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Sitting in Ft Walton for a few days. We try and get down here once or twice a year as it's an easy 6+ hr drive from home. It's probably 55-60F with a bit of cool wind and a bit of snow back home on top of 2" from a few days ago.

I know a lot of large scale package people are in south GA. But recently I've thought about getting a piece of property in FL to take a bee vacation and get some queens raised or generally take advantage of temps.

The valley areas near us in TN are 5-6F warmer almost year-round and spring hits almost a full 2 weeks earlier. I work in McMinnville TN which is one of the largest nursery growing areas in the country, so pollen of all sorts by March 1.

So realistically, how far into FL do you have to get to have year-round brooding? .... or an early start? ...... how early?
 

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5 ,8 ,10 frame, and long Lang
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Hi Joe
I guess I would try for the "early Start"
I would think Late feb.
you would need , Drones, nice weather for mating, pollen sources, nectar sources.

Google "Southern Fla Beekeepers" and call a few and ask those who "do"
looks to be an association of Southern Fla

Maybe also check the swarm date thread for Fla here on BS, for the "natural" timing.

GG
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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psm lives on the FL/AL line and he has said he has year round brooding. I suspect just about anywhere in the Sunshine State will be warm enough, but certainly anything
south of the lake.
 

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RAST is right. Year round brooding, but not year round mating. I usually start making queens about the third weekend in February. I am roughly 50 - 60 miles north of Fort Walton, between Baker and Andalusia.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I am in Citrus and S Lake County's. Year round brood, but no drones til Feb.
So drones must be a length of day thing.?.
RAST is right. Year round brooding, but not year round mating. I usually start making queens about the third weekend in February. I am roughly 50 - 60 miles north of Fort Walton, between Baker and Andalusia.
Cool! We came up through there yesterday, through the Conecuh Forest and all. My question was essentially whether I would have to get any farther south than Ft Walton to make it happen but it sounds like there's not a ton of difference if we are all waiting on drones.

Side note: Do they regularly burn something on the west/northwest side of the road going through that forest? The last 2 times we've been through there it looked like a major brush fire. Once we got out a little farther north it looked like either a 1/2 mile fire or 5 nuclear plants side-by-side. Something was definitely throwing off smoke/steam etc.
 

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You will find a few drones in your hives all year round, but I would not want to rely on those guys to mate. The hives will start brooding up in early January and drone brood will come in early. If you graft or split around the 3rd weekend in February, you will have plenty of sexually mature drones by the time your virgins fly off to be mated in the 2nd week of March or so. I have never been sure if the brood cycle was driven more by daylight hours or by pollen availability. Both increasing now.

The Conecuh Forest is a well-managed Natrional Forest. They control burn hundreds of acres every winter. Call me strange, but I absolutley love that smell. You passed a small grain bin that has been converted to a farm market at the intersection of Hwy 137 and US 29. They are closed until spring, but I sell my honey there. Three Notch Honey. Of course it is much better than any one else's. And cures all kinds of ailments. I have magic bees.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Joe, I suspect all you would gain is about three weeks. You climate is similar to mine and I should have mature drones in early March. I also have overwintered drones right now but they are worthless for mating. Queen rearing will start the week after I find capped drone cells in my hives. Of course, I am ready to go, NOW. It's gonna be a long five weeks.
 

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They are closed until spring, but I sell my honey there. Three Notch Honey. Of course it is much better than any one else's. And cures all kinds of ailments. I have magic bees.
That is SO cool! My wife commented she wanted to stop there but it was closed. Now we know why and also the reason for the fires. I noticed those pines along the road had char on the bark and it was much fresher several years ago. Also no real undergrowth through there which makes for a nice-looking stand of trees. We will definitely pick up some magic honey the next time we come if there's any sign of life. Been by there many times.
Queen rearing will start the week after I find capped drone cells in my hives. Of course, I am ready to go, NOW. It's gonna be a long five weeks.
Preach! I still have a few days off and it's cold and rainy here. Yesterday it was 40F and I had a few bees on a cup of sugar I had left out. I would dearly love to get cracking.

And 3 weeks head start may not be worth it as I'm just playing around anyway. But at least now I know. Still dig the beach, the seafood and fresh fruit. I'm sure any number of folks I know would let me set up in the neighboring valleys which would probably buy me a week. But that would blow the one thing I have here drone-wise, relative isolation.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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I have a house in Ocala and the wife is constantly asking me if I would like to move there so I could do beekeeping year round. We have been in Virginia for 28 years and I have no intention of going someplace where the relative humidity is higher than the actual temperature. Ok, that is a bit of an exaggeration, but not by much.
 

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Ocala would be tempting for many non-beekeeping reasons, but I think that county is an AFB county, or at least next door. Also, probably want to ask around about honey potential. The flow can be hit or miss in that area.
 

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...someplace where the relative humidity is higher than the actual temperature.
My grandpa was raised here around 2K' elevation. He ended up in Miami once back in the late 70s. He told me he sat down on a bench next to another man and both were sweating buckets. "I wouldn't live in this @#$% place if it was deeded to me" he said to the man, and the man agreed.

I am getting like a lizard. We were in Pensacola last fall and walked out of a condo into a shaded area. The heat was tingling on my skin all over. It felt like being microwaved. And for the first time in my life, I liked it. That state makes more and more sense to me the older I get.

I broke down in Ocala late one night in the summer of 1984. I really cool mechanic towed my old Nova to his garage. It was a 6-cyl 230 and needed a head which was $250 locally (almost my entire fortune). I hopped a bus to TN, spent a week visiting my girlfriend (now wife of 35 years), bought a junkyard head for $30 and returned with it in the bottom of a suitcase. He put it on in an afternoon (for ~150) and I drove back to North Palm Beach. A truck driver about 30 years old had been on the bus for 18hrs and Greyhound was due to stop like 1000 more times before his home in Ft Lauderdale. He jumped off with me in Ocala, waited for the car to be fixed and rode down with me. That evening I learned to quickly flick bright lights on and off to signal a trucker that they had room to cut in front of me. They would all double tap their brake lights. He said, "That means thank you". I have done that to signal truckers for 36 years.

Didn't mean to write a novel, but thanks for the memories of Ocala. First rate guy towed the car, pulled the head, called around, pulled the car back out and waited a week for me to bring a part back. Good times.
 
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