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Author Topic: Sizing a natural apiary on my farm?  (Read 2946 times)
talkingamoeba
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« on: March 13, 2008, 11:21:06 PM »

Hello! I'm not certain that I'm posting this in the correct place, but here goes anyway. I have a farm and raise sheep, cattle, work-horses, hogs etc... .  I have one hive of survivor bees that have made it so far, I gave them some honey today as it was 50º and nice for a change. Still alot of snow on the ground though. I collected them as a swarm last year from the colony living in my house wall. I have used no chemicals on them. I don't use chemicals on the fields or stock either.
JP is talking me through doing a cutout of my house bees when it gets warm enough, and my great-uncle just up the road has told me I can get the survivors from his house as well. His bees and the ones in my house have been here at least 5 years. I'm also getting 4 Buckfast packages the first week in May.
Now for my question(s); The farm is about 6000ft X 4100ft, the pastures are white clover or birdsfoot for the most part and rotationally grazed so there is bloom in them all summer (not all at once) about 130 ac of pasture. about 180 ac of hay/crop fields mostly birdsfoot, timothy, white clover and alfalfa hay and some corn patches and small grains. I intend to plant around 7 ac of buckwheat for soil improvement and bee food. The remainder of the ground is mostly wooded, mostly hard maple, red maple, beech, birch, red oak and basswood with some creek and swamp ground. I'm surrounded by unworked farms and woods. There are no other beekeepers anywhere around me. There are Feral hives as we do see swarms on occasion, other than the house bees I already mentioned. Alot of goldenrod in the fall. I don't know my other honey sources well enough to know what else the bees may find.
I spend my evenings reading everything I can find on bees. I think I might be bee crazy as I spend way too much time thinking about them. I'm currently reading Mastering the Art of Beekeeping Vol 2 by Ormond & Harry Aebi. Mention is made of being able to keep 200 hives on a piece of ground. Most of what I've read on this and other sites suggests no more than 20 hives to a site.
What I'm wondering is while I'm adding to my hive#'s, should I start several smaller sites or should I keep all my hives in one place? Any guesses how many hives might be kept if I start several yards spread over my ground? I intend to continue using non-chemical methods. Thank you for your time and patience with my long winded post.
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Jerrymac
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« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2008, 11:32:15 PM »

6000 ft long? I might be tempted to put 20 hives on each end. Bees forage area is considered to be two mile radius, so while there would be some overlapping there would still be foraging on each end out of reach of the hives on the other end. How many hives really depends on the availability of resources. Some places might can handle 200 hives in one single location and twenty hives might be too many in another location.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2008, 07:05:23 AM »

>Mention is made of being able to keep 200 hives on a piece of ground. Most of what I've read on this and other sites suggests no more than 20 hives to a site.

You can try increasing the number until the harvest falls off.  But in my experience 20 in one site in my location is about the maximum where they can still do well and not be too much competition.  200 seems unlikely unless you're in the middle of 8,000 acres of sweet clover and you feed in the spring and fall.
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Michael Bush
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talkingamoeba
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« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2008, 11:15:02 AM »

I guess that's part of what has me confused, what constitutes a "site," and how far between sites? I read of people who have X # of hives and ¼ mile away another beekeeper has 10 hives and so on, I just don't want to waste any time prepping several sites here if I would do better finding somewhere 2 miles away in each direction to place more hives.
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pdmattox
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« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2008, 11:24:28 AM »

At different times of the year you can have more hives in a location but as a general rule I keep anywhere from 20 to 40 hives in a yard. I keep My yards about 2 to 3 miles apart. If this is not fesable than place some on one end of the farm and the others on the other end.
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bassman1977
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« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2008, 11:27:12 AM »

As I plan my expansions, I am being careful not to put more than 20 hives in the same 3 mile radius.  Even then you may have some competition with ferals and beeks that you don't even know are around.
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talkingamoeba
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« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2008, 10:02:00 PM »

Thanks everyone. There are definitely ferals here but no other beeks for at least 4 miles each way. I know the other landowners and there aren't any other beekeepers. I am thinking that if I get skilled enough I can probably set up more hives at an uncle's place about 2 1/2 mi away. I'm really excited at the prospects grin
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2008, 07:31:10 PM »

>I guess that's part of what has me confused, what constitutes a "site,"

Hives that are 2 miles or more away.
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Michael Bush
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Bee-Bop
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« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2008, 05:49:32 PM »

One thing, it's always mentioned as 1 mile, 2 mile, etc;
I THINK those miles are as the crow or bee flies.

Here in the Ozarks you can go 1/2 mile down a hill 1/2 mile up the other side, but durn near throw a rock across the gulch you just traveled   Wink

Bee-Bop
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2008, 10:55:44 PM »

One thing, it's always mentioned as 1 mile, 2 mile, etc;
I THINK those miles are as the crow or bee flies.

Here in the Ozarks you can go 1/2 mile down a hill 1/2 mile up the other side, but durn near throw a rock across the gulch you just traveled   Wink

Bee-Bop

Bees and Crows, as do most other birds, fly in very erratic lines of flight.
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bassman1977
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« Reply #10 on: March 18, 2008, 08:59:09 AM »

Quote
Bees and Crows, as do most other birds, fly in very erratic lines of flight.

Kinda like humans' driving habits.   grin
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