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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
From an article in North Carolina.

"After harvesting a bumper crop of sourwood honey in 2020, most Wilkes County beekeepers are finding little to none of this highly-prized product in their hives this month.
It’s unlikely that any Wilkes honey harvested this year is sourwood unless it came from hives at elevations around 2,000 or higher on the Blue Ridge escarpment or within a few miles nearby.

I took one hive to Madison county in Georgia. There were about 20 sourwood trees within 500 feet but hardly any sourwood honey in the super. I noticed there were few flowers and they only lasted a couple of weeks. if that long.
I brought my hive home to start feeding syrup.
 

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From an article in North Carolina.

"After harvesting a bumper crop of sourwood honey in 2020, most Wilkes County beekeepers are finding little to none of this highly-prized product in their hives this month.
It’s unlikely that any Wilkes honey harvested this year is sourwood unless it came from hives at elevations around 2,000 or higher on the Blue Ridge escarpment or within a few miles nearby.

I took one hive to Madison county in Georgia. There were about 20 sourwood trees within 500 feet but hardly any sourwood honey in the super. I noticed there were few flowers and they only lasted a couple of weeks. if that long.
I brought my hive home to start feeding syrup.
Thank you for posting this....I had just asked Bob Binnie on Friday whether or not the blooms on a sourwood tree fell off or they remained on once they nectar flow stopped. Other then just watching the bees I was trying to see if there was a way to tell when the sourwood flow was over. Here in southern WV the mountains are still full of sourwood flowers hanging on the trees but the honeybees seemed to have slowed down compared to a few weeks back.

This was Bob's reply


"When viewing sourwood blooms from even a slight distance it can look like they are still blooming weeks after they are finished. When an individual bloom is finished it simply turns up on the stem instead of pointing down. The seeds are usually mature by late November. We watch the honey supers to tell when the flow is over. We check for color and taste. In our area this year the flow was zero so we didn't have to make much of a judgment".
 

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Never had it but want to try it , of course. Can anyone describe the taste compared to regular, old wildflower honey. Taste is hard to describe, I know but what is its dominant characteristic? J
 

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I took one hive to Madison county in Georgia. There were about 20 sourwood trees within 500 feet but hardly any sourwood honey in the super. I noticed there were few flowers and they only lasted a couple of weeks. if that long.
I brought my hive home to start feeding syrup.
I was running a balancing act with a bit of open-feeding to catch any outliers. Running several minis and keeping them fed without over-feeding has been challenging. My mom left some sourwood around her pond and it's been easy to gauge the blooms in the woods by these trees. The trees usually bloom here for the last 3 weeks of July and this year was no exception. (we are at just under 2000' elevation)

So I tried to button up all the mating nucs and run extra boxes on the main hives to catch the sourwood (i.e. no open feeding). One of my hives put up a few pounds in the center of a medium over the first week. Then it rained (or was overcast) for 10 days or so. After this, I went back to the same frame I had tasted with a hive tool and there was nothing there but wax. So the sourwood does indeed bloom every year, but conditions have to be right for a harvest. I'm not sure what those conditions are, but I now know what they are not. Hives lost weight in July, bees ate the good stuff. Seems fair.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Never had it but want to try it , of course. Can anyone describe the taste compared to regular, old wildflower honey. Taste is hard to describe, I know but what is its dominant characteristic? J

ifixoldhouses may have some for sale. :)
 

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I took one hive to Madison county in Georgia. There were about 20 sourwood trees within 500 feet but hardly any sourwood honey in the super.
I have been keeping bees in Madison County, GA for over twenty years and have never seen any surplus of sourwood here. Typical elevation is around 700 – 900 ft. Plenty of sourwood trees….just very little, if any nectar.
Beekeepers here take hives to higher elevations to produce sourwood. I keep one yard at about 3400 ft in North Carolina. Different story there.
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I took one hive to Madison county in Georgia. There were about 20 sourwood trees within 500 feet but hardly any sourwood honey in the super.
I have been keeping bees in Madison County, GA for over twenty years and have never seen any surplus of sourwood here. Typical elevation is around 700 – 900 ft. Plenty of sourwood trees….just very little, if any nectar.
Beekeepers here take hives to higher elevations to produce sourwood. I keep one yard at about 3400 ft in North Carolina. Different story there.
Yea, after reading and talking to some local folks I found out one really needs the elevation to get sourwood. Bob Binnie talked at the Madison County bee club last night and he repeated he did not get any sourwood.
One fellow from Oconee county said he took his to near Ellijay and he said almost every time he went to check them it was raining. He said he ended up with about 70 pounds with 4 hives up there. The bees were flying through the rain.
 

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I keep one yard at about 3400 ft in North Carolina. Different story there.
I didn't know the elevation would be such a factor. Thanks
The bees were flying through the rain.
Mine were hitting Mom's trees hard in a light rain a few days ago. Lot of bumblebees as well.
 
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