Welcome, Guest

Author Topic: Crop fidelity  (Read 408 times)

Offline yes2matt

  • House Bee
  • **
  • Posts: 266
  • Gender: Male
  • Newbee in an urban setting, starting small.
Crop fidelity
« on: March 13, 2019, 09:45:58 am »
I am confused about crop fidelity in honey bees.

When I learned about it initially, I thought it meant that an individual forager would stick to one species of flower on any given trip.

Recent reading says it's more than that; a whole colony will stick to one crop until that crop is exhausted, then will work another crop.

But I see sometimes three or four different colors of pollen coming thru the front door at the same time. So I'm confused about what I'm reading and seeing.

Offline iddee

  • Galactic Bee
  • ******
  • Posts: 9148
  • Gender: Male
Re: Crop fidelity
« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2019, 10:30:20 am »
The scouts size up the crop and they send enough foragers to work it.If they have foragers leftover, they send them to another crop. Then it's also possible you are watching scouts bringing in samples of new crops.
"Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me . . . Anything can happen, child. Anything can be"

*Shel Silverstein*

Offline Michael Bush

  • Universal Bee
  • *******
  • Posts: 17085
  • Gender: Male
    • bushfarms.com
Re: Crop fidelity
« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2019, 03:44:21 pm »
It's slightly more complicated.  Often a colony is working more than one source at the same time, but once they are working a source they tend to continue to work it until it gives out.  But the colony could be working two or three sources and continue any of them until they run out.
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm en espanol: bushfarms.com/es_bees.htm  auf deutsche: bushfarms.com/de_bees.htm  em portugues:  bushfarms.com/pt_bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
-------------------
"Everything works if you let it."--James "Big Boy" Medlin

Offline van from Arkansas

  • House Bee
  • **
  • Posts: 379
  • Gender: Male
  • Van from Arkansas. Had to reset all.
Re: Crop fidelity
« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2019, 04:48:36 pm »
Little from me to add: My frames of capped honey will be segregated or grouped by color on the same frame, same side.  Light colored capped honey on a frame with say a spot four inches by four inches that is clearly a darker honey.

ID and Bush: Two masters that humble me, so just a little note on this observation I have seen?on capped honey frames.  Agree with both the wise ones above.
Cheers
Bless the Beekeepers.  Dealing with venomous insects takes courage, patience, dedication and a desire to be with nature.

Offline iddee

  • Galactic Bee
  • ******
  • Posts: 9148
  • Gender: Male
Re: Crop fidelity
« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2019, 05:25:44 pm »
From my perspective, both the above say the same thing, but with different words. Neither of us addressed what they did with it once in the hive, as van did.
"Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me . . . Anything can happen, child. Anything can be"

*Shel Silverstein*

Offline Oldbeavo

  • House Bee
  • **
  • Posts: 395
  • Gender: Male
Re: Crop fidelity
« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2019, 06:04:20 pm »
Bees pollinating almonds have been observed to work the almonds till 2pm and then move to a canola crop across the road.
This was observed by the co Ordinator of the pollination.
There was a lot of bees on the property, 6 hives per hectare, 2.4 hives per acre, with 10,000 hives on the property.
His theory was that the bees cleaned out the almonds by this time for that day and so moved to the canola crop.

Offline yes2matt

  • House Bee
  • **
  • Posts: 266
  • Gender: Male
  • Newbee in an urban setting, starting small.
Re: Crop fidelity
« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2019, 06:46:29 pm »
Thanks all.
I know that some flowers are "open for business" early in the morning, some not 'til it gets hot. So moving from one crop to another midday makes sense. And I watched a Tom Seeley video about recruitment, (I think it's labeled "Honey Bee Democracy" on the 'tube). He says that the colony continues to send out scouts even while working a particular crop (or maybe that scouts just keep working that way). But when I see multiple pollen colors coming in (a new-to-me color today: flame orange the color of the angry emoji above), it's a lot of bees, not just one or two scouts.  So Wally that makes sense that they are on multiple crops at once, but the foragers working a particular crop will keep on it 'til it's done.

Van I've seen the same thing. And I've learned that foragers store their pollen loads directly in the hive; they don't hand off to house bees like they do nectar. If that's correct, it makes me think that a set of bees devoted to a particular crop also prefers a particular place on the comb; that's pretty neat!

Offline van from Arkansas

  • House Bee
  • **
  • Posts: 379
  • Gender: Male
  • Van from Arkansas. Had to reset all.
Re: Crop fidelity
« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2019, 07:53:04 pm »
Bees pollinating almonds have been observed to work the almonds till 2pm and then move to a canola crop across the road.
This was observed by the co Ordinator of the pollination.
There was a lot of bees on the property, 6 hives per hectare, 2.4 hives per acre, with 10,000 hives on the property.
His theory was that the bees cleaned out the almonds by this time for that day and so moved to the canola crop.

Agreed OldBeavo: I read that a bee observes the time of day that a flower has the most nectar.  In your example, that tells me almonds produce the most nectar in the morning then canola produced most in the afternoon.

I used to think flowers just produced nectar as a constant stream, not realizing time or sunlight was an issue.  The article I read, noted bees visited certain certain flowers at rather specific times.  That is flowers have cycles in a 24 hour period where nectar is flowing heavily.  This time of heavy flow is noted by the bees so the bees energy is best spent: not random as I used to think.

Your example, OldBeavo is perfect.  Honeybees are a lot smarter than I once thought and I realize how ingenious the lil critters are the more I study.
Bless the Beekeepers.  Dealing with venomous insects takes courage, patience, dedication and a desire to be with nature.

Offline van from Arkansas

  • House Bee
  • **
  • Posts: 379
  • Gender: Male
  • Van from Arkansas. Had to reset all.
Re: Crop fidelity
« Reply #8 on: March 13, 2019, 09:10:15 pm »
Van I've seen the same thing. And I've learned that foragers store their pollen loads directly in the hive; they don't hand off to house bees like they do nectar. If that's correct, it makes me think that a set of bees devoted to a particular crop also prefers a particular place on the comb; that's pretty neat!

Agreed, Matt
Bless the Beekeepers.  Dealing with venomous insects takes courage, patience, dedication and a desire to be with nature.

Offline sawdstmakr

  • Global Moderator
  • Galactic Bee
  • *******
  • Posts: 9964
  • Gender: Male
Re: Crop fidelity
« Reply #9 on: March 13, 2019, 11:56:22 pm »
Matt,
With an observation hive, you can watch the bees bring in pollen, dance the location and then go find a cell to put the pollen into. They use their hind feet to push the pollen off of the basket directly into the cell. With pollen, you will see the bees putting yellow pollen in a cell that has white or gray pollen. I have never seen a bee pick up pollen nor one with pollen held in her mouth.
Jim

Offline Acebird

  • Galactic Bee
  • ******
  • Posts: 5242
  • Gender: Male
  • Practicing non intervention beekeeping
Re: Crop fidelity
« Reply #10 on: March 14, 2019, 08:32:54 am »
I used to think flowers just produced nectar as a constant stream, not realizing time or sunlight was an issue.
It might be temperature is a factor so the time could be a variable.
Brian Cardinal
Just do it

Online paus

  • House Bee
  • **
  • Posts: 410
  • Gender: Male
Re: Crop fidelity
« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2019, 04:25:28 pm »
Sawdust.  You said you had never seen a bee pick up dropped pollen.  One reason I am, up until I read this, considering only front half screen bottom board,is to give the bees a chance to pick up dropped pollen.  This being the case my bottom boards will be lighter and more SHB will be trapped.  It is easier and cheaper to build the full DSBB than a half or a hole in the top board with screen covering the hole.  I just checked a hive I have not seen all winter, it has DSBB with 1/2"Insulation board placed under oil pan about Thanksgiving.  They are a trapped swarm on a pipeline ROW.  They have lots of traffic bringing in pollen and nectar, they are two deep ten frame and looking strong.

Offline Oldbeavo

  • House Bee
  • **
  • Posts: 395
  • Gender: Male
Re: Crop fidelity
« Reply #12 on: March 16, 2019, 06:38:59 am »
My partner was picking pollen out of cells to use for herself, it was in an open container and went to work the bees. when she came back the bees were stealing it back, most of the pollen had disappeared.

Offline The15thMember

  • House Bee
  • **
  • Posts: 293
  • Gender: Female
  • Traveler of the Multiverse, Seeker of Knowledge
Re: Crop fidelity
« Reply #13 on: March 16, 2019, 01:18:35 pm »
This is an interesting thread.  I'm looking to target the sourwood harvest this year, and I had assumed that harvesting a single type of honey was as simple as just putting a super on when that crop's flow started, because I thought that crop fidelity meant that a hive will only work one crop at a time.  If that is not the case, how do you harvest just one type of honey?       
I come from under the hill, and under the hills and over the hills my paths led.  And through the air, I am she that walks unseen.

Offline sawdstmakr

  • Global Moderator
  • Galactic Bee
  • *******
  • Posts: 9964
  • Gender: Male
Re: Crop fidelity
« Reply #14 on: March 17, 2019, 12:54:10 am »
The ones beeks that I have talked to that do that empty the supers just before the flowers that they are trying to get nectar from and then pull the supers again when that flower stops blooming.
Jim

Offline The15thMember

  • House Bee
  • **
  • Posts: 293
  • Gender: Female
  • Traveler of the Multiverse, Seeker of Knowledge
Re: Crop fidelity
« Reply #15 on: March 17, 2019, 04:43:52 pm »
The ones beeks that I have talked to that do that empty the supers just before the flowers that they are trying to get nectar from and then pull the supers again when that flower stops blooming.
Jim
But if the bees work multiple sources, how can you be sure the nectar is all from that target flower?  Like, I?m thinking of some sourwood honey I can buy locally, it?s labelled 100% NC Sourwood.  If the bees will work multiple sources, how can you say that the honey is 100% a certain nectar?  Or can?t you, and that?s why different batches of sourwood taste different? 
I come from under the hill, and under the hills and over the hills my paths led.  And through the air, I am she that walks unseen.

Offline iddee

  • Galactic Bee
  • ******
  • Posts: 9148
  • Gender: Male
Re: Crop fidelity
« Reply #16 on: March 17, 2019, 07:14:07 pm »
There are 4 times as much sourwood honey sold in N.C. as there is produced. Does that tell you something?
They are saying 100% honey, just calling it sourwood. :wink:
"Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me . . . Anything can happen, child. Anything can be"

*Shel Silverstein*

Offline The15thMember

  • House Bee
  • **
  • Posts: 293
  • Gender: Female
  • Traveler of the Multiverse, Seeker of Knowledge
Re: Crop fidelity
« Reply #17 on: March 19, 2019, 11:31:59 pm »
There are 4 times as much sourwood honey sold in N.C. as there is produced. Does that tell you something?
They are saying 100% honey, just calling it sourwood. :wink:
Ah yes, that is a very enlightening statistic and confirms my suspicions about this so called ?100%? sourwood, locust, and other varieties that this apiary is selling. Every single different kind had a heavy suspiciously clover-flavored undertone.  It all makes sense now.  :sad:
I come from under the hill, and under the hills and over the hills my paths led.  And through the air, I am she that walks unseen.

Offline yes2matt

  • House Bee
  • **
  • Posts: 266
  • Gender: Male
  • Newbee in an urban setting, starting small.
Re: Crop fidelity
« Reply #18 on: March 23, 2019, 07:23:33 am »
There are 4 times as much sourwood honey sold in N.C. as there is produced. Does that tell you something?
They are saying 100% honey, just calling it sourwood. :wink:
Ah yes, that is a very enlightening statistic and confirms my suspicions about this so called ?100%? sourwood, locust, and other varieties that this apiary is selling. Every single different kind had a heavy suspiciously clover-flavored undertone.  It all makes sense now.  :sad:
Well I've never seen what you're talking about, but if you ever see "100%" on anything, it should set off your BS meter. 

Here are NC honey label requirements re: varietals.
"The name honey. The floral source (sourwood, clover, etc.) can be part of the name if the product contains a significant amount of pollen from that flower." 
What the hey is "significant amount?"  link: https://www.ncbeekeepers.org/resources/labeling

I'm sure it differs by state/country