Dry weather helping beekeepers in East Tennessee

Fred Sloop

The beautiful, dry weather seems to be working to the beekeepers’ advantage in this part of East Tennessee this spring.

We’ve had some unprecedented blooms, with one species of tree after another producing spectacular floral displays that our bees are working day after day. For several weeks the Callery Pear (better known by its most common cultivar – the Bradford Pear) and its musky, odiferous blooms were attracting multitudes of bees of all types. Cherry blooms

The ornamental cherries and the redbud (unfortunately) were also a magnet for a lot of pollinator attention. Right now, we have the most stunning display of wild cherry that I can remember (see photo. right, of a typically blooming tree in our side yard).

I’m thinking that if the weather stays on the dry side that we’ll soon be seeing tulip poplar and black locust nectar flooding into our honey supers as well – although neither species is blooming as of yet.

I took a chance this year and began stimulatory feeding of our bees in mid-February. Thanks to a cooperative Mother Nature, some timely brood box rotations, and a lot of luck I was blessed with large numbers of foragers in 5 out of 6 hives just as the early, but significant, flow started. My apiary location is not the best, but 5 of my hives have at least one super of honey – and 3 of those five have most of a second super filled as well.

Fred Sloop has his Buzzy Bee Apiary in Oak Ridge, TN.
We’d like to hear from you, too. How’s your apiary doing? What’s the honey flow like? How does this spring compare to last year? Email your reports to Jim Stovall <jgstovall@gmail.com> or Stacey Adair <tvhdoc@chartertn.net>.

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