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Is it a given that there is a dearth in late summer, or is it a function of lack of rain? Im in central Alabama and we have had rain most of the summer and there seems to be an abundance of blooming plants but I', not sure if the bees use them. Thanks
 

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What is blooming in your area? Pretty much zip here in northeast GA. It isn't about rainfall, although a lack of rain can reduce nectar availability. It is about the seasonal timing of those nectar producing flowers. Driven more by day length changes.
My test for end of season dearth is my hummingbird feeder. Earlier in the season I have to drain and refill it every couple of days to keep the sugar water from going bad. At the moment the hummers empty it several times each day. Hummingbirds are a bit like bees in that if there is natural nectar available they will ignore sugar water.
PS you might want to go to your profile and add your location. I know that you said you were in Alabama but in the future when you ask for or offer advice it might help others get context without you having to include it in the text of every message.
 

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Summer dearths seem pretty common. high temperatures can affect pollen viability so most plants have evolved to limit their reproduction during times of high heat or water stress. Once it starts to cool down and the sun starts to set lower in the sky, the fall blooms will begin. Just make sure you're colonies don't starve until then. Where I am, we have to feed from August to winter since we have no fall flow.
 
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