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I began this blog to chronicle my beekeeping experiences. I have read lots of beekeeping books, but nothing takes the place of either hands-on experience with an experienced beekeeper or good pictures of the process. I want people to have a clearer picture of what to expect in their beekeeping so I post pictures and write about my beekeeping saga here. Along the way, I've passed a number of certification levels and am now a Master Beekeeper! Enjoy with me as I learn and grow as a beekeeper.


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Thursday, June 04, 2009

The Rain and the Spring Flow



As I woke up this morning, the signs are all there that we will have another day of rain. We've had a honey flow season replete with rain.

Our neighboring state of North Carolina is experiencing similar conditions. In the June E-Flier from North Carolina bee supply company, Brushy Mountain, Shane Gebauer writes:

"The spring flow has been terrible this year. Any reserves are quickly consumed when the bees are house bound by all the rain and cool weather. Once this weather pattern breaks watch for swarms. They are crowded in a hive by the weather with nothing to do, so "hey lets make swarm cells". O.K., this is an over-simplification and imposes human traits/characters on the bees, but you get the point. This time of year there a spike in swarming activity after several days of rain."

In my past three years, during this period of time, I am both harvesting already and am putting on extra boxes by the day. This year my bees are not needing extra boxes as quickly and so far are barely producing honey for hive to use for the winter. I have hives that I will be able to take honey from in a few weeks, but not as much as in previous years.

And so today again it will rain. The drought was terrible for Georgia, and I'm grateful for the rain, but it isn't having a great effect on the bees.

P.S. Sure enough, it rained all day. I came home to find the bees in one hive all clustered on the porch (see above picture). It wasn't hot, the hive has a propped top and a slatted rack so should be well ventilated. Do you think they are plotting a swarm when the rain stops on Friday afternoon? Or are they all so bored indoors with nothing to do that they came out to enjoy the rainy afternoon and evening?



5 comments:

  1. Linda, as you know we too have been in a 3 year drought, and I too am thankful for the rain, but the cost is no garden this year as it has drowned. That is why we save in the plenty years for the lean years. I am not really sure what is going to be plenty here this year. But I will take advantage of whatever it is. Love your blog. I never knew so much about Bees.

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  2. It's been hard as a beginner beekeeper last May.. Terrible drought last summer,very harsh winter temperatures and tons of rain this spring. But as a long-time gardener, I know conditions will improve. Even after a very cold winter in Western NC, my bees survived and my garden is more lush than it's been in years. And yes, it's raining this morning.

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  3. Hi - I don't keep bees and I still find your blog really interesting! I have a HUGE, extremely fuzzy bee that visits my garden. Could you tell me what that sort of bee is? Happy beekeeping! Shan

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  4. Huge fuzzy is probably a bumblebee. If it has a very shiny rear end, it is a carpenter bee!

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  5. Thanks for this tip about the rainy days for bees. Your site is very helpful and I'm reading back through your older posts and finder great information.

    Your solar melter blog is great and I plan to try it too.

    And guess what? I FINALLY GOT BY BEES!!!! Yeah :) My install of 2 nucs went perfectly.

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