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Author Topic: when are beehives over crowded  (Read 8626 times)
bee-nuts
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« on: April 19, 2009, 12:41:09 AM »

  I am starting beekeeping with five hives this year (have some experience).  The bees are on my uncles property and my cousin asked "how many bee hives do you think you could have here"?  They have 160 acres with water, plenty of nectar sources year round (Wisconsin farmland, swamp, ponds, and woodland), so his real question was, how many beehives before there are too many bees for the area?
  I have no Idea what the answer would  be.  Is there some type of formula commercial beekeepers use for bees per square mile or something like that.

Thanks for any info

bee-nuts
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« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2009, 04:10:00 AM »

25 max in a yard. Then when things get slow you may have to feed.
Depending on what crops are grown you might add a few during a blooming time, like
20 or more acres of clover. 25 colonies will cover 160 acres and more.
12 in one area and 12 in another section, several hundred yards apart.
 :)doak
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« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2009, 11:50:30 AM »

Thanks doak:

I appreciate the information.  Now I have an idea of my limitations on the property.
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« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2009, 12:06:52 PM »

There are beekeepers that keep several hives on their roof tops in cities. 5 hives on 160 acres in the country is a no brainer but remember, beekeeping is a form of agriculture dependant on everything around it, mostly weather related.

Another thing to add into the equation is your surrounding area. Are there other beekeepers in the area? Their bees and your bees may have to compete with the same resources.

So there really isn't a simple answer to your question but they should do fine unless resources are bad and competition is extremely high from neighboring colonies.

You should be fine though with 5 colonies. If it were me, I would put as many as you could comfortably work in regards to your time and experience.

As the years progress and you become more profficient on 160 acres you should be able to run a couple of hundred colonies, that is if resources are good and your area is not saturated with other beekeeper's hives.

Consider planting a mix of sweet yellow clover and other clovers on that property to feed your hives year after year. Sweet yellow makes a fine honey!


...JP
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« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2009, 05:47:27 PM »

Thanks for the info JP. 

I am very interested the planting of a mix of sweet yellow clover and other clovers.  How do you pant it?  Do you just toss the seed around or do you actually sow it?  My bees are siting on an old piece of cow pasture.  I would consider planting clover in this area.

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« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2009, 08:26:29 PM »

I don't know if Walter T Kelly sells it anymore, they should, but couldn't find that info. Here's a link http://www.outsidepride.com/catalog/Yellow-Sweet-Clover-Seed-p-16706.html

You will need to talk with whomever you buy the mix from as to soil requirements.

I planted 3 different types of clover on my property going on 3 yrs now. Two white varieties and a red one that are doing just terrific.

My buddy did all the leg work cause he's the one with the Kabota. We started off by mowing down the 1 and 3/4 acres we planted, I did this with my Sears tractor mower I bought from the previous land owners for a hundred bucks!

Next he disked everything up and then drug some thing that gathered up most of the grass and we put that off to the side.

We made piles of all the grass clumps I removed by hand with a rake, it was a lot of work, but my buddy is particular and said we needed to get rid of all the grass.

Next he ground up the earth with his various attachments and then we added a bunch of bags of lime, then the seeds I believe, then the fertilizer and mixed all this together and buried it all.

It rained within a day or two which was ideal. Like any crop its good to plant when rain is approaching.

We actually planted other stuff as well, buck forage oats and winter wheat. This was for the deer.

He said the clover wouldn't really come up til the spring (we planted in the fall).

He was dead on about everything. In the spring I went back and cut all areas and threw out some 0-20-20 fertilizer, remember this mix, you will want to re-fertilize with the 0-20-20 occasionally.

What it does is fertilize the clover but it doesn't fertilize the weeds, isn't that nice!

The clover grew up but not the weeds, I cut it every now and then for new growth.

It is now going on three years and except for a little cutting and fertilizer it is going strong.

I put some bees near a patch last weekend and will be putting out more hives.

Here's a few pics






...JP
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« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2009, 10:40:26 PM »

Thanks again JP,

The bottom picture is fantastic.  If a honeybee woke up in heaven that is probably what it would look like.  I would love to have some clover like that but I believe I would have to have more bees to justify all that work.  My uncle sold all his modern machinery but kept all the old school stuff that hooks up to the little ford tractor.  So I could do it in the future if I get that serious. 

I cant wait till things start blooming here so I can share some pics.

Thanks again

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« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2009, 11:03:02 PM »

Your old Ford will do fine.  A two bottom plow will turn over the field.  A disk will prepare the seed bed.  A drag harrow (or a section of fence with a rock or two) will set the seed in place.  The clover wil make nitrogen for the soil.  Many tyoes of clover reuqire innoculation, so talk to your seed provider. 

JP, great pics.  I am working to prepare my fields just like that!

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Brian
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« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2009, 07:16:14 AM »

hives in location can vary a lot, I can put 400 on a location but would have to feed all the time, to get honey certain location can't handle more than 5-10 hives, I have some yards with 20 hives and some with just 7 hives, some location just can't support extra hives, not enough to forage on. since it can be like this here I put about 10 on a new location and keep checking to see how much they have coming in, if a lot then I can put a few more but if not much then I take a few from that location, I just try to keep enough hive at a location to maximize the flows. to many hives in a single location can eat up all the honey so its best to not over load a area unless you know it can handle it.
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« Reply #9 on: May 20, 2009, 12:54:26 PM »

There are acres and acres of a pink colored clover here all around the beehives.  I have seen the bees on them, but not that much. Wonder why they wouldn't be consuming the stuff?
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« Reply #10 on: May 20, 2009, 09:01:41 PM »

There are acres and acres of a pink colored clover here all around the beehives.  I have seen the bees on them, but not that much. Wonder why they wouldn't be consuming the stuff?

My bees don't touch the clover here.  Not the white or the crimson, ever.  The Bumbles love it though.  It's a funny site to see dozens of Bumbles working the clover all around my hives and see my bees take off for parts unknown.  It seems like I've read that clover's nectar can be too deep for the tongues of honeybee's to reach under most circumstances(not sure if this applies to all species of clover) and that weather conditions involving heat or drought can make it more accessible to them.  Maybe that's why I've never ever seen a honeybee on clover, it never gets that hot or dry here.  And yet clover honey is just about the most common you see in stores.  I had been considering buying a clover mix to sow areas that I work over with the tractor instead of just letting grass self seed, but after watching the clover in my yard ignored it seemed like a waste of money.  Anyone have an explanation?
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annette
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« Reply #11 on: May 20, 2009, 10:57:56 PM »

I don't know about the dry hot thing.  Here it is hot and dry and they still aren't on it.
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« Reply #12 on: May 20, 2009, 11:11:54 PM »

I think a more important question is: "how many hives do you want to put on the property".  From what you describe I'd suspect you can have more.

You can keep adding hives until you start hitting the saturation point.  It is awful hard to put a number on it, but if you have forests of linden, then you might have more, or fields of white sweet clover, knapweed, etc.  If all you had were acres of melons, then I'd say less.

-rick
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« Reply #13 on: May 21, 2009, 05:29:38 PM »

Its true that the red clover is too deep for them, the yellow clover is a better choice.
I found this blurb below but there is alot of info out there on clover.
I read online that there are 300 kinds of clover available.
I would love to plant clover all over the yard since the grass is not doing well but my next door neighbor would have a heart attack.


A field of red clover is an important resource for bumble bees. Honey bees have a shorter proboscis that cannot reach into the long flowers of red clover, so they will leave red clover to the bumble bees. Since bumble bees nest in the ground, it is to a growerÍs advantage to leave some wild areas near the planting of clover. Honey bees have some influence on seed yield, but bumble bees ensure a good seed crop.


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« Reply #14 on: May 21, 2009, 10:26:55 PM »

Well that explains it.  I was wondering the same thing about the honeysuckle.  The vines are blooming and only bumbles are on them.
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« Reply #15 on: August 01, 2009, 09:35:23 PM »

I don't know if Walter T Kelly sells it anymore, they should, but couldn't find that info. Here's a link http://www.outsidepride.com/catalog/Yellow-Sweet-Clover-Seed-p-16706.html

You will need to talk with whomever you buy the mix from as to soil requirements.

I planted 3 different types of clover on my property going on 3 yrs now. Two white varieties and a red one that are doing just terrific.

My buddy did all the leg work cause he's the one with the Kabota. We started off by mowing down the 1 and 3/4 acres we planted, I did this with my Sears tractor mower I bought from the previous land owners for a hundred bucks!

Next he disked everything up and then drug some thing that gathered up most of the grass and we put that off to the side.

We made piles of all the grass clumps I removed by hand with a rake, it was a lot of work, but my buddy is particular and said we needed to get rid of all the grass.

Next he ground up the earth with his various attachments and then we added a bunch of bags of lime, then the seeds I believe, then the fertilizer and mixed all this together and buried it all.

It rained within a day or two which was ideal. Like any crop its good to plant when rain is approaching.

We actually planted other stuff as well, buck forage oats and winter wheat. This was for the deer.

He said the clover wouldn't really come up til the spring (we planted in the fall).

He was dead on about everything. In the spring I went back and cut all areas and threw out some 0-20-20 fertilizer, remember this mix, you will want to re-fertilize with the 0-20-20 occasionally.

What it does is fertilize the clover but it doesn't fertilize the weeds, isn't that nice!

The clover grew up but not the weeds, I cut it every now and then for new growth.

It is now going on three years and except for a little cutting and fertilizer it is going strong.

I put some bees near a patch last weekend and will be putting out more hives.

Here's a few pics






...JP


Hi,Does clover keep coming back growing year after year ?
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38: Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
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JP
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« Reply #16 on: August 01, 2009, 11:21:17 PM »

If the soil is prepared properly or rich enough to begin with, with some maintenance you can get several yrs out of a good planting.

The area needs to be cut and fertilized every so often. I use 0-20-20, it boosts the clover but not the weeds.


...JP
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« Reply #17 on: August 02, 2009, 10:53:21 AM »

If the soil is prepared properly or rich enough to begin with, with some maintenance you can get several yrs out of a good planting.

The area needs to be cut and fertilized every so often. I use 0-20-20, it boosts the clover but not the weeds.


...JP


Do you have New Zealand White Clover or White Dutch Clover and Red Clover ?

http://www.outsidepride.com/seed/clover-seed/
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Acts2:37: Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
38: Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
39: For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.
40: And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation
JP
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« Reply #18 on: August 02, 2009, 11:36:46 AM »

John, a friend did the initial planting for me, he has the Kabota. I know its mostly white clover, a drought resistant type, but the exact name escapes me, will need to ask him.

In truth, I planted it for the deer and the bees. It has some red mixed in as well. Its going to be three years now since the initial planting.

Sweet yellow makes an incredible honey, see if you can get a hold of some.


...JP
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"Good friends are as sweet as honey" Winne the Pooh

My pictures can be viewed at http://picasaweb.google.com/pyxicephalus
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« Reply #19 on: August 02, 2009, 12:22:19 PM »

JP, if I had to guest, that clover looks like Ladino clover, it is a white clover that get kinda tall like that, if you cloip the tops with a bush-hog every month or so it will bloom most of the year. 
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