December Dandelions?

Dandelions blooming in the side ditch 12/06/2012.

Dandelions blooming in the side ditch 12/06/2012.

While taking a walk with my family a couple of weeks ago I noticed a blast from the past. Dandelions blooming in December?  Strange as it may be, there they were. I snapped a picture. They didn’t look very spunky, but they were blooming none the less.

So what does it mean? Heck if I know! 2012 was marked by what I can only describe as a “bunch of discrepancies”. All of the blooms and weather patterns took place at odd times. Events seemed to be out of sync with the dates on the calendar. I had maples blooming on 2/3/12 see Maple Trees are Blooming. Many things including the Dandelions bloomed early. The Black Locust began to bloom in April, three week earlier that what I would call “normal”. In 2011 I caught my first swarm on 5/27/11.  The first confirmed swarm caught in my area in 2012 was on 4/7/12.

School BusThis December currently is bearing a likeness to December 2011. Where the heck is the cold weather? In this area the ground usually goes through a substantial freeze and thaw cycle during winter time. We have had frosty nights, but no extended cold period freezing the ground for a week or more. This was similar to last winter. I recall not 1 week lacked at least one flying day for the bees.  In my area several school systems had NO school cancellations due to cold or snow.

There was a much greater incidence of Small Hive Beetle in 2012. I have read that cold winters are beneficial in reducing SHB numbers. It would be nice to have a colder winter to test this theory. Perhaps it will get cold in January and February.

If the winter is mild will there be increased incidence of SHB in 2013?
Are you keeping records of weather trends and phenology?
Have you noticed any patterns?


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