Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Late Summer Dearth by beekeeper Fred

The honey flow for the year is essentially complete.   The prime nectar sources have now completed their bloom.  In our area these were yellow sweet, white sweet, ladino and Dutch clovers.  Trees that contribute to the honey flow are basswood, linden and black locust.   These trees completed their contribution in June. 

There are a few plants still in flower, but they are not large nectar sources.  At best the bees are just able to break even.  A walk through the fields shows alfalfa, trefoil, goldenrod/ragweed, Joe Pye weed and thistles doing their part to feed the bees.  Goldenrod occasionally gives a good honey flow.  Soybeans are also still in bloom. 

Asters, a fall blooming flower, will begin flowering soon.  However, in rural areas asters are usually not very abundant unless artificially planted.  Bees in urban areas will work this flower family in earnest.  As a side note: Goldenrod is classified as part of the aster family.

With the late summer nectar dearth under way you should be on the lookout for robbing.  For weaker hives a good preventative measure is to install the entrance reducer with the 5 inch opening in position.  

1 comment:

Gerard Schubert said...

I don't consider my area in a dearth until after the goldenrod flow. It hasn't quite hit prime yet and usually lasts until early September, and then the girls are done gathering for the season. Bull thistle is also just starting now and I am blessed with acres of both in the area....along with over 200 acres of restoration land that is still yellow with sunflowers and echinecea, and a neighbor with about 2 acres of sunflowers in bloom. Of course there's miles of chickory, but I don't think that attracts honeybees.

I pulled capped frames on Thursday and put in wet ones for the last gathering of the season. Last year I removed capped frames on August 30, with a final harvest on September 13. So there is still a bit left to my season, and then I'll leave the partials on for the bees to relocate the honey and nectar into the deeps as we ease into deep fall.

It hasn't been a great season for me with only 4 of the 7 hives really producing, but it's been okay. This is the last hurrah and although I'd like a lot more honey, I don't think it's in the cards.