June Tips

June brings many colorful flowers to our gardens, with sweet nectar and protein-rich pollen for bees.

June can also mark the beginning of the honeyflow in the Pacific Northwest toward the end of the month. It’s the start of the blackberry bloom, and nectar can come in very fast once the “faucet” is turned on.

And what is nectar flow versus honeyflow? Just different terminology, actually.

When nectar is available from local flowers, bees collect it to feed themselves and to make honey….and when nectar becomes so abundantly available that they make excess honey to store for future use, it is often given the special name of “honeyflow.”  And the sources vary by location.

In our local area of Jefferson County, WA, major honeyflows are typically big-leaf maple in March-April; snowberry late May-June; both Himalayan and native blackberries June-July; and fireweed July-August.

For the Beekeeper, a few June tips:

  • For the bees to draw new comb, three things are required:
    1. Temperature
    2. Nectar flow or 1:1 sugar solution
    3. The queen’s presence.
  • Best time to draw new comb is during honeyflow. Bees will not make new comb from stored honey.
  • During a good nectar-flow, the bees can completely fill a western honey-super in 1 week…..

….and bit of extra space for honey is better than not enough, so it’s a good time to add your supers.

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