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To the old timers or at least more experienced than myself. Other than a good honey flow, what determines a good or great honey year? Does it have to do with wet springs and dry summers or cold springs and wet summers? When was the last really good honey year, here in the Pacific Northwest? Thanks for any insight.
 

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To the old timers or at least more experienced than myself. Other than a good honey flow, what determines a good or great honey year? Does it have to do with wet springs and dry summers or cold springs and wet summers? When was the last really good honey year, here in the Pacific Northwest? Thanks for any insight.
I'm an old guy but not an old timer. This is my 3rd year keeping bees. I would consider spring 2013 to spring 2014 a good year if my 3 colonies survive.

Here in Maryland I was told by the state honey bee inspector that 2013 was the worst year on record for honey production. His assessment is certainly consistent with my experience. Hopefully 2014 will be a better year.
 

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For our area rainfall is most important. More rain the better, as long as its not days of rain. We had good rains last year, ie large plants with buds and good seed crop. I expect this year to be exceptional if temps and rain cooperate.

The prior year is important for seed and plant develop, the current year important for rate of honey flow, good bloom quality etc.
 

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If I could make the perfect honeyflow conditions for my area, it would be having two separate 3/4" rains every week, with the rain coming just after dark and continuing until about midnight, then drying out and having day after day of partly cloudy skies and 80-90 degrees. These conditions could continue from May 1st till August 15th. How's that for a dream flow?
 

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welcome to Florida, except for the cloudy days, Had my first swarm Friday,will start making splits, queens ready to hatch, plenty of pollen.
 

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I have hives that are not too far north of you, west of Eugene and some here in Camas. I don't see much difference from year to year in honey production. The timing changes a little depending on when the rains stop, but blackberries are the biggest producer normally.
 

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What determines a good or great honey year? My guess would be plenty of nectar and pollen from the flower blossom all year long. I choose to provide them with plenty of these thru out the growing seasons from early Spring to late October. There are plenty of good honey producing flowers and plants for them. Bee bee trees and borage on July thru August when there is a dearth here every year. There is a good thread on the Garden/Planting for Bees forum on which to plant.
The rains only help these existing plants and flowers to flourish more ready for mother nature to do her work. I think the water and plants you can control to a certain extent somewhat too. So what is on your list of favorite flowers and plants for your honey bees this year? No flows = no honey! No honey = no money!!
 

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good rain and cooler temps (80's) in summer really extend clover and other continuous flowers. Last year we practically had clover all thru summer until goldenrod, which is unheard off. Then things got dry and hot.
 

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To the old timers or at least more experienced than myself. Other than a good honey flow, what determines a good or great honey year? Does it have to do with wet springs and dry summers or cold springs and wet summers? When was the last really good honey year, here in the Pacific Northwest? Thanks for any insight.
Well, this past summer of 2013 I started with 3 hives; one was a NUC and the other 2 packages….I harvested honey off of all three hives; one did extremely well. Most hives did great up here as compared to other areas of the country. We had a spring/summer of wetter weather than the past few years, but not too many days in a row…cooler nights, sunny warmer days. Lots of dew overnight also. This is in the Catskills. It is definitely location oriented.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thank you everyone, sounds like I should be hoping for rain of and on through summer with some sunny days thrown in there. Good luck to everyone for a great honey harvest for 2014.
 

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You are lucky to have the occasional summer rains. We are into our worse drought yet. We are in our worse year from the last
23 years. This year there will be a 4 stage water conservation implementation. The last stage will be no watering on our lawn and shrubs.
There goes my plan for a flower/veggies bee yard this year. Not sure if this is a good or bad harvest year. We'll see. All I can do is to keep
my bees well fed this summer and hope for the best with no expectation at all.
 
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