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I have only been bee keeping for 2 years in the St. Lawrence river valley of NYS. How do I know when we are having a dearth? I just keep a feeder out all the time but would rather not do that if possible.
 

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hopefully somebody closer to you comments, but you probably dont have much of a summer dearth, if at all. maybe the beginning of august after linden trees but before goldenrod. learn to identify blooming trees and keep a record from year to year. some years the goldenrod does not produce much nectar and you may need to feed to get to winter weight. springtime feeding is more about if the weather be nice for bees to get out and forage.
 

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I can tell here when the hummingbirds begin to mob my hummingbird feeders.
 

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Beards at the entrances at midday when they should be gathering nectar. Usually accompanied by bad attitude.

You really shouldn't have a feeder out when supers are on.
 
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