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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Bees arriving on or around memorial weekend same as last year.
Package bees from the south and local raised nucs also.

I had hoped to avoid late bees this year by going with local nucs but
even they are building up slow due to the late arrival of spring.

Got into beekeeping so my apple trees would get pollinated but thats not happening again this year with my only two hives dead from winter or other causes .

One more try this year and if i can't get a hive through winter than throwing the towel in on beekeeping. Looks like expenditures for this hobby nearing 1K with about a $200 payback worth of honey from deadouts.
Slightly discouraged but not beaten yet.
 

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Got into beekeeping so my apple trees would get pollinated but thats not happening again this year with my only two hives dead from winter or other causes .
They gotta bloom first. :) Apple blossom just started here in northern NY State. So maybe they haven't started where you are in Maine. How many trees do you have? Do you prune and spray? If you only have a small number of apple trees, two to 20, the native pollinators will probably do a good enough job. It's not like you need each and every last flower pollinated, unless you are depending on your trees for income.

If you don't prune and spray you won't have much of a crop either. Supplemental pollination is only one part of the whole program when it comes to making a nice looking apple. Pollination results in a cosmetic effect as much as anything. Honeybees make what fruit there is better, they don't make the fruit itself.
 

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@woodsy - you need to look harder and network with other beekeepers. I was able to get package bees in mid April within 50 miles of you this year. Maybe two weeks ordering notice. If I had gotten on a list mid winter I could have decreased my need to travel. Bees were available if you knew where to look.

My apples here are just starting to leaf out - not even a hint of bloom yet.

I've been seeing bees placed for wild blueberry pollination and likewise there is not a hint of bloom in my blueberries. Things are running late this year bloom wise.
 

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I've been seeing bees placed for wild blueberry pollination and likewise there is not a hint of bloom in my blueberries. Things are running late this year bloom wise.
Can't get all of them there at the exact right time. They have to arrive early so they don't arrive late.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I only have a 1/2 dozen apple trees but despite good blooms the last 2
years i have only had a couple dozen apples from them . So the native pollinators have been very light and part of that has to do with earlier than normal blooms both the past couple years.
If i could have had some honey bees handy then things probably would have been different and got some decent harvest.
I prune and spray some to make a better crop.
Starting to see pink on a Harrelson now.
I may get lucky with native pollinators this year seeing everything is a couple weeks late at least .
I ordered overwintered nucs in early feb this year when
they were about 1/2 sold. Not sure about going with packages again after 2 early dead outs last winter.
Dandelions are starting to bloom too.
 

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What do you do for pre-winter prep? Do you treat for mites in late summer? Do you wrap and/or insulate your hives? Do you use a quilt box on top? Do you feed sugar during the winter (if needed) and ready to feed pollen sub as the brood re-starts in late March?

All of these things may help you over-winter your bees, which would solve the problem of late arrivals because they would already be there.

Don't imagine I am from the South - I am north of Albany, NY so my climate is rigourous, too, and what I listed above got my three first-year hives through the winter just fine. (Though depending on where you are in Maine, your climate may be even colder.) Those of us who have to contend with nearly six months of the year of winter have to take it seriously, or we'll loose bees more often than keep them.

Enj.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
to add to enjambres excellent post. consider requeening with a queen from the north in late summer. I am north of lake Ontario.
Very good suggestion .
A recent in state project here concluded that packages that were requeened with northern raised queens had over double the survival rate of the packages that were not requeened.
Looks like 50 hives were used in the study. This from the MSBA members beeline newsletter.
 

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I believe Erin has said that the Northern Queens were a mix of those from Mike Palmer and Bob Brachman. I know Erin is a fan of Mike's queens as am I.
 
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