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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What i am asking is when you see something blooming what does that mean in your bee yard. Its hard to say a date but blooms seam more reliable. I think this will help a lot of people.
Example
X bloom=start of swarm season
X bloom=time to super
X bloom=time to rob
X bloom=first round brood
 

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For me, the progression of different blooms does give you a general indication of what might be going on in the hive at that time, but I much prefer to depend on actual hive inspections to know for sure what needs to be done. You're correct, using calendar dates to time manipulations is not the way to go.
 

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When we have goldenrod, that's the last major nectar flow of the season. My bees need to fill their stores on this to get through winter. If I take honey off, I better be sure they have enough to overwinter. I have had to add supers so the hive doesn't get honey-bound, which sometimes leaves me with honey supers on the hives over the winter. That's one reason I'm going to all mediums, but that's for another thread.
 

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tank, i've started keeping notes about what's blooming and what i see going on in the hives. after a couple of years of doing that i'm seeing some correlations.
 

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Below are the 5 main blooms I look for which typically indicate a major change in colony focus.

Maple pollen - triggers an increase in brood nest growth in preparation for spring.
Dandelion - time to manipulate frames to keep the broodnest open for rapid brood expansion, add supers.
Apple - start of swarms issuing.
Blackberry - nectar flow peak.
Goldenrod - only a few weeks left, get the colonies ready for winter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Squarepeg lets see what ya got
Mike that's what Im talkin bout
Everybody put their own down
 

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To add to Mikes when dandelion blooms 20 days till I will start to see swarms.
David
 

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mine would be very similar to mike's. red maples kick it off here too, my rapid build up is on some autum olives i have planted, swarming is apples and back locust, the tulip poplar here is associated with our main flow, and they close out on goldrod in the fall.

i super early and i harvest as i go starting about early june and finishing up when goldenrod hits.
 

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Black/grey pollen that looks like the silver tar you put around vents on mobile homes means that elms are blooming and is the first pollen of my year.
Dandelions mean that the buildup is going to happen fast now. Strong hives can store some in a super.
Then we get apples blooming quickly followed by caragana and chokecherries. The bees usually build up on this and when they are done, there is a dead period for three or four weeks. Bees can also store a super off chokecherries and caragana if they do not swarm first.

Then blooms leafy spurge that provides a black tar like substance that tastes nasty and I move bees to avoid unless they are still building up. I do not want this in my supers. Though I have tasted worse honey sold in Washington State as Wildflower for $21 a quart.

Next the alfalfa and some occaisional yellow clover start to bloom and those fortunate enough to be on CRP with a good stand of these legumes are now into the main flow.

When the irrigated alfalfa is cut usually with very little bloom, the fields are flood irrigated and an immediate flush of dandelions provides part of the flow. That repeats three times for me and the alfalfa is let bloom for quite a long time before getting cut for the last time.

Then comes my favorite honey in the world off a yellow soft thistle that blooms in low lying areas. That and scraps of reblooming alfalfa provide the fall flow if there have been any rain after July. Not any goldenrod to speak of in my locations. Some asters, but almost always too dry for them to yield nectar.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Lets hear some more it doesn't have to be set in stone. May be just something you noticed put it up and see if others notice the same thing. This post is not for laws just observations.
 

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Every year it is a bit different when they bloom. It all depends on the weather pattern mainly how warm it is out there. Around Dec. to Jan. our backyard loquat trees started to bud. On Jan. to Feb. the boxwood started to bloom along with the eucalyptus. This is the time to start feeding patty and honey water inside the hive for early Spring build up. Then mustard and canola started to kick in full gear around Feb. along with almond, plum, peach and loquat. The bees are bringing in lots of pollen and nectar by this time. Last year they found the canola much more tasty and work hard on them. This year they found the boxwood and mustard so ignored my canola. We'll see when the collard blossoms in April though. Seems like they really like the collards. Right now it is not the end of winter yet but somewhere in between because we do have the occasional cold snaps. On March we have pear, apricot and apple blossom. Some veggies that bloom at the same time are broccoli, strawberries, etc. This is the time when the bees really make it thru the winter. Ahh, what a relief! From now on they will start building up the hive nest with drones rearing a possibility if it is warm enough around 70-80F day time temp. This is also the time I will try my first queen grafting. The borage will bloom from March thru Sept. But with succession planting they will bloom into winter around Dec. if the weather is warm enough. From May to Sept. is when we have the most summer veggies and flowers available for them such as sunflower, squash, pumpkin, tomato, cukes, etc. Then into the Fall around Oct. is the Goldenrods blossom. Ohh, the ever bearing strawberry will bloom into late Oct. and will stop when we have the first frost. So far this is what I have seen ignoring the many flowers we have here from Spring til Fall. I think beekeeping is all weather dependent. What do you think?
 

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1. Silver maples, our first major producer that I am aware of. If the bees can work the maples, it can really give them a boost. A welcome sight after a long winter.
2. Autumn/Russian olive (I still get them confused, but I think they bloom around the same time), can be a huge producer. Blooms can be damaged by late frosts. Although a late frost can damage the outer blooms, in dense thickets the bees may still work the inner/protected blooms.
3. Black Locust, one of my favorite honeys. The blooms are delicate and are easily damaged in storms.
4. Blackberry/rasperry, typically very dependable flows for us.
5. Tulip poplar, in the past one of our biggest flows. Not so much in recent years.
6. Sourwood. Our most desirable honey. The comb from sourwood is beautiful. The end of the sourwood bloom marks the start of our summer dearth. This is when I try to harvest honey.
7. Chicory. Another dependable summer producer. There is not enough chicory in our area to be considered a major flow.
8. Sumac. Wish I had more of this. My bees really work sumac over.
9. Goldenrod and asters. The last honey that my bees will store before winter. Have seen GR be a bust after a dry summer. Have seen GR be a home run after a wet summer like last year.


Shane
 

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Below are the 5 main blooms I look for which typically indicate a major change in colony focus.

Maple pollen - triggers an increase in brood nest growth in preparation for spring.
Dandelion - time to manipulate frames to keep the broodnest open for rapid brood expansion, add supers.
Apple - start of swarms issuing.
Blackberry - nectar flow peak.
Goldenrod - only a few weeks left, get the colonies ready for winter.
That's mighty close for us too - except that tulip poplar and black locust are the money crops, but they coincide pretty close with blackberry.

And I would add that the fireworks bloom signals time to rob in mid TN.
 
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