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Rain dearth in Western Washington

Rain dearth exists also in other areas but is often ignored in beekeeping manuals, whereas drought dearth is usually discussed. In Western Washington, bees experience far more days of rain dearth than drought dearth. In fact, in Western Washington, drought dearth is often broken up by opportune rain showers reinvigorating the nectar-producing summer blooms.

Rain dearth has the greatest impact on honey bee management when it slows hive population buildup before a major flow. Rain may be also delaying the start of that flow. To help a colony reach peak population at the start of the peak flow, advance feeding strategy during dearth may be necessary to optimize the number of forager age bees available to help the colony gain maximum benefit from the flow. In Western Washington, the greatest honey flow is the invasive blackberry flow, about the month of June. If the rain dearth of a cool, damp spring as in 2022 and in 2023 prevents proper hive population buildup, the blackberry flow cannot provide sufficient winter stores for the future or a honey harvest for the beekeeper.

This is why feeding recommendations for Western Washington for weak hives, nucs, or hives closely managed for maximum honey production, may not match feeding recommendations in other parts of the US.

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