Argentine Beekeepers' Magazine


October 2nd, 2023

Version en Español
(Espacio Apícola, Córdoba, Argentina, October 2nd 2023) We have pointed on the map of the rainfall gradient of the National Meteorological Service of Argentina the areas based on the different zonal reports that we have received and that we publish below.
Furthermore, the normal advance of each area can be inferred according to the different isohyets that show the rainfall gradient that increases from West to East in almost the entire national territory and that has the month of September as its starting point.

September was gone in the central area (COR) of Argentina with normal conditions, predominance of cold and dry winds from the southern sector, with temperatures in a range of 9ºC to 25ºC (48ºF to 77ºF). The relative humidity is below 50% in the early morning and less than 30% after midday. Atmospheric pressure more than 10 hectopascals above normal. It is expected that in October humid and warm air will begin to come with greater importance, causing instability and finally the long-awaited rains for the meadow blosom next month in this region and the Pampean region. But first, let flowering the algarrobo in the dryland forest throughout the northwest of Córdoba, Santiago del Estero, the natural forest of Chaco, Santa Fe, Entre Ríos, Mendoza, even La Pampa province.

Currently, the season for lemon blossom honey from Tucumán (TUC), in northern Argentina, has passed away. With an excellent start, a week of rain during the full bloom of the lemon and cold weather crowned with a frost thwarted the long-awaited honey harvest. The producers who collected some honey moved their hives to the natural forests of Santiago del Estero and Catamarca provinces seeking to complete those suppers. Even so, this forest is very uneven with very different scenarios in the region. Some beekeepers were able to complete their apiary multiplication scheme but they have not taken any honey. "A season to forget" comments one of the zonal leaders.

In the Chaco (CHA) (Parque Chaqueño Oriental, the main region of organic production in Argentina) the season is coming beautifully, "what a blessed tree the algarrobo is," the largest honey producer in that province tells us. "The algarrobo negro (by the color of the wood) is flowing nectar a lot, the hives are bleaching", and the beekeeper is adding material.
It is still quite cool and the south wind is annoying. It also seems that due to issues more related to the beehives management there are producers who see the hives being very uneven, shrinking and even loss of hives after the short winter in the region, followed by signs of swarming.
The production of organic honey would achieve a 35% improvement in the sales price than conventional honey in this area since, among other factors, it is not discriminated by color.

The province of Santa Fe has at least two realities depending on whether you are north (SFn) or south (SFs) of Route 98 that connects Tostado with Vera cities. Approximately along that line and to the north there has been rain and the scenario is encouraging.

Added to the rainfall was a greater presence of Melilotus (mainly Melilotus albus, photo by J.C. Zorzón near Malabrigo) which has been used again in poorer and more saline soils, in addition to being used as feed for the livestock, now also as a service crop for its ability to fix nitrogen and improve the water storage capacity of the soil profile of agricultural fields for late seeding of sunflower or other grain crops. A technique that is gradually displacing the disastrous practice of "direct-sowing-with-chemical-fallow" highly dependent on herbicides, fungicides and fertilizers. Also, taking advantage of the first rains, some sunflowers and early corn have been seeded in this area.

As we move further south from this seasonal isohyet in Santa Fe, rainfall has so far been negligible. The high winter temperatures allowed progress with breeding tasks, including nucleus and queen bees in mid-August. These nucleus, which were arranged in fields where the native forest of the Parque Chaqueño Oriental prevails, are already being transferred to a standard chambers because they received the contribution of the chañar (Geofroea decorticans), the aromo (Acacia caven), the garbato (Acacia praecox) , algarrobo amarillo (Prosopis sp.). This area may have remains of the red quebracho (Schinopsis balansae), overexploited for the extraction of tannin and railroad ties at the beginning and middle of the last century. Its pollen is an invaluable contribution of excellent protein in the fall and allows the early tasks that we describe.

In the northwest arc of Córdoba (CORo) (typical Western Chaqueño Park - Parque Chaqueño Occidental, without the quebracho colorado or other species of the eastern park that require a greater supply of water) towards mid-October in most places the strong flow starts. Towards the edge of the salt flats and south of Route 38 it would come a little further ahead, with higher temperatures. In the area, some producers left two and even three half-suppers with honey on the hives to wintering and with the first entries they want to harvest to empty these boxes and face the main flow that is coming (a job that certainly complicates the tasks in the extraction rooms for the more pasty and sometimes crystallized honey that remained from the autumn), north of 38 they are hot on its heels at a firm pace. Now, more towards the mountain foothills, a little calmer but also advancing, there is a very good source of pollen but the temperatures are still a little low for nectar flow.

In the northeast of the province of Buenos Aires (BAne), spring had a normal start, from normal to dry and a little late but ten times better than last year -a producer from San Nicolás tells us- . Some rains are needed because the heat will soon begin and without water, the fields dry out. The growing sowing of rapeseed has given us a good boost, the prevalence of cold winds has delayed our work on the rapeseed itself a little, but as the temperature increases the contribution of that pollen to the hives is noticeable - comments the San Nícolas native.

On the San Antonio de Areco side, in July and August there were rains that led to the exudation of nectar in the rapeseed, something that did not happen in previous years due to the drought. This favored the nutritional balance of the hives. In previous years the pollen supply was excellent but in the absence of nectar it was necessary to constantly syrup. Furthermore, the temperatures above normal in winter were advantageous for the development of the colonies and, on the other hand, the low temperatures towards the end of the rapeseed crop prevented the tendency to swarming that this causes in the hives. Today, the specialist on the subject who updated us on the management of rapeseed hives at Espacio Apícola nº 135, tells us that they are making nucleus with a lot of brood and bees in the hives.

In Entre Ríos province the situation is very different. In the south-central area (ERs), there is drought and a lot of thermal amplitude with low temperatures at night and warm days, alternating with cold winds. This delay means that the beekeeper has to feed to maintain the hives and the economic situation does not allow them to do so as they would like. Where it has rained some, the situation is easier.

Towards the central north and east of the province (ERne), where rapeseed initially gave only pollen, it ended up giving nectar for ten to twelve days. Some good rains brought relief and improvement but the low temperatures and cloudy days did not allow the desired progress, even so the colonies are in perfect condition for when the production conditions are met. The conditions in the queen bees breeder farms are optimal with mating above 70%. The hives in the coriander (cilantro for Chileans) have made a good stockpile but they have eaten it all during the cloudy and cold days. For the north of Entre Ríos, the entry of the natural forest is expected towards the end of October, a little earlier than normal due to the "spring" flower that began to bloom and then the ñandubay and the algarrobo are expected. On that forest we then wait for the lotus and red clover that are in the area and that, in mid-November with sun and temperature, give beautiful honey until mid-December.

Towards the north of Entre Ríos and south of Corrientes (CTse) the rains were excessive, with floods and hailstorms that ruined citrus production in the area. There the beehives fell back.

To the West, in the south center of Mendoza, the Rama Caída area and the San Rafael department (MZAs), the season started late, ugly, cold and very dry. In the area of the cultivated oasis where the beekeepers currently have their hives, it rained about 30 mm in the first half of September and the situation improved considerably. Now they are in full bloom of fruit trees and the hives are going well. The area, where there is an important queen bee production hub, is within the normal calendar for the production of royal cells, nuclei and populating of the mating nucs, perhaps a little slower than normal but ongoing. It is expected that the native forest will make its good contribution in the third decade of October as long as the dry condition of the forest is maintained.

We will update this panorama as we receive reports from the Pampas region.

Fernando L. Esteban

Information generated by "Espacio Apícola" the Argentine Beekeepers' Magazine