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Very basic question

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Firegazer 

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I'd better get this question out soon - the longer I continue beekeeping, the harder it will be to ask it :)

When experienced beeks say "they were bringing in lots of nectar", how on Earth do they know?

I know when they are bringing in pollen. I can see some of them returning without pollen. I can even see some of them (without pollen) returning in a right state, hardly able to land properly and needing a rest before clambering back into the hive.

Are these ones full of nectar and weighed down? Or is there a clever way to tell that I don't know about?

And can you tell the ones that are bringing in nectar vs the ones that bring in water?

FG
 

Mike a 

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Are these ones full of nectar and weighed down? Or is there a clever way to tell that I don't know about?

And can you tell the ones that are bringing in nectar vs the ones that bring in water?

FG
I was told if they crash land on to the hive or landing board this is a good sign and the way they fly with their tail hanging down.

But how can you tell if they have nectar or water....? I'm guessing they wouldn't try to collect that much water compared to nectar.

Waiting for an expert to clarify as this is a good question.
:cheers2:
 
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The only sure way is to look inside the hive - lots of uncapped cells with honey/nectar is what you are looking for. However, if you see them bringing in as mine are lots of pale brown pollen then I know it is OSR and most of the bees coming in without pollen will have a bellyfull of OSR nectar. The full supers are a bit of a clue as well plus panic making up of boxes and frames!
 
T

Tom Bick 

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Sorry but can I also ask a simpleish question when bees return with pollen have they also collected nectar or is it only one or the other.
 

Peter Cox 

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Sorry but can I also ask a simpleish question when bees return with pollen have they also collected nectar or is it only one or the other.
One or the other, never both.
Have noticed bees here bringing in a very dark orange pollen and wondered what it was. Finally today discovered they are getting it off of aspargus that is now flowering after the spring crop. Guess it's should be a good source of pollen as the aspargus is the New Jersey mainly male type.

I assume OSR is Oil Seed Rape. I have seen fields of that when visting the UK, never saw it there when I was brought up there after the war. What is the issue with honey from OSR honey? as I've seen people saying they don't even wait for it to be capped before removing supers.
 

Hombre 

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Hello Peter,
OSR (Canola) is now a principle source of spring honey. Previously clover was a major source of honey I believe, but is not an early crop. Clover seemed to fall out of favour for nitrogen fixing and artificial fertilisers took over.
OSR became a popular crop in the UK during the 1970's I believe and so in your youth in the 1950/1960 period there were no fields of yellow covering the countryside in May.

The problem with honey from OSR is that is rapidly sets and if it isn't taken off the hives promptly then you can find yourself with a super of wax and solidified honey, leaving you little option other than to melt it out. Traditionally it is creamed (a declining term) or made into soft set honey so that the customer doesn't break the butter knife on it. :)

I remember as a kid, into the early 1960's that I was never impressed with anything that was difficult to spread, like cold treacle or set honey, because it used to break up my piece of bread and butter. Not a lot of patience with things like that, then or now, so I wasn't amused.

I hope that has been of some help, interest and mild amusement.
 

Peter Cox 

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Thanks, very informative.
I guess we must grow the same stuff here somewhere but I've never seen it here in New England.
 

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