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Pollen flows are easy enough to see, but nectar flows are not quite so obvious. I suppose the very best way is to ask an old timer. But barring that, is the best way to weigh your hive once or twice a week and adjust for any equipment like supers that have been added?

But if the bees are building new comb, you really can't "weigh" the energy used to transform sugar into wax. They could bring in a lot of "heavy" nectar and end up with a lot of "light" wax. Would that cause the scales to "miss" a flow?

Are there bee behaviors at the entrance or otherwise that might indicate a flow is on?
 

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If you really want to learn about timing, I think Walt Wright's manuscript is good. He has paid a lot of attention to timing. Looking for white wax is a good clue as is the timing of the bloom of certain things. The actual onset of the "flow" is dependant on several factors, including the climate, the recent weather, the blooms and the current stage of growth in the hive.
 

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Identify the major honey plants in your area. Then determine the dates they bloom on average. Most areas may have one or two major flows with minor flows also. Regional farming and other factors may cause specific flows for one yard compared to another but the main flows are easy to predict in most area.


I guess you could wiegh the hives daily and keep records. You may wish to do a search for "hive scales" that was a recent post.

Opening the hive from time to time is probably the best indicator.
 

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I did as Bjorn describes. Being a beekeeper you'll find eventually you drive around looking at and often announcing every flower in bloom or about to bloom. This is O.K. with the wife and kids but it may put you in some disregard if your with all your beefy friends on the way to the Denver Game. (Yes I haven't been in Denver for 21 years but they're still my team however pathetic the season). A beekeeper diary or log kept over a couple of seasons is a great tool. I still pull mine out as far back as the late 80's to look for bloom patterns and flows as well as what manipulations worked and when.
 

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Yes, weighing the hives will allow you to identify your nectar flows. We don't all have appropriate scales for that but if it's not a problem for you the answer is yes. When the weight of the hive goes up twenty pounds in one day and forty the next you probably should super.

There are plenty of beekeepers in Georgia. It shouldn't bee hard to locate one that can tell you your flow dates.

Hawk
 

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The best way would be to watch the bloom and keep records on when each bloom starts, and maybe even when it ends. The you can use this info in the future to know when to super. Weighing hives can give faulty readings because it may be more reflective of foraging weather rather than the actual bloom times. If you have wet weather, during a flow the scales would reflect a decreasing weight even if the bloom is strong. Colonies for example have been known to loose weight on the clover bloom should weather not corporate. Should the weather suddenly turn warm you will have been caught under supered and miss part of the flow. So it might be good to chart and follow average bloom times, and get supers on a week or two ahead of the bloom so the bees have time to adjust.

> is the best way to weigh your hive once or twice a week and adjust for any equipment like supers that have been added?

Remember, when you detect an increase in weight, you may have already missed the beginnings of the flow. The best advice is when you first see your main bloom flower buds in pre bloom stage, get the supers on. As a rule, for the early flow, if you think the bees need one super, you better add two, early flows generally require at least 2 supers to be added at a time. It’s good to over super a bit in the early flow because once the bees slow down foraging as a result of being under supered, it can be difficult to get them to readjust, by the time they adjust to the added supers, the flow may be half over.

> But if the bees are building new comb, you really can't "weigh" the energy used to transform sugar into wax. They could bring in a lot of "heavy" nectar and end up with a lot of "light" wax. Would that cause the scales to "miss" a flow?

Scales are reactive not proactive, beekeepers must anticipate the flow, not react to the flow. When you detect a weight gain on scales, this tells you that you should have had your supers on 2 weeks earlier. But if you do use scales for educational purposes, the best time to weigh is in the evening, you may notice the highest gains then, and then when the nectar dries a bit you may notice a loss of weight come morning. Also, its good that they build comb, because new comb construction stimulates more foraging, so you do want to see this, comb building promotes foraging.
 

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We live with technology, computors, access to unbelievable amounts of collected data and resources to answer questions like bloom times. I do not think the easiest way to answer those questions would be for each beekeeper to be running around logging bloom start and end dates. I would assume that to account for variations of seasonal changes from year to year, that several years would be needed if your talking about defining it down to specific dates and keeping logs.

Gasteve, you have a large beekeeping community in Georgia. You have universities, bee clubs, agriculture departments and many other resources. before you start logging bloom times, may I suggest you make some phone calls and do an on-line search.

I have a book called "American Honey Plants" by Frank C Pellet. I will not type out the pages, but this book covers each state by month and bloom type. It also list major and minor honey plants as a whole.

Briefly it says for georgia

Alder mid Jan till mid feb.
Jasmine Jan
Wild Plum Feb. used for early build-up.
Mar peach, apple, mock orange, wild cherry,, etc.
April - willow, hawthorne locust, holly, tulip. You better have supers on before this.

April and May are your main flow period. So I would have the supers on by mid Mar in any given year.

If you send me your address I will copy the important pages for georgia and mail them to you.
 

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Steve, i think this is the first post I've read from PColar. It's obvious he knows his stuff and I can agree with everything he says.

BjornBee on the other hand knows his stuff but I can't understand half of what he says.

If you want to anticipate your Flow for next year keep good records. If you want to anticipate your flos this year You have to contact a neighbor beekeeper. I don't know about Georgia. Never been there. But in Colorado a book listing the entire State could not possibly work.

You'd have to try to adjust for altitude and climate. Good Luck,

Hawk
 

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Hawk, why not just indicate what you are confused about? Instead of blindly mentioning your misunderstanding, and somehow attacking me. I'll be more than willing to help. And if you are not willing to let me help for whatever reason, than pay another member of beesource some respect and not mention my name again. Fair enough?

I merely mentioned that there is almost unlimited resources at hand to obtain information on bloom times. Many have collected this data, compiled noted, sought information previously, and it is easily obtainable. Too suggest that the best way to obtain bloom times is to take a notebook and record start and stop times, not only would take possibly years to accomplished. But that information is already at hand. You act as though over hundreds of years of beekeeping nobody has ever compiled this information before. That, or you believe that information is not possible to obtain.

Not only are there many resource books for pollination, but Georgia for one has an excellent website for beekeepers www.ent.uga.edu/bees

In my first post, I mentioned seeking out the main types of plants in GaSteve's area. Certainly after finding the main flower sources, obtaining bloom times can be obtained easier than monitoring and logging each flower sources start and end time. Sorry if this concept is confusing to you.

The book I previously mentioned is just one resource for seeking information. Mr Pellet was a field editor for ABJ for many years, was the state apiarist for Iowa, and the author of many books. I find it hard for someone to be so narrow minded that you assume that nobody has had the knowledge previously, and to assume nobody could of possible written, let alone collect data worthwhile for the state of Colorado.
 

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I have assumed that when I observe the bees exiting the hive like they were shot from a shotgun there might be a flow going with something. Always excites me to see that. I have never been able to locate a main nectar source here in the city, but it seems that the bee's do.
Barry
 

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Robert(Hawk), BTW, Pcolar last night was naturebee, who is Joe Waggle. The "author" changed from last night till this morning. Just trying to keep the confusion down. I wil say those were some mighty nice comments for the first time you read anything from Pcolar. But I am sure you read some of the other posts too. ;)
 

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>I have never been able to locate a main nectar source here in the city, but it seems that the bee's do.

In the city there are many small sources of blooms and not a lot of main ones. There are, of course, dandelions and certain popular plants that tend to bloom at once, like some popular varietys of crabapples or other blooming plants. But,when I've had bees in town, the flow is much more vaired and much more consistent in town than in the country. All in all the bees in town will make more honey averaged out.
 

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That's interesting Michael...and encouraging. I have driven concentric circles around my neighborhood after seeing the bee's exiting the hive in gatling-gun fashion...and have never found any bloom of note. I've never tied nectar flow to anything except observation of this behavior. Truthfully, I've never kept track of the dates. When I see this, I just walk to the house and get the honey supers to add. Seems to have worked so far.
 

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GaSteve...Another way is by keeping track of the "degree growing days" . Each source reqires a certain number of these days to reach the blossom dates. I havent tried this approach yet but I`m sure other`s on here are much more knowledgable than I ...Rick
 

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Hi BjornBee,

Changed my name to Pcolar means beekeeper in my native language.

[ December 29, 2005, 06:15 AM: Message edited by: Pcolar ]
 

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RAlex

interesting
data on "heating degree days" for particular areas is avialable on the web
do you know of a source for "degree growing days"?
I assume this would relate heating degree days to the bloom time for specific plants
it wouldn't be very hard to build a tool to correlate the two

Dave

[edit] hehe, googled around a bit
lot's of data in lot's of places
maybe not so easy
I think someone should establish an xml format for such stuff or perhaps a central repository

[ December 27, 2005, 09:33 PM: Message edited by: drobbins ]
 

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Pcolar, Naturebee, Joe or whatever moniker you choose, I personally always enjoy (most) of your posts, but changing that name every few months or so gets confusing. :rolleyes:
Have you informed the bees?

[ December 27, 2005, 10:53 PM: Message edited by: Dick Allen ]
 
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