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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Is there a formal listing on a website? I looked at the 'post your flow' forum but its not organized well.

I'm in coastal ct.
 

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When the front of your hive looks like a machine gun firing bee bullets both outbound and inbound, you just may have a flow going.
 

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Put out a plate of honey. If your bees ignore it, then there is a flow. If 1000 bees mob the plate, then there is a dearth. Works every time.
 

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When you see them working something like black locust you will know -- if you stand in front of the hive you will have bees hitting you from both directions until a couple fly into your ears and sting you to get you to move!

Looks like a big orientation flight from sunup to sundown right now at my hives.

They will also raise a huge crop of brood and fill every available spot with nectar, and start storing honey. Hard to miss, a hive can gain five or more pounds a day. My big hive filled and capped two shallows in two weeks, on top of back filling two medium boxes they had been raising brood in and two whole medium frames that were drone brood.

You won't mistake it when you see it, believe me!

Peter
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Great descriptions, thanks all. Since my one established hive swarmed last week and after I caught them I boxed them up in a medium - wondering if starter hives also collect nectar as vigorously as established hives?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Flowers are usually blooming.
I wish it was that easy! I have three hives and a 1/2 acre of highly manicured trees bushes and flowers. Many many are in bloom and not one of them attracts my honey bees. They do attract bumbles\carpenter bees and just about every other type of pollinator though.

I have a huge specialized azalea and a hawthorne in huge massive bloom right now that is literally about to fly away it has so many bees on them. Just not honey bees.

Grrrrr
 

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I wish it was that easy! I have three hives and a 1/2 acre of highly manicured trees bushes and flowers. Many many are in bloom and not one of them attracts my honey bees. They do attract bumbles\carpenter bees and just about every other type of pollinator though.

I have a huge specialized azalea and a hawthorne in huge massive bloom right now that is literally about to fly away it has so many bees on them. Just not honey bees.

Grrrrr
Then there is something else around that they like better. I noticed that my bees ignored the little cranesbill that is blooming by the millions in the back of the yard while the cherry trees were in bloom. Now the cherries are done, the honeybees are all over the cranesbill. It sounds like you must have lots of good stuff in the area.
 

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Sorry, Belews, your hive weights are misrepresenting field nectar availability. In your area and mine the field nectar peaks in the late Apr/early May timeframe. The slide in weight during that period is when the colony is changing the workforce to prepare for efficient honey storage. They come out of that period prepared to store wintering honey, and what you see is the steep rise in weight that actually occurs on the decline in field nectar availability.

We might add that the word "flow" is often associated with the making of new wax, or excess nectar coming in. That leads to the misconception about the field nectar availability. The overwintered colony does not need waxmaking capability in the early season. The main objective is to create a reproductive swarm during that period. (Trading capped honey for bees to populate a swarm) They supplement the honey with incoming nectar to maintain the overhead capped honey reserve. So, your hive scale sees very little change in late winter, or the buildup period.

More on this sequence can be found in POV, this site.

Walt
 

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What a Killjoy! I'm glad you commented, Walt as I have a question for you. These four hives on the graph have been backfilling like nobody's business. Even my beekeeping neighbor, who has a lot more experience than I, has not seen anything like it. One swarmed yesterday due to crowding (fortunately my 19 year old son was home and managed to catch them...I'm a proud father). This Spring I was reversing the brood boxes and checkerboarding as well. I supered them early as my chart was showing a weight gain and I needed them to draw out some frames. I was so freaked out about the swarm that I removed the queen from my most productive hive and started a nuc before they swarmed as well. Inside I could tell the queen was moving all over the place finding clear comb to lay in. Larvae were scattered about the frames.
So...why are they doing this? How does one "control" it? I've been seeing my weights gain (on the graph) and when I check the supers there is not much going into them. The majority is going into the brood boxes. I have talked to several other beeks who are having the same problem and have not seen it happen this bad before.

Thanx
 

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I didn't mean to side-track this thread, but...
I do have QE's because in an effort to find open comb the queens went into the supers in all 4 hives and started laying. I've not used QE's before this year.
 

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We believe in Queen excluders, and keeping open frames in front of the queen in one deep. No worries about back filling, brood in the supers, or swarming. The hive is controlled.

crazy Roland
 

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About 3 weeks ago my largest colony only consumed a trace of the sugar water I had put in 2 days before. Up until then that colony would have slurped that up in less than one day and the girls would have been licking the dry bowl. That hinted to me that a flow had started; I pulled the bowl out and stopped feeding the rest of my hives immediately.

Phil
 

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B-b,
Don't like to guess or answer a question with more questions. Normally just pass when there is not enough info to make a call. Since you mention reversal, will assume you wintered in double deeps, but it would help to have more data on the early season steps.
Like which box had the basic broodnest when reversed.

As to why you are seeing more positive backfilling than normal, consider how the spring season unfolded. The extra cold late winter retarded developement of both the trees and bees. Low growing stuff, closer to the big heat sink (earth) were not retarded as much. As a result, the "flow" was compacted to a shorter and stronger period. A large number of their favorite sources were blooming in parallel. The bees had the advantage of picking the best of the best.

I may be the only person who believes that the bees have an uncanny skill at reading the season as it unfolds. This opinion stems from the the fact that all colonies in a given location invoke reproduction cut off within a few days of each other, regardless of race or status.

So, this season the bees are behind calendar schedule and presently, there is a crush of forage available. It would not surprise me if they were merely making up for lost time. They have a lot of Plan Bs or work-arounds in their bag of tricks. And swarming is the primary motivation of late winter/early spring.

Walt
 
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