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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
All other variables being equal (temp, humidity, wind, etc) is there more nectar flow when it's sunny?

I live in a pretty overcast area and it seems like the bees are more active when the sun comes out. Got me wondering if nectar flow increases when the sun comes out. And, if so, why?
 

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"Can nectar be impacted by rainy days? Simply put, the rain can wash away the nectar in the plant blossom. Honey production can be deeply impacted when there are days and weeks of rain. Tupelo and Sourwood harvest have seen several years of no honey production due to lengthy periods of rain during the short nectar flow of these nectar sources.

The best type of nectar flow is warm sunny days and some rains in the evening."
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It makes sense that lack of sunshine would affect nectar production since photosynthesis relies on energy from the sun.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Thanks Boondocks. Makes sense that rain would affect nectar flow. I'm wondering more about sunny vs overcast.

Photosynthesis makes sense as an explanation but I wonder if it's fast enough to make a difference in a short period of time (like an afternoon). Increased evapotranspiration is another possible explanation but I don't know if that holds up.
 

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Thanks Boondocks. Makes sense that rain would affect nectar flow. I'm wondering more about sunny vs overcast.

Photosynthesis makes sense as an explanation but I wonder if it's fast enough to make a difference in a short period of time (like an afternoon). Increased evapotranspiration is another possible explanation but I don't know if that holds up.
Per this site:
Although the rate of photosynthesis differs between plant species and environmental factors, it is possible to determine the exact rate of photosynthesis of a particular plant. In an experiment conducted at the University of Colorado, the rate of photosynthesis accomplished by deciduous tree leaves was tested. In this experiment, it was determined that the leaves tested processed 44.14 ppm (parts per million) of carbon dioxide gas in each minute of photosynthesis for every gram of leaf surface.

So it looks like it is a fast process.
 

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All other variables being equal (temp, humidity, wind, etc) is there more nectar flow when it's sunny?

I live in a pretty overcast area and it seems like the bees are more active when the sun comes out. Got me wondering if nectar flow increases when the sun comes out. And, if so, why?
the bees like it warm to be active, then on a warmish day collect what ever nectar they find.
not likely the sunshine creates the nectar that creates the bee activity.
the thorasic muscles of the bee need to be a 80 some degrees to fly.
so when it is cooler they fly less often and less distance.

IMO water is needed for a good flow, when it is dry the plants do not have as much nectar.

GG
 

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I myself think that in addition to ambient temperatures of the weather at the moment, sunlight causes a radiant heat gain for the bees when it shines on them. It also causes radiant heat gain for the colony itself as the sunlight hits the hive boxes. Warmer bees on sunlit days give more activity than cloudy overcast days.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for these replies. Radiant heating of the hive/ bees definitely makes sense. I'll watch and see if the burst of activity when the sun comes out still happens when the ambient temps are high enough that heat isn't a limiting factor. It's still fairly cool here in Vermont.

I wonder if the radiant heat principle could affect flowers too causing them to open and/or have a short term bump in nectar production?
 

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Thanks for these replies. Radiant heating of the hive/ bees definitely makes sense. I'll watch and see if the burst of activity when the sun comes out still happens when the ambient temps are high enough that heat isn't a limiting factor. It's still fairly cool here in Vermont.

I wonder if the radiant heat principle could affect flowers too causing them to open and/or have a short term bump in nectar production?
Warmth speeds up most chemical processes, I know I get out of bed faster when it is warm! : )
 

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Burlington, Vt is an overcast area? Not sure what you mean by that unless you moved there from Florida. Pretty sure you get average sunshine. But to your question, bees need warm weather to forage. Doesn't matter if it is sunny. Flowering plants and trees need warm weather and rain to produce flowers, doesn't matter if it is "sunny". What I have noticed is too much sun and not enough rain means decreased nectar.
As you know, vt has been in moderate drought conditions since last year. Last year was spectacular for foraging days and flowers were abundant, but my honey crop was sub par. So I would rather have more overcast days if that means some showers, than a day of wall to wall sun. J
 

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I wonder if the radiant heat principle could affect flowers too causing them to open and/or have a short term bump in nectar production?
I have read that differing flowers will produce nectar dependent on differing ambient temperatures of the day. Some flowers will bloom in the earlier day when it's not as hot, others wait 'till later when the heat is on. Radiant temps may play a role as well, and so may photosynthesis from sunlight.
 

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I do NOT believe sunshine increases the nectar flow. I DO believe that sunshine increases the sugar content of the nectar flow.

Crazy Roland
 

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The Hive and the Honey Bee, on page 413 of the 1992 Revised Edition, says that sunlight is of primary importance in the production of nectar.
 

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I was thinking about this question. It really takes sunlight, water, and various nutrients to produce nectar. I know if I raise fruit in cold and cloudy conditions the sugar content will be down and thus not much flavor. I think we can apply this to nectar. Sunlight in drought conditions and rain without sunlight will both lead to lower nutrition for insects and animals.
 
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