This blog explains how I keep bees. It works for me, it might not work for you. Use my methods at your own risk. Always wear protective clothing and use a smoker when working bees.

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Monday, May 24, 2010

The daily changes of what's blooming

yellow sweet clover

Today as I was crossing some railroad tracks in Edina I noticed some yellow sweet clover blooming. A fellow beekeeper also saw some yellow sweet clover blooming coming in from Ramsey.
I was on the ramp going home 0n 100 and 494 and saw alfalfa starting to bloom in the ditch.
How is this possible with the time of the season? They are about two weeks early.
It all comes down to growing degree days (GDD). As my previous post about the Black Locust. The link to the Black Locust page refers that it needs 140 GDD to flower.
All plants use this same GDD to get to the point of flowering. While they are all different as to when they flower, the formula is the same.
Alfalfa, clovers, Basswood, etc; all of these have predetermined by nature of when they flower. Of course moisture may play into this, the warm weather we have been experiencing has plants reaching their GDD early.
Jerry Linser first brought this concept up to the MN Hobby Beekeepers on how beekeepers can determine with some accuracy when a plant will flower. This helps us to determine what plant is blooming and when to super.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Growing_degree_day This is some interesting data.