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Maples in Bloom

Red Maple Bloom

Red Maple Blooms in January

I was amazed to see that my hybrid Red Maples were in bloom yesterday (1/29), to the east of Richmond, Virginia. Last year, these same maples bloomed a couple of weeks before the main Maple bloom, so I checked my records and found that they bloomed in mid-February in 2011 last year. You shouldn’t draw a major conclusion from this, at least in the beekeeping world. Of course, I will draw a few just for kicks!

After doing a little more research and I located my first observation of walking drones in 2011, 22 days later on March 11… The implied conclusion (that I might see walking drones 22 days from yesterday, or on February 20) is a bit of a stretch (I do not think the appearance of drones is based on hybrid Maple blooms….), but it still bears watching.

To some extent, this is becoming a trek down the proverbial (is Alice in Wonderland a proverb?! heh…) rabbit hole! What if we do find drones on our combs in late February? Can we actually start Nuc’s then? I have heard of some folks who started Nucs during the 1st week of March a few years back. But, what of the risk? The odds of a ‘cold snap’ increase the earlier you start your Nucs. Will they struggle to raise a new queen? What about the mating flight?

All interesting questions. I look forward to pushing the envelope to see how it goes. The way this weather is going, I feel confident that I’ll be starting Nucs the first week of March at the latest!


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