Jacksonville - this week.


BEEginning of the season

The thing that aggravates me the most about our recent cool and snowy weather is the impact it is having on my bees. As I look up at the tops of the Maple trees, I see them starting to bloom. Maple is the first important source of nectar, and more importantly, pollen. This pollen stimulates brood growth in the colony and kick starts their productivity. Now the cold is affecting the blooms and the ability for the bees to get out of the hives.

It is right about two months until the "honey flow" for the Piedmont of North Carolina. Two quick months for the bees to build up their brood. Considering that it takes a worker bee 21 days to go from egg to adult, there is not much time to get things moving. Once the Tulip Poplar blooms, it is all up to the bees and the weather.

Last year was the first year out of three that I had any luck. My first year was a learning year. Add to that a hard frost (those of you at the Masters remember the cold) that killed a lot of the Tulip Poplar blooms and it was a dismal year for me. The second year started out strong for my bees. Two really strong colonies - right up until they swarmed. So again, no measurable amount of honey. But last year... man was I in for a surprise. 150 pounds later, I'm just now running out of honey.

If I can get lucky with minimal swarms and good weather in April, I'll be looking at another bumper crop. But those things are beyond my control.

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