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samak
01-10-2007, 01:54 PM
How many hives can you put on one acre of land in an urban area before there becomes too much competition between the hives?

How about in a non-urban area?

bluegrass
01-10-2007, 02:18 PM
Most cities restrict the number of hives to 2 or 4 per one lot. In general it depends on the area and what is around it in a several mile radius. 30 or 35 hives is usually the high end for any one beeyard of any size.

George Fergusson
01-10-2007, 02:40 PM
As bluegrass suggested, in an urban setting you're likely to be limited by local ordinance long before you reach the "forage limit". Ironically, you could probably sustain more hives on a one acre lot in the city than you could 5 miles out of town in a more rural area where you've got more forest.

I'm looking to find a place for hives in a nearby town, the area is just lousy with blooming trees of all sort including huge locust, basswood, and catalpa trees, assorted shrubbery and flowering crab apples, and back yards full of loosestrife and knotweed. Yards are full of apple trees, lawns are full of dandelions, and streets are lined with Linden. I swear, there's more forage per square acre in that town than I have per square mile out where I live smile.gif

Joel
01-10-2007, 03:26 PM
We run no more than 30 hives to a yard although the Powers studies on this said an area had to be good enough to support 40 hives to a yard to be profitable for labor and travel. Our area of New York (being the best bee state in the country despite what davee73 from Pa might think tongue.gif ) has abundant wildflowers and could support more I don't like overcrowding yards for both nectar competition and specis crowding stresses.

I have had as many as 100 hives in a yard next to a swamp and had them all produce 2 supers of honey on a good spring flow in the south.

{I swear, there's more forage per square acre in that town than I have per square mile out where I live}

Yeah we know George, the dandelions are always greener on the other side of the fence!

George Fergusson
01-10-2007, 04:21 PM
The "rule of thumb" around here is 20-25 hives in a yard, but you need a Good Location for that many hives. I see yards of 4 to 6 hives except for the migratory folks that usually drop off 20-30 hives in one place, but I think they're not really interested in making honey- if they were, they'd haul the bees off to someplace better. Those beekeepers that are trying to make honey keep the numbers down per yard unless they're in a really good area... which doesn't describe most of Maine.

Right where I live, 10% of the bee's forage range is open water and a lot of the rest of it is forest, hayfield, or blueberry barren- an appropriate name as there's nothing blooming there 11 months out of the year smile.gif I'm moving all but 6 hives from my home apiary to other places this year.

Michael Bush
01-10-2007, 05:11 PM
>How many hives can you put on one acre of land in an urban area before there becomes too much competition between the hives?

>How about in a non-urban area?

Either way they will forage the 8,000 acres around them. The ones I've had in town have done consistently well.

Aspera
01-11-2007, 05:30 AM
Urban apiary size is usually limited by neighbors and ordinances, not by forage availability. I've even heard stories of people locating near sugar packing plants and making 300 lbs of "honey" in a season.

Fuzzy
01-11-2007, 01:00 PM
Rules aside, in a good urban area, I had 5, my neighbor had 7. That doesn't count the dozen or so feral's that are hiding around here. Nor does it count the numerous other hobbiest hives located (but hidden) within walking distance.

All of mine average about 100lbs/yr.

The larger problem is what to do with all of the swarms that show up.

Fuzzy

beegee
01-11-2007, 09:43 PM
I have 16 in my .86 acre yard, which also sites my house, barn, toolshed and parking lot and vehicles.

Finman
01-12-2007, 02:15 AM
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I keep 1-3 hives in one site and then it must be 1 mile radius without competetion. And this in best places. I do not put hives in second best places.

Important is that area has several posibilities for different weather conditions. One main flower blooms 2-3 weeks and hive are on siten perhaps months. What hives do when blooming is passed? I try to measure the basic level where I gather cream from nature.

If bees forage over mile, 50 % of yield will be lost for distance.
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George Fergusson
01-12-2007, 03:00 AM
>If bees forage over mile, 50 % of yield will be lost for distance.

I had the same problem when I was commuting 60 miles to work. The round trip was a killer and nearly 50% of my yield was consumed in gasoline, travel time, and wear and tear- on me and my car.

It figures if your bees are foraging at the edge of their range, they're not going to bring home as much and they'll wear out faster.

Finman
01-12-2007, 03:59 AM
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In Finland we have recommendation that 10 hives per place is good. That recommendation can be found in books 50 years ago or 70 years ago. OLD TRUTH!

But during my beekeeping life the size of beehives are now 3-4 fold bigger and pastures are poorer because of herbisides. No field ditches, no flowering field edges, no rubbish lands, no cattle. Hives are much more than 50 years ago.

But very few hobbiest practices here nomad beekeeping like me.

When I started beekeeping in a small town I knew 70 hives inside my one mile radius. I had 18 hives.
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Ian
01-12-2007, 09:05 AM
In a place of abundance of flow, you might start considering your yard site, and distance from surounding yard sites with robbing concerns.

A big outfit with a few men, will work a yard faster than one man in a bee yard. One man working 50 hives in a yard will always get him into trouble comes fall.

Fusion_power
01-12-2007, 01:42 PM
A typical foraging radius is 1 mile. While bees will forage further, the efficiency falls off rather fast. A circle of 1 mile radius has an area of about 2000 acres. Not so surprisingly, bees tend to forage within 1/4 mile of home and will go further only if forced to by competition.

Darrel Jones

Michael Bush
01-12-2007, 04:20 PM
"Different authors maintain, they can fly several leagues from the hive. But by the few observations I have been able to make, this distance seems greatly exaggerated. It appears to me that the radius of the circle they traverse does not exceed half a league (½ league=1 ½ miles=2 ½ km). As they return to the hive with the greatest precipitation whenever a cloud passes before the sun, it is probable they do not fly far." François Huber 1 October 1791

Since we know that the typical bee knows the the way home from 1 ½ miles away, I would say it's safe to say they often forage that far.

Brother Adam on page 200 of In Search of the Best Strains of Bees (1983) says they forage at LEAST 3 ½ miles.

3 ½ miles would be 38,465 acres.

I am sure they prefer things that are closer if the nectar is rich enough.

Finman
01-12-2007, 05:34 PM
<<<<MIchael: I am sure they prefer things that are closer if the nectar is rich enough.>>>

When I have put hives 1 mile apart I have noticed strange things. In theory bees forage several miles but but ...

One hive unit gets a lot of various pollen from harvested forest area from weeds and another unit is surrounded of cutted fields. In late summer that "field unit " stops brood feedind 3 weeks ealier than "forest weed" unit.

The size of winter colonies are very different depending on how near they get rich pollen before autumn. Bees do not carry pollen very far, not at least effectively.

When I drive with car, one mile is very short to me. If I carry heavy burden and walk, it is very different.
.

Barry Digman
01-12-2007, 05:55 PM
I keep a hive at my house, and it does pretty well. I wonder though, about the amount of poisons they pick up in residential neighborhoods. The veggies, fruit, lawns, and flower beds around here get a constant dosing of herbicides and insecticides from early spring to late fall. No one applies anything according to the label. If one is good, three or ten must be better.

JBJ
01-12-2007, 09:26 PM
The bottom line is that some acres are better than others. I think it takes at least a couple of years to get to know a location, so you can see the affects of weather on nectar flows. No two years are alike, as are no two locations. We have locations that can in some years easily support 50+ hives and other years half that.
JBJ

Finman
01-12-2007, 11:56 PM
<<We have locations that can in some years easily support 50+ hives and other years half that.>>>

That is one question, likelihood to get honey in all weathers.

Last summer I had 100 acres canola inside normal flying distance and only 5 normal hives in the middle of fields. Summer was dry and hot and canola does not like that. I had 8 hive sites and this was the worst. Best sites were moist soil fireweed areas.

It was easy to transfer hives to better place but I did not knew where. During 2 month yield season it rained only 20 mm water.

LESSON: When one plant fails for weather it ought to be another pasture plant.

Two summer ago I had 9-box hive near dry sand landcape. That huge hive get nothing and in another place 3 hives got during 3 weeks 240 lbs per hive capped honey.

The fluctuation between places and years made me drop the hive number and my average yield jumped 80%. Ít has been quite even during 4 years. 160 lbs per hive. Our yield season is two months.


I have only 20 hives, but I try to get with them so much honey as possible.
.
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Michael Palmer
01-13-2007, 06:59 AM
>Brother Adam on page 200 of In Search of the Best Strains of Bees (1983) says they forage at LEAST 3 ½ miles.

I agree...at least 3 1/2 miles.

1986 was a terrible honey year in the northern Champlain. In fact, was the last crop failure that I experienced. The supers in most yards were removed, and placed in storage...dry. Tough year to take out a $70,000 mortgage. Luckily I was able to pay it through pollination.

Anyway, a sheik from Saudi Arabia started an Endive growing operation. To prepare the soil to grow Endive roots, the fields were tilled and planted with Buckwheat...which chokes out the grass.

The yards close to the Buckwheat fields did fill some supers with Buckwheat honey. One thing I thought amazing...one yard 4 1/2 miles away also stored some Buckwheat honey. As far as I know, there was no other Buckwheat...not a common crop anymore in NY...in the area. Shows what the bees will do, if they have to.

Michael Palmer
01-13-2007, 07:15 AM
Another interesting note...from the same year. My bees at one location stored supers of milky white honey. Really. Milky white. I, thought it strange, but extracted it anyway. When I paid the farmer his yard rent, I mentioned the poor year, and the fact that the yard on his land had out produced all other yards in the county. He laughed..."Yep, I told Mother that our bees would be fat." I asked why? He took me out behind the barn, to a pile of 15 gallon cardboard barrels. They had been full of a "waste sugar solution" used in the manufacture of pills...medicine pills. There is an Ayerst/Wyeth manufacturing facility nearby. This sugar was recovered from cleaning machinery, etc, and given to the farmer as cattle feed. The farmer ever fed his cattle waste chocolate bars that he bought by the semi-load.

The stuff contained Sucrose, Titanium Dioxide, Microcrystalline Cellulose, and dyes.

I called the company, and was shoved off onto a nobody. The farmer had signed a release, and the company tried to blame him. Much of what honey I did extract had become contaminated.

Luckily, my Dad was tax manager for American Home Products Corp...owner of Wyeth/Ayerst. I used to caddy for the executive foresome when I was a kid, and called the only one left alive...the treasurer. I explained to him what happened. Next day, the manager of Wyeth/Ayerst called. They paid for all the contaminated honey...at the same price as my honey customer would have paid.

JohnBeeMan
01-13-2007, 10:45 AM
In Virginia the placement of bees upon the property is controlled via local zoning ordnances. The number of hives would most likely be determined based upon the lands zoning code and not the forage area.

JBJ
01-13-2007, 11:04 AM
How do you get the bees to read the dang zoning laws?
JBJ

Finman
01-13-2007, 12:42 PM
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So, it is clear if law says how many

In Soviet the law said: one cow, 12 chicken, one pig, ......

Michael Bush
01-13-2007, 03:52 PM
Here's another distance quote from Tom Seeley in the Wisdom of the Hive in the preface says:

"This initial study revealed the amazing range of the colony's foraging--more than 100 square kilometers around the hive"

That's 39 square miles or, again, a radius of 3 1/2 miles.

George Fergusson
01-14-2007, 04:07 AM
>The farmer ever fed his cattle waste chocolate bars that he bought by the semi-load.

Moooo!!

Interesting story. It behooves (?) us to keep an eye out for forage opportunities we'd rather not see.

Michael Palmer
01-14-2007, 07:02 AM
>Interesting story. It behooves (?) us to keep an eye out for forage opportunities we'd rather not see.

Yeah, like molasses feed troughs...common in cattle country.

Ian
01-14-2007, 09:36 AM
Always get neighbour complains early spring when there is bee flight, and the trees havent opened yet,
But the bee ignore the cattle feed completely as soon as the trees start bloom.

JohnBeeMan
01-14-2007, 05:16 PM
>>>How do you get the bees to read the dang zoning laws? JBJ

Use the Spelling Bees. ;)

wfarler
06-05-2007, 12:21 AM
to somewhat shift the topic any suggestions on bee yard layout. I have my hives on stands of 5 or 6 hives in a row. I am now 3 rows deep with about 8 feet between rows. It's starting to get a bit hot in the middle row when I am workng the front rows.

Crack open a hive and you get a cloud sometimes, then you have the comings and goings out of 6 hives behind you. Maybe I would be better to scatter things out. I have a main 'yard' on my 9 acres and then a few hives a few hundred feet away in the original yard location. But mostly I was trying to concentrate the bee yard near the barn and my equipment to avoid transporting, etc. However, as this yard get's full of thousands of bees coming and going at any one time, I am wondering if maybe I should spread my target 20-25 hives across the acreage somewhat more loosely.

I've also started to see the effects of drifting as well. Although they don't know the rules (they are drifting towards the middle instead of the ends). Sometimes the cloud of bees coming and going + new bees orienting plus bearding startles me into thinking that massive robbing is taking place (with this concentration it is easy to get it started).

Just general ideas for a 20-25 hive yard layout would be appreciated. right now I don't have the luxury of drive through lanes as this is in a wooded space. Eventually will be able to get the tractor and rear forklift through but for now it's hand toting. I've also oriented all hives with the same southern orientation to limit the north and north west winter wind effects. seem like it would be easier if some of the rows faced a different direction and hence the flight paths were converging so much.

Aspera
06-05-2007, 07:49 AM
>Interesting story. It behooves (?) us to keep an eye out for forage opportunities we'd rather not see.

Yeah, like molasses feed troughs...common in cattle country.

Or the feeding of gin trash. I have seen a few farms feeding cattle blocks of cotton waste. They usually had to poor ample molasses over the block to tempt the cattle into eating it. Its a bad practice for the cows, as they all needed magnets and often got hardware disease from swollowing metal tailings and nails in the gin trash. I'm sure that the molassas and mineral blocks could kill bees...unfortunately it did little for the flies.