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Author Topic: Adjacent Wetlands ~> est # hive support?  (Read 4675 times)

Offline Dane Bramage

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Adjacent Wetlands ~> est # hive support?
« on: April 01, 2007, 12:41:29 AM »
Greetings,

I am a 100% "newbee" but have a question for future growth.  Is it possible to estimate how many hives an area can support?  One of my properties (near Portland, Ore.) is a 1/2 acre lot with a few apples, pears, cherries, blueberries, etc., and adjacent to ~ 20 acres of wetlands.  Here's a couple of images to hopefully provide a bit of perspective:




The wetlands have year round creek flow, prolific blackberries (harvested ~ 50 gallons from one site alone), loads of wildflowers, weeds, etc., etc.,.

When presented with a non-standard (as opposed to orchard, etc.,) topography, how would experienced beekeepers gauge the number of hives it could support?  or is it an iterative process? (i.e. keep adding until reaching the point of diminishing returns). 

Thanks in advance for any advice/insights.

Regards,
Dane

Offline Understudy

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Re: Adjacent Wetlands ~> est # hive support?
« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2007, 07:54:51 AM »
Sounds like your in a good area. You could have quite a few hives. Since you are new I wouls say start with two hives and then next year go from there.

Sincerely,
Brendhan
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Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Adjacent Wetlands ~> est # hive support?
« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2007, 09:43:45 AM »
You can take a wild guess as a start, but the only real way is to keep working up until your harvest stays the same even though the hives went up.  But even then, it may have just been a bad year.
Michael Bush
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Offline bluegrass

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Re: Adjacent Wetlands ~> est # hive support?
« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2007, 09:45:09 AM »
semi-urban....that lot will support more hives that you can fit on it. I can't help you with an equation or anything, but you can keep adding hives til the neighbours complain that there are too many bees around.
Sugarbush Bees

Offline Dane Bramage

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Re: Adjacent Wetlands ~> est # hive support?
« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2007, 11:59:28 AM »
Thanks much for the replies.  :)

I was suspecting there wasn't an equation for such an undeveloped/wild scenario.  I also realize that there is no controlling the bee's foraging area.  I imagine my bees will visit neighboring gardens as well as the wetlands and possibly even venture off into nearby farmland, etc.,.  (I'll do some research on bee foraging ranges to get a better idea).

My entire property is fenced off and I intend to have the hives all adjacent and facing the wetlands.  I think I'll be able to direct their flight path that way.  Also, no neighbors will be within ~ 75-100 yards of the hives and will have no line-of-sight to them.  I'm hopeful no one will even notice them, much less consider them a specific nuisance.  There's often plenty of yellowjackets searching for meat (for their larvae ~> trophallaxis), other wasps, etc., around already.

Thanks again - I'll be starting with minimal hives by necessity but will keep you all posted on progress/results as I hope to grow my apiary.

Offline Dane Bramage

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update Re: Adjacent Wetlands
« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2007, 11:52:20 PM »
Update ~> I was able to score four Nucs and Kona Carniolan queens.  The weather is suppose to hit mid 70's in a few days.
 8-)

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Adjacent Wetlands ~> est # hive support?
« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2007, 07:58:39 AM »
My starting guess is always 20 hives in one spot.  If they do really well, you can add some.  If they don't you can back off until they seem to compete less and produce more honey total.
Michael Bush
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Offline LET-CA

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Re: Adjacent Wetlands ~> est # hive support?
« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2007, 05:15:26 PM »
The ace you have working in your favor is the proximity of the berries.  You'll have wonderful tasting honey!  My brother has a hive right on top of a berry patch.  It's surprizing how much of the berry flavor is carried into the honey.

Offline Dane Bramage

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Re: Adjacent Wetlands ~> est # hive support?
« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2007, 07:39:52 PM »
Thanks MB ~> it'll be a little while before I split up to 20 hives but I think that is definitely the direction I'll be heading in. (more on progress/outlook below)

Thanks LET-CA ~> I hope you're right!  I'm so fired-up on the hives I've just installed (my first, btw).  I returned yesterday from visiting a local (Hood River, Ore) apiary to get my "nucs".  Basically I brought my brood boxes, we picked 5 frames from their established hives (which had just returned from almond pollination in Cali), set them atop existing hives for a few hours, then returned and dropped them back on my bottoms (screened) into the truck bed and off I went.  I had to keep the hives in the truck bed last night (arrived back home late) so they were warm and cozy under the tonneau cover with a couple of cups of syrup in feeder frames and pollen patties.  When I installed the queens this morning I was surprised to find they had already drawn 1/2 of one side of a new frame (deeps) and some empty feeders.  :shock:
Anyways - the pears and cherries are in bloom, along with all kinds of other trees, blueberries and apples are next & then all the wildflowers, weeds and loads of blackberries that line the creek in the wetlands to round out the sumer.

Here's another, more distant "bird's eye view" image of the layout. 


The hives are on benches, on a deck between the above-ground pool and wetlands (lower right corner of image).  Probably about 20-25 yards from the creek.

Two quick questions: Should I keep the syrup feeding going on (&, if so, for how long)?
Are my entrance reducers necessary (&, if so, for how long)?

I've already received one lead for pollination services (local, 3 acres of blueberries) but that will have to wait until next year I'm afraid.

Cheers,
Dane

Offline Brian D. Bray

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Re: Adjacent Wetlands ~> est # hive support?
« Reply #9 on: April 04, 2007, 07:54:08 PM »
If the bees have a full box of drawn comb and there is plenty of forage in the area there is no need to feed them any longer.  One mistake many newbee's make is to over feed.  The bees fill begin to fill in the area the queen needs for raising more bees so the the development of the hive is interrupted or stiffled.  It's called becoming honey bound. 
I would cease feeding and let the hive develop naturally.  Watch and add supers on a timely basis using the 80% rule.  80% rule = when the super is 80 % full of comb, bees, brood, and honey add another super.  On a 10 frame hive when you have 8 frames covered with bees and they have just started on the last2 frames add the super.  Waiting any longer, especially during a honey flow, the hive will build out to maximum in a day or two and then switch to a swarm development mode.  Keeping the hive open and adding supers before they are actually needed is the best way to prevent swarms and building up of the hive.  It produces a greater yield per hive also.
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Offline Dane Bramage

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Re: Adjacent Wetlands ~> est # hive support?
« Reply #10 on: April 04, 2007, 09:42:28 PM »
If the bees have a full box of drawn comb and there is plenty of forage in the area there is no need to feed them any longer.  One mistake many newbee's make is to over feed.  The bees fill begin to fill in the area the queen needs for raising more bees so the the development of the hive is interrupted or stiffled.  It's called becoming honey bound. 
I would cease feeding and let the hive develop naturally.  Watch and add supers on a timely basis using the 80% rule.  80% rule = when the super is 80 % full of comb, bees, brood, and honey add another super.  On a 10 frame hive when you have 8 frames covered with bees and they have just started on the last2 frames add the super.  Waiting any longer, especially during a honey flow, the hive will build out to maximum in a day or two and then switch to a swarm development mode.  Keeping the hive open and adding supers before they are actually needed is the best way to prevent swarms and building up of the hive.  It produces a greater yield per hive also.

Thank you kindly for the thoughtful reply Brian (much appreciated).   To clarify, my situation is that of new hives (newly queened, 5/10 frames filled).  My queens just went in today ~ surely have not even escaped their cages as yet.  So I should keep feeding them until the brood box is fully drawn (even if not filled)?   Should I remove the pollen patty (assuming there is any left) at that point as well?  I don't wish to unduly disturb these new hives but, at the rate they're feeding, I will need to reload the syrup tomorrow.  Pros v. cons on disturbing v. lack of syrup? (i.e. would it be very bad if they run out of syrup at this stage with water near, blooming nectar near, pollen patty installed).

The addition of supers per 80% rule confirms what I've read thus far.

Last 'requestion' (sorry for the nubeeness) - Are my entrance reducers necessary (&, if so, for how long)?

Offline Understudy

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Re: Adjacent Wetlands ~> est # hive support?
« Reply #11 on: April 04, 2007, 10:19:09 PM »
If your tempratures are warm enough and you have enough traffic. You probably don't need them.

Sincerley,
Brendhan
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Offline Dane Bramage

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Re: Adjacent Wetlands ~> est # hive support?
« Reply #12 on: April 05, 2007, 01:15:14 AM »
If your tempratures are warm enough and you have enough traffic. You probably don't need them.

Sincerley,
Brendhan

Thx Understudy ~> I went ahead and put them on tonight.  The temperature is forecast to drop down to 41F prior dawn tomorrow.  My hives have screened bottoms w/removable trays.  I put the trays in fully but there is still some "extra" ventilation at the gaps there so I thought it prudent to close the hives up as much as possible for the moment.

I stared at the hives until it got too dark.  Some foragers were returning with loads of pollen already.  8-)  The next few days will be the warmest of the year thus far (~75F).  The hives sure are peaceful compared to their Queen-less state the previous night (noisy fanning).

Cheers,
Dane

Offline justgojumpit

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Re: Adjacent Wetlands ~> est # hive support?
« Reply #13 on: December 25, 2008, 04:20:10 PM »
be careful you don't close up the hives too much!  ventilation is important.

justgojumpit
Keeper of bees and builder of custom beekeeping equipment.

 

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