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Northern California - February 18, 2013

This report covers conditions and observations made between Friday, February 15 and Sunday, February 17, 2013.

Today’s photos for the northern region present a down-the-row shot of the Sonora and Price varieties in the Durham area of Butte County, followed by the first open flowers of the Aldrich near the Sutter Buttes in Sutter County and the Fritz in the Arbuckle area of Colusa County.

Scattered clouds on Friday afternoon gathered to form a high, thin overcast on Saturday before brisk winds on Sunday produced a bright, clear sky over the northern region. Morning minimum temperatures ranged from the mid 30’s to lower 40’s, with warmest readings reported along the west side of the region. Daytime highs reached their highest levels in the lower 70’s on Friday, then decreased daily, ending the period in the mid and upper 60’s on Sunday afternoon under the influence of 10 to 20 mph winds, in contrast to Friday and Saturday’s calm conditions.

Observers reported that the bees worked aggressively throughout the region in search of forage for 6 to 7 hours on each day. However, given the insignificant number of open flowers available, their efforts were largely spent on the flowering weeds in and around the orchards.

Bud development has progressed steadily in the Sacramento Valley over the past few days under the influence of the mild weather. Early blooming Sonora is now exhibiting a scattering of open flowers in advanced plantings around the region and has attracted the attention of the bees in search of forage.  Also earning the bee’s scrutiny is the Winters variety, along with advanced examples of the Peerless and several California type varieties which lead their associated Nonpareil. While the Carmel is currently lagging behind the Nonpareil, observers are reporting that this important pollenizer appears to be close enough to the Nonpareil to provide adequate pollination.

Growers are working to finish sweeping previously shaken mummy nuts and complete herbicide applications before the arrival of rain forecast to sweep over the region during the coming week. Beekeepers are also working to deliver the last of the hives to the orchards prior to the bloom.


High Temperature: 67°F
Low Temperature: 36°F
Wind: 5 to 15 mph
Rain: None
Sky Conditions: Clear
Bee Activity: 6 to 7 Hours of very good activity on the few available flowers
Current weather at the National Weather Service

Photos: Dennis Meinberg and Ryan Christy, 2/18/13
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