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Author Topic: How many hives for a beginner?  (Read 13692 times)
Draginol
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« on: May 23, 2007, 08:56:24 PM »

I currently have two hives and am about to get a Nuc to start up a third.  I have enough space for essentially as many hives as we'd like to have but was curious to find out how many hives should a beginner stick to?  I am hoping within the next couple of years to get up to around 10 or so hives (I don't really plan to sell honey or anything, it's just a hobby for myself and my sons) but want to make sure I don't get in over my head.

Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!
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Jerrymac
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« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2007, 08:59:37 PM »

I don't think anyone here can answer that question except the person that posted it. How many are you comfortable with?
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doak
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« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2007, 09:15:29 PM »

I would say if you do not know a lot about bees and Bee Keeping, I would hold with 2 or 3 for at least a year or two. Read a few books, then read them again. Listen to the people on this forum. Not me inperticular, There is still a lot I don't know after 7 yrs.
But then again, like Jerrymac said, if you feel comfortable with everhow many, go for it.
doak
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Draginol
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« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2007, 09:19:18 PM »

Thanks for the advice.

I'll probably stick this year to less than 5 this year and if all goes well rapidly expand next year based on how much time it takes. I have the bees on a vacant area of the property my business is located so I can check in on them whenever the weather conditions are ideal.
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pdmattox
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« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2007, 09:43:35 PM »

I would at least start with two but like the others said start with what your comfortable with and look for a mentor.
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doak
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« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2007, 10:26:14 PM »

Mentor yes. Wish,wish,wish I'd had one sooner.  Cry
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pdmattox
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« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2007, 10:28:22 PM »

I got real lucky to get a guy with 50 years as a commercial beek just down the road from me willing to take me under his wing.
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tillie
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« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2007, 11:03:47 PM »

P.N. Williams who is a well-known beekeeper in Georgia says to start with 2 - one to thrive and another to learn from (which you probably will keep from thriving by opening all the time!

Linda T in Atlanta with 3 1/2 hives (second year bk)
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Understudy
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« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2007, 11:55:04 PM »

As others have said 2

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Ross
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« Reply #9 on: May 24, 2007, 02:14:19 PM »

I started with 3.  After a year I was at 6, then 10, now 30 after 6 years.  After you learn that you don't really need to be in them all the time it gets a little easier.  Then you figure out you need to move them around and it gets harder again. 
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Draginol
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« Reply #10 on: May 24, 2007, 11:05:14 PM »

What made you move them around?
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #11 on: May 24, 2007, 11:30:51 PM »

Within a given distance there is only so much forage available for all the various types of bees and the numerous beekeepers.  It can get to the point that you have so many hives that each one has to struggle to even gather enough to overwinter.  This is oversaturation of hives.  You then need to move then so that each hive not only collects enough for its own survival but gives you a surplus as well.
I would say that 30 beehives per yard would probably be as many as you would want under normal circumstances.  Unless you have excellent forage resources.  After that It's find another yard location to keep more bees in--perferably at least 4 miles distant from you current yard so there is less forage overlap between beeyards.
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Ross
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« Reply #12 on: May 25, 2007, 09:02:38 AM »

I moved my 10 strongest hives 40 miles to a farm with 120 acres of vetch in bloom.  After that it's down the road 3 miles to 100 acres of soybeans.  I am teaming with a friend that got me started in bees.  We each have about 30 hives.  We are at that stage where we can't justify a forklift and pallets, but we also have day jobs and time is precious. 
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Moonshae
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« Reply #13 on: May 27, 2007, 07:34:16 PM »

Draginol, I'm curious, you say you'd like to have about 10 hives eventually, but don't plan to sell the honey. What are you going to do with a half-ton or more of it every year? You'll make a lot of people very happy if you're just planning to give it away. Smiley
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #14 on: May 28, 2007, 12:20:12 AM »

Two hives is the minimum.  You can't have too many hives can you?  Well, maybe if I get over 100, I might think so.
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Draginol
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« Reply #15 on: May 28, 2007, 12:41:05 AM »

Draginol, I'm curious, you say you'd like to have about 10 hives eventually, but don't plan to sell the honey. What are you going to do with a half-ton or more of it every year? You'll make a lot of people very happy if you're just planning to give it away. Smiley

Not sure yet what I'll end up doing. I'm more interested in the bee keeping aspect than the honey aspect of it.  Wink
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Dane Bramage
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« Reply #16 on: May 28, 2007, 10:58:03 AM »

Draginol, I'm curious, you say you'd like to have about 10 hives eventually, but don't plan to sell the honey. What are you going to do with a half-ton or more of it every year? You'll make a lot of people very happy if you're just planning to give it away. Smiley

Not sure yet what I'll end up doing. I'm more interested in the bee keeping aspect than the honey aspect of it.  Wink

I started with 10 hives (this year).  However, I am interested in the honey aspects... and the pollen, wax, propolis, royal jelly aspects.  Pretty much everything except apitherapy (so far, lol).
1/2 ton of honey?   shocked  That would be awesome but I doubt I'll be harvesting 112lb/hive.  Perhaps I'll approach that next year.

I would echo the sentiments that the limiting factors are: time & money (how much can you invest) & forage area/bee yard.
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Draginol
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« Reply #17 on: May 28, 2007, 05:04:37 PM »

Because of the nature of my job, the summers tend to have more time.  My main limiting factor right now is just procuring hives since I got started late-ish.

Here's an aerial shot of where the apriary is (the little red arrow points to where my 2 hives are).

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Jerrymac
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« Reply #18 on: May 28, 2007, 10:30:10 PM »

I don't see no arrow. I don't even see any Indians.
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« Reply #19 on: May 29, 2007, 08:26:21 AM »

Draginol, believe me, once you get a bunch of honey rolling in you will want to sell some of it simply to support your hobby. As your apiary grows you will purchase more equipment, supers, extractors, more supers, frames and frames, foundation, bottling equipment, bottles and lids, labels for your honey...
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