The distribution and range of the onset of blooming period for flowering species is key information to aid in building relationships between satellite-derived vegetation phenology to scale hive data records. We have rendered 14 Bee Forage regions within North America based on natural floristic and land use patterns, as defined by Ayers and Harman (1992) and linked these regions to a database derived from their table of important nectar plants and their blooming periods for the US and southern Canada.
Within each region, the average blooming period of important nectar and pollen plants, herbs, shrubs, and trees were determined through a composite of data acquired from questionnaires sent to local beekeepers and from major published flora and apicultural botanical literature. Here the information is presented in a graphical interactive form to provide users easy access to a list of species and their blooming periods for their geographic area.
In our future research efforts, we plan to merge the forage regions by state with available measurements of the Honey Bee Nectar Flow and associated local forage information. Historical measurements of the Nectar Flow, tracked by weighing hives during the blooming season, are available for a number of sites in the Mid-Atlantic region. Scale hive observations have shown that the Nectar Flow is advancing in the Mid-Atlantic region similar to changes in green up detected in satellite imagery.
A concerted effort by the HBN team at GSFC was involved in the process of transforming the Ayers and Harman work into this form, including the painstaking task of converting their 48-page table into electronic form. Mistakes are bound to exist, and while we have attempted to catch them, some likely remain. In addition, potential mistakes or errors were found in the original table, and thus assumptions were made about the intentions of Ayers and Harman in the conversion process. A list of the assumptions made have been documented here (note that this list is still in the process of being compiled).
Feedback on the information and resource provided here is most welcome, please send your comments or suggestions to Jaime Nickeson. Click on the thumbnail below to go the interactive Bee Forage Region map.