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Author Topic: 150 acres... were do I start?  (Read 5440 times)
Bigfoot
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« on: May 30, 2011, 07:24:59 PM »

Okay folks this is opportunity before me, I have a friend from our church who has  offered me around 150 acres to put some hives on. Went to look at the property today and man is it nice, it has blackberry, and trees galore on it, it also has a nice pond so there's plenty of water for the bees, my only problem is where do I start and how many hive's should I start with and where to place them, I don't want to get to overwhelmed  but since I've seen it I can't wait to set some hives up. It's about 100 acres of trees and about 50 thats mainly open kinda like a meadow, any suggestions on how to go about this, any advice would be greatly appreciated.
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Shanevrr
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« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2011, 09:46:04 PM »

cool, pond is nice,definantly put them close.  As far as how many, I started out with four and thats as much as i want to start out with to learn but now I want more lol.  I would say get has many as you can afford, as Ive spent over a grand on mine with all the gear.  Its getting a little late and it will be hard to get packages now.  You may find some nucs, local will be best.  Theres quite a few members from NC on here.  youd better hurry if have a chance at winter.
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AllenF
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« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2011, 09:32:19 PM »

How many hives do you have now and how many do you plan to get this year?   
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Jim 134
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« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2011, 09:43:22 PM »

Now long have you keeper bees for  huh
Do you have hive now  huh

    BEE HAPPY Jim 134 Smiley
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2011, 05:50:50 AM »

It doesn't matter if it's 1 acre or 8,000 acres, they will still forage the 8,000 acres around.  I'd figure out the best location.  The problem is there isn't a simple answer. But in a list of decreasing importance I would pick these criteria with a willingness to sacrifice the less important ones altogether if they don't work out:

Safety. It's essential to have the hive where they are not a threat to animals who are chained or penned up and can't flee if they are attacked, or where they are likely to be a threat to passerbys who don't know there are hives there. If the hive is going to be close to a path that people walk you need to have a fence or something to get the bees up over the people's heads. For the safety of the bees they should be where cattle won't rub on them and knock them over, horses won't knock them over and bears can't get to them.

Convenient access. It's essential to have the hive where the beekeeper can drive right up to it. Carrying full supers that could weigh from 90 pounds (deep) down to 48 pounds (eight frame medium) any distance is too much work. The same for bringing beekeeping equipment and feed to the hives. You may have to feed as much as 50 pounds or more of syrup to each hive and carrying it any distance is not practical. Also you will learn a lot more about bees with a hive in your backyard than a hive 20 miles away at a friend's house. Also a yard a mile or two from home will get much better care than one 60 miles from home.

Good forage. If you have a lot of options, then go for a place with lots of forage. Sweet clover, alfalfa being grown for seed, tulip poplars etc. can make the difference between bumper crops of 200 pounds or more of honey per hive and barely scraping a living. But keep in mind the bees will not only be foraging the space you own, they will be foraging the 8,000 acres around the hives.

Not in your way. I think it's important the hive does not interfere with anyone's life much. In other words, don't put it right next to a well used path where, in a dearth and in a bad mood, the bees may harass or sting someone or anywhere else where you are likely to wish they weren't there.

Full sun. I find hives in full sun have fewer problems with diseases and pests and make more honey. All things being equal, I'd go for full sun. The only advantage to putting them in the shade is that you get to work them in the shade.

Out of the wind. It's nice to have them where the cold winter wind doesn't blow on them so hard and the wind is less likely to blow them over or blow off the lids. This isn't my number one requirement, but if a place is available that has a windbreak it's nice. This usually precludes putting them at the very top of a hill.

Not in a low-lying area. I don't care if they are somewhere in the middle, but I'd rather not have them where the dew and the fog and the cold settle and I really don't want them where I have to move them if there's a threat of a flood.

If you live in a very hot climate, mid afternoon shade might be a nice to have, but I wouldn't lose sleep over it.

In the end, bees are very adaptable. They really don't care, so make sure it's convenient for you, and if it's not too hard to provide, try to meet some of the other criteria. It's doubtful you'll have a place that meets all of the criteria listed above.

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Michael Bush
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Judy in in
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« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2011, 08:51:04 PM »

Robert,

I've followed all of your reccomendations with the hives that I moved to the farm. It is very windy in the winter, so I've got privacy fence to go around them, and will wrap them with polystyrene.

The question I have is HOW can you tell how many hives to your site? We are surrounded by large farms and grain farmers. I look for beehives, but don't see any within say, 3 miles. (always supposing someone in the little town west of us has bees)

We have creeks, ponds, trees and plants lining the creeks, alfalfa field, pasture, soybeans, etc.etc.
Would that carry 20 hives?
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #6 on: August 01, 2011, 12:49:53 AM »

20 is a good rule of thumb to start off.  You can grow it more and see how it goes.  But in corn/soybean/alfalfa country it seems to be a good number.  If you have 8,000 acres of wildflowers or sweet clover they might be no limit.  Reports from back in the days before roundup ready crops and 2-4-D were hundreds of hives in one place and producing 100 lbs each.  I don't know of places like that now...
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Michael Bush
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Sour Kraut
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« Reply #7 on: June 28, 2012, 09:44:56 AM »

Any possibility of plowing or even discing 10 or so acres of the open ground and planting it to clover ?

now THAT would be SWEET ! <VBG>
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Wolfer
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« Reply #8 on: June 28, 2012, 07:43:32 PM »

I've had good luck just sowing clover on top of the ground in late winter when the ground was still freezing. I believe this is called frost seeding. It works best for me if the existing grass is pastured or mowed short so the ground can freeze good.

Remember most honeybees can't work red clover.
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DLMKA
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« Reply #9 on: July 16, 2012, 04:28:52 PM »

I've had good luck just sowing clover on top of the ground in late winter when the ground was still freezing. I believe this is called frost seeding. It works best for me if the existing grass is pastured or mowed short so the ground can freeze good.

Remember most honeybees can't work red clover.

Frost seeding is the best way to plant clover.  Mow everything short in the fall or burn it off (if it's safe to do so) and go out in February with a broadcast spreader.  I've done it right on the snow so you can see where you've been and can better estimate seed rate.
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