue. Different locales have different flaura, which consists of varying compositions of different plants. Even if you had exactly the same species (which you don't), here's just an example to illustrate how different areas' degree days don't impact the local varieties in the same way:

Let's take grain corn. If you live in southern Québec, you'll get corn varieties whose silk will come out at 1590 UTM (maize thermal unit). If you live a bit more north, though, you'll get corn whose silk comes out at 1170 UTM. Even when talking of not only the same species (corn), but the same type of the same species (grain corn), the plant will not flower at the same number of degree days.

Furthermore, degree days are calculated differently for different plants. For some plants, it's measured on a base of zero degrees, while others, it's on a base of about 5 degrees. This is due to the fact that the minimum temperature for growth is not the same for all plants.

It's a tool you can try to develop for yourself. You'll need a few years' data to try to approximate a base temperature value. However, it's not a tool I think you'll be able to generalize to elsewhere.
 
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