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Any Maryland Beekeepers? When does the nectar flow start?

Hi there! I’m wondering if there are any other Maryland beekeepers or people more or less in the same climate zone as MD (Zone 6-7? Correct me if I’m wrong). I live in Baltimore County, and I have a feeling that the nectar flow is about to start sometime in the next few weeks, but with the unusually warm winter that we’ve had, I’m really not sure when it’s coming.
I was hoping if any of you know any tell-tale signs in this climate zone that a nectar flow is here, or is at least close. We are notorious for having short nectar flows, I know that much. Maybe it’s just that there aren’t too many flowers around where I live.
We have a black locust tree, but I don’t really know that many early-bloomers. I have bee balm and milkweed, but I was told they’re supposed to bloom around June.
I’m trying to plant bee-friendly perennials around the bee yard, so hopefully that helps!
Any ideas on when the flow starts and when we can put honey supers on?
I appreciate any help and advice! :slight_smile:

I’m in southern NJ and already seeing new wax and capped honey.

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Hi Kat, here in suburban Philly the many types of maples have been blooming for close to three weeks, also the skunk cabbage, crocuses, snowdrops and witch hazel. Over the past week the ornamental pear and plum trees and star magnolias came out. Willows are also on the way. Those are all very common to our areas so probably have also been blooming where you are. Since you’re south of me and Ed some of those blooms might be gone and others like apples, crabapples, quince and fruiting pears, as well as dandelions and clover could be starting down there. I feel the bloom times and overall weather are about 3 weeks ahead of usual schedule this year. There’s definitely the start of a flow on, but not near a peak if you consider the fluctuating temps and frequent colder rainy days we’ve had. As the temps get reliably above 50/60 during the day and not freezing at night, the flowers will be in high gear and our bees will be piling it in :tulip::star_struck::cherry_blossom:

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@Red_Hot_Chilipepper @Eva
Thanks for the feedback! I saw that my bees had started bringing in a ton of pollen and they’re darting in and out of the entrance. I opened them up and there was a ton of burr comb at the top. I read somewhere that when you see the bees drawing out new, light-colored comb, then you know that a nectar flow is approaching, if it’s not already here.

skunk cabbage, crocuses, snowdrops and witch hazel skunk cabbage, crocuses, snowdrops and witch hazel

Eva, sounds like you got a nice variety of flowers blooming for your bees! Down here has a lot of wooded areas, so we mostly have evergreens (pine, holly, magnolia, cedar, arborvitae, etc.)

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I’m curious; do any of you prefer overwintering your bees in double or single deeps? I know the winters are getting weirder by the year, but I just successfully overwintered mine with just a deep and a medium.

I’ve looked through many websites and forums, and I’m getting kind of mixed messages between having the bees in one or two deeps since climate zones are different everywhere.

I feel like a single deep would keep the bees “tighter” and thus warmer in their cluster than a bigger space of two deeps would. Also, a single deep would be easier to manage, being that I’m not exactly a strong person.
(I think y’all are well aware of how heavy a box full of bees, brood, and resources can get!) :wink:
Any thoughts?

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I can’t say my overwintering success has been consistent but I do chalk the losses up to varroa/disease/weakness, rather than starvation from not enough stores - my colonies have a deep and a medium going into winter, and even the dead ones have had food remaining. I also insulate with foam around the outside and under the lid.

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Smart! I follow the YouTube channel called “VinoFarm” and have found a lot of the guy’s tips to be quite useful and effective. I overwintered my hives with coroplast shells that is very easy to slip on and off. I highly recommend it! And Vivaldi boards have kept the bees dry (they are quite simple to make too!)

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