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Author Topic: Keeping honeybees in a greenhouse?  (Read 15183 times)
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« on: May 07, 2004, 07:19:11 PM »

Has anyone tried keeping honeybees in a greenhouse?  I wonder if it would be possible if you had a small nuc and kept it small, robbing bees from it and feeding as needed.  The idea would be to reduce the need to hand pollintate in the greenhouse.  What do you think?
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« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2004, 07:38:57 PM »

Honeybees do not fair well in greenhouses.  They have a hard time orienting themselves and many are lost to just 'banging against the glass'.  Bumblebees on the otherhand seem to be able to adapt to living in greenhouses. There are commercial bumblebee breeders who sell colonies solely for the purpose of greenhouse pollination.
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« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2004, 08:29:52 PM »

If the glass is frosted or whitewashed a small nuc might work.  That way the bees can't see outside.  The only other problem I  can foresee Is having a few thousand bees in a confined space.  I think I would check out bumblebees instead like Robo suggested.  Check the Univ. of Michigan website I believe they have info on  greenhouse bees, or do a google search on bumblebees  Smiley
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« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2004, 09:16:59 PM »

I was just reading the instructions that came with the swarm catching pheremone I just recieved.  One of the "Other" uses is:

"To lure and stabilize bees when they are first placed in a greenhouse for pollination. Bees initially become disoriented, lost and may die.  Swarm Catch will help them return to the hive and stabilize the unit."
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« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2004, 11:45:51 AM »

Quote from: Robo
I was just reading the instructions that came with the swarm catching pheremone I just recieved.  One of the "Other" uses is:

"To lure and stabilize bees when they are first placed in a greenhouse for pollination. Bees initially become disoriented, lost and may die.  Swarm Catch will help them return to the hive and stabilize the unit."

I had read the same thing!  I had wondered about setting up a greenhouse and keeping a small hive in it as well.  I was thinking though... the use of the shade cloth they have might help with the bouncing off the glass part.  If you were growing plants that were able to tolerate some shade, shade cloth might help allot for the bees.

Can you imagine some of the exotic honeys that would come from a greenhouse, if done right?  NOT that I am the one to try, since I am new to having bees.

Just my thoughts on the idea.

Peace,
Jim
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« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2004, 01:24:51 PM »

Quote from: JamesWard
Can you imagine some of the exotic honeys that would come from a greenhouse, if done right?  NOT that I am the one to try, since I am new to having bees.


Jim, I think your underestimating the amount of plants it takes to make honey.  You would need one hell of a big greenhouse to attempt to produce honey.  Bees in a greenhouse are for pollination purposes, and would most likely need to be feed.
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« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2004, 01:54:59 PM »

Quote from: Robo

Jim, I think your underestimating the amount of plants it takes to make honey.  You would need one hell of a big greenhouse to attempt to produce honey.  Bees in a greenhouse are for pollination purposes, and would most likely need to be feed.


Robo,
Like I said, being new to keeping bees, I surely was not the one to try it.  I was merely trying to brain storm, beginning with the issue of the bees bouncing off the glass... the exotic honey issue was simply an after thought and is not something I know about.  embarassed  I apologize for not stating the full thought in my post.  embarassed

But, you are correct... it would have to be a HUGE greenhouse to even think of honey.  I guess I hadn't completely formulated my thought.

But the shade cloth part of my post might have some merit.  It might work for breeding Queens though.  I mean, the confined space, shade cloth and some small breeding nucs.  

Embarassed,
Jim
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« Reply #7 on: June 02, 2004, 02:54:14 PM »

Jim,

No need to applogize or feel embarassed.  There is great value in thinking outside the box, and one can't expect every thought to be a great find.  Trust me,  I have made my share of off the cuff thoughts Cheesy

Spurring conversation can be more important than the actual statement in some cases.

Keep your thoughts flowin'
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« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2004, 02:58:38 PM »

honeybees orient to their necter source and the hive by it's relationship to the sun. now how they gonna do that in a greenhouse with a shade on it?  best locate that hive outside the greenhouse and hope the flower fragrance will draw them in. or use bumbles or mason bees.
  just my 2 cents
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« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2004, 03:51:05 PM »

I think in a greenhouse enviroment (my mentor has a sizable greenhouse and they supply flowers to a well known online company's local outlet) they have used bumblebees with great success, but enjoy honeybees for both the greenhouse and field pollination. They have duel entraces though, in the greenhouse and to the outside world - the hives are inside the greenhouse, I think he has three.

The bees inside doubtfully communicate location of greenhouse food stores, they just jockey around making the most of the greenhouse and doing a good job of it. Remember though (and this is a VERY IMPORTANT POINT) honeybees are pollinators NOT cross pollinators, so there is selectivity in their trips about the greenhouse.

The number of bees that pollinate their greenhouse are proportional to the size of the harvest area, it's not like a swarm bellows in there and you have a thousand bees on every flower, you see no more bees than is necessary to do the job.

I'll have to ask what they do for the glass, I honestly don't know - I can see where some serious adjusting would be necessary in their foraging, it's sad to watch a few who follow me into the house trying to get out unsuccessfully without intervention from me. I tend to think they use some indirect shading, I'm doing my best to remember in conversations what they do have but my brain got fried a few years ago and I just can recall - I'll email him though to find out for sure.

I think having bumblebees would be neat though - our wild ones here love watching people, go about doing their business and enjoy living in my fence posts. They are like little teddy bears with wings lol.
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JamesWard
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« Reply #10 on: June 02, 2004, 04:39:29 PM »

Quote from: mark
honeybees orient to their necter source and the hive by it's relationship to the sun. now how they gonna do that in a greenhouse with a shade on it?  {snip!}
  just my 2 cents
mark


Mark,

Shade cloth is not like a regular shade.  It is cloth and you can get in various percentages... for example, 20% shade, 40% shade.  It still allows light.  It also still allows a (for lack of a better term) view of the sun if the lower percentage shade cloth is used.  

I have a friend who used to work for a very reputable greenhouse/nursery.  They used shade cloth frequently for some of the plants that preferred the conditions.  Oddly enough, standing in the greenhouse and looking up, you could see the sun.

Peace,
Jim
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« Reply #11 on: June 03, 2004, 06:07:33 PM »

Ok two questions from reading this post,

1) What the heck are mason bees and does anybody have a picture they could post?

2) And where can you get a starter colony of bumble bees?
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« Reply #12 on: June 04, 2004, 05:32:57 PM »

Quote from: Bee Boy
Ok two questions from reading this post,

1) What the heck are mason bees and does anybody have a picture they could post?

2) And where can you get a starter colony of bumble bees?



Mason Bee Information - http://www.beediverse.com/masonintro.shtml

Bumble Bees -
Beneficial Resources Inc., P.O. Box 327, Danville, Pennsylvania 17821   Telephone: (800) 268-4377, Fax: (717) 271-1187, Retail and wholesale. Exclusive distributor of Biobest® beneficials and bumble bees.

I have NO experience with these, but thought I would post what I could find.

Peace,
Jim
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« Reply #13 on: June 04, 2004, 05:59:24 PM »

Sweet! Thanks for the sites! I don't know it sounds to me that honey bees are better polinators though..........
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« Reply #14 on: June 04, 2004, 09:25:39 PM »

Quote from: Bee Boy
Sweet! Thanks for the sites! I don't know it sounds to me that honey bees are better polinators though..........


Not true at all.  Bumblebees are very efficient pollinators. They work flowers that have no nectar, unlike honeybees. They also grab the anthers of flowers and shake them, which is necessary to free pollen in some blossoms. Bumblebees will work on cool, overcast days while honeybees remain in their hives. Bumblebees also have longer tongues that allow them to work plants that the honeybee can't.

Honeybees are selective pollinators, meaning they will only work one type of blossom at a time.  So if there is more than one plant in bloom at a time,  if the honeybee prefers one over the others, the others will go unvisited.  Whereas a Bumblebee is indescriminate in it's habits and goes from one plant to another regardless of its type.

Hey what are you doing in the adult forums anyway evil
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« Reply #15 on: June 04, 2004, 10:16:14 PM »

These forums are for everybody cheesy  The teen forum is for TEENS evil  No actually other people posting might actually encourage some other teens to post as well, so thanks for posting Tongue


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« Reply #16 on: March 07, 2005, 06:08:07 PM »

You are right bee boy. Any one that can get others into bee keeping are def. welcome here, bye Cheesy
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« Reply #17 on: March 07, 2005, 08:38:53 PM »

Quote from: Robo
Hey what are you doing in the adult forums anyway evil



Ryan,

It was an inside joke,  long before your existance here Cool
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« Reply #18 on: March 07, 2005, 08:56:56 PM »

Lol, ok, lol, sorry, might as well laugh at myself, bye cheesy  cheesy  cheesy
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« Reply #19 on: March 07, 2005, 09:47:00 PM »

I have always enjoyed watching bumblebees work, and in a moment of insanity, tracked down a nest and dug it up.  Those calm, fuzzy buggers were not happy.  And they stung as fast as they could pull the stinger out and plunge it in again.  All the while working their way up my arms toward my melon.  Not one to give up without a fight... I battled them until able to declare them the winner, and vowed not to fool with them again.  Actually, I carefully emptied the nest into my bucket.  About a dozen leathery pouches of honey, and a few larvae.  Dang books were right.  Not the best honey producers, but great pollinators. hmmmmm
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