2018 Data and Weekly Updates

Weekly Updates

April 26th - May 2nd

April 18th - 25th

April 12th - 18th

April 1st - 12th

March

February

December 2017 - January 2018


April 26th - May 2nd

West Piedmont Bee Hive Scale Graph


Central Piedmont Bee Hive Scale Graph


South Central Piedmont Bee Hive Scale Graph


Wake County Bee Hive Scale Graph


East Piedmont Bee Hive Scale Graph


North Coastal Bee Hive Scale Graph


South Coastal Bee Hive Scale Graph


Hard to believe April has come and went just this week! The warmer temperatures have been great for both the bees and plants in our areas. It appears across the state weight gain has been fairly stable with just a few peaks in the North Coastal and South Coast regions.

At the Bee Care Center in Durham, NC, the garden is full of color. The blackberries are in bloom and the honey bees and bumble bees are loving them at the moment. Can’t wait to see where the hives are at next week!


April 18th - 25th

Wester Piedmont Bee Hive Scale Graph


Central Piedmont Bee Hive Scale Graph


South Central Piedmont Bee Hive Scale Graph


Wake County Bee Hive Scale Graph


Durham County Bee Hive Scale Graph


Eastern Piedmont Bee Hive Scale Graph


North Coastal Bee Hive Scale Graph


South Costal Bee Hive Scale Graph


Well we had some technical difficulties this week on “upload” day but I wanted to download the data and see what was going on anyways. With all the rain this past week the bees didn’t have much of an opportunity to stretch their wings so the weight gains have slowed down this week. I expect next week to be very different, with sunny 70°F weather forecasted in the central piedmont region all week.

We had to hold off on taking more weekly pollen samples since we have a lot of new queens out on their mating flights. Hopefully we can resume this in the next week or so!

Tulip poplar appears to be in bloom across most of the piedmont from what I’ve heard, blackberry is also popping now so there should be plenty of nectar for the hives to really take off now! Can’t wait to see where the hives are at next week!


April 12th - 18th

Western Piedmont Bee Hive Scale Graph


Central Piedmont Bee Hive Scale Graph


South Central Piedmont Bee Hive Scale Graph


Wake County Bee Hive Scale Graph


Durham County Bee Hive Scale Graph


East Piedmont Bee Hive Scale Graph


North Coastal Bee Hive Scale Graph


South Coastal Bee Hive Scale Graph


Well we have been all over the place with weather this past week and it’s hard to tell how the bees are dealing with it across the state. In the west piedmont, specifically Mecklenburg county and Alexander county, those hives are putting on 10 lbs. of honey almost daily, you can see the beekeepers there have had to put on supers to keep up! Alamance-5 in the central piedmont region is keeping up with that pace in addition to some of the Durham-Page hives. Most of the hives are slow taking off across the state, especially those under 100 lbs, likely because these are swarms or new packages just getting established.

I will update the running graphs next week so we can see how things have tracked throughout the month!


April 1st - 12th

Western Piedmont Hive Scale Graph


Central Piedmont Hive Scale Graph


South Central Piedmont Hive Scale Graph


Wake County Hive Scale Graph


Durham County Hive Scale Graph


East Piedmont Hive Scale Graph


North Coastal Hive Scale Graph


South Coastal Hive Scale Graph


Well we are finally starting to see signs of the flow as of April 1st in a lot of counties. My hives in Durham (Durham-Page1-9) put on 10-15 lbs of honey in 5 days, which is dwarfed by Randolph-1 that put on 15 lbs on April 2nd alone! Mecklenburg also saw some impressive weight gains, specifically Mecklenburg-1 which put on 20 lbs in 2 days!

There’s quite a bit of variability in where the flow is really taking off and where it has yet to really kick into gear, which might also have to do with the strength of the hive. The back and forth temperatures have certainly been an added challenge as far as getting any consistent flying time for the bees. Knowing how variable the weather is across a given area, I would imagine this is also affecting which areas are experiencing weight gains.

Stay tuned for more updates on the nectar flow next week!


March

West Piedmont NC Bee Hive Scale Graph


North Central Piedmont NC Bee Hive Scale Graph


South Central Piedmont NC Bee Hive Scale Graph


Wake County NC Bee Hive Scale Graph


Durham County Bee Hive Scale Graph


East Piedmount NC Bee Hive Scale Graph


South Coastal Piedmont NC Bee Hive Scale Graph


Well this cooler weather has certainly stunted blooms this month, with very little change in weight throughout the month. Hopefully we will get some CONSISTENTLY warmer weather to let the plants and the bees flourish. I’ve caught 3 swarms within the past two weeks and have heard from others that they have been flooded with calls of swarms. When I checked my 10 hives a week ago I only found unprovisioned queen cups, only one hive had a few queen cups with eggs in them. I know some folks in Johnston county had queen cells back in the beginning of March, however that was right before the temperatures dropped back down again. This is a wild spring so far and I can only hope the plants aren’t too thrown off because of it.

We have a lot of new beekeepers getting involved so you will see some of the lists of counties represented continue to grow as they get set up. I will try and keep these regional categories throughout the season, with the addition of the north coastal region once I get scales out to those folks!

It’s been an exciting month with weekly bee club presentations on the project and even an interview with the wildlife society where I was able to share some of what we’ve seen in the first pilot year http://wildlife.org/hive-scales-point-to-north-carolina-bees-nectar-sources/. Now that things have settled down, I hope to get the remaining folks I met in New Bern set up with scales and also get back into the data to get things a little more organized!


February

Western Piedmont February Hive Scale Graph

Central Piedmont February Hive Scale Graph

Durham County February Hive Scale Graph

Wake County February Hive Scale Graph

East Piedmont February Hive Scale Graph

Coastal NC February Hive Scale Graph

Well time is flying and spring has sprung! There’s plenty of trees, shrubs, and wildflowers bursting with blooms and the bees are certainly starting to build up. From those I’ve talked to and from my own hives (Durham-Page hives) they are packed with brood and even drone brood. I didn’t see any queen cells in my hives last week but I know that will likely change quite quickly-so prepare yourselves for swarm season!

The spring nectar flow will be coming soon but at the moment, the amount of pollen coming in is pretty mind blowing! Check out the weekly pollen samples from the bee center to see what we’re trapping off the bees in Research Triangle-spoiler alert, last week they collected ½ a pound of pollen within 24 hours! With that much pollen coming in it’s clear that brood production has taken off!

We had a wonderful workshop with a great turnout of folks in the project! We brainstormed some new applications for the project, new features to add onto solution bee (thanks to the help of Rafael and his team) and got to share lots of great bee stories! We will be continuing the project through the year focusing on nectar availability in different landscapes. Several folks have been able to get their apiaries set up on scales and for those folks, we will take a deeper dive using detailed management notes to understand how management decisions can impact the ability of the bees to capitalize on a nectar resource.


December 2017 - January 2018

Well we are already into the new year and quickly approaching spring! In the past few months we’ve been able to bring in additional beekeepers in some new counties, bringing our count up to 50 beekeepers across 20 counties!

Western Piedmont Hive Scale Graph

Central Piedmont Hive Scale Graph

Wake County Hive Scale Graph

East Piedmont Hive Scale Graph

Coastal NC Bee Hive Scale Graph

Most of the hives are eating through their food stores as expected however the snow has created a few bumps in the data from piling up on the hives! Additionally, when temperatures get below freezing the scales shut off and stop recording the weight which has created a few data gaps this month. Now when we zoom in on January 17th-20th we can see the “arctic blast” in mid-January that dumped several inches of snow across the piedmont.

Scale Temperatures Across Counties

As you can see, there is quite a bit of variability in temperatures across the different scales. This might have something to do with the accuracy of the sensors but also could be a reflection of differences in hive microclimate, like how much shade the hives get. Then when we look at the weight of some of the hives across the counties, you can see based on the amount of weight they put on on January 17th, just how much snow the different regions got. For example, in part of Durham county, there was almost 10 lbs of snow sitting on top of the hive at the end of the day, compared to Alexander county or Craven county where they saw less than a 5 lb. weight increase. Now these hives may be more exposed to the elements compared to others that may be more sheltered by overhanging trees, however you can see clear differences across the regions from the time the weight started and stopped increasing.

Hive Weights Across Counties

I went in and checked the empty hive equipment as well, and you can see almost a 20 lb weight increase over 10 hours from all the snow we got at the center! What I find interesting is how quickly it melts as soon as the temperatures get above freezing-within just an hour or two 13 lbs of snow has melted!

Empty Equipment Graph

As we start to get into some warmer weather, we will be ready to capture the spring show as swarm season and nectar flows start up again! To get a more detailed look at the floral resources the bees are capitalizing on, we will be placing out pollen traps in some of the Bayer apiaries to follow what pollen sources they’re utilizing throughout the year. Check out the first collection from the Bayer Bee Care center hives here.