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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
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    Kiel WI, USA
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    Big Grin

    Sometimes, it's just too easy! I decided not to plant buckwheat due to the cost of the seed, and then found out this weekend that somebody put in a hundred(!!!) acres about two miles from my hives! It's just starting to bloom, so the only question is will the bees work it at that distance, with other nectar being abundant right now, or should I move the hives closer?

  2. #2
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    Jun 2004
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    Central Square, NY, Oswego County
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    Well you have to answer that yourself. They may fly that far for the nectar and you really don't need to move them closer. Do you want that dark, strong flavored honey? (I like the stuff myself). Will you have a market for all of it. I mean hundreds of LBS of the stuff. Gee wish I was there myself. Check with the farmer if it would be ok for you to place some hives near by just incase there is another beekeeper that he has located there to do pollinating for him.
    Gosh your LUCKY!!! Good luck.
    Dan

  3. #3
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    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Bees typically will fly that far if it's the best source of nectar at the time. Some people with small cell bees have observed that they seem to fly farther.

    Of course it would be a better bet if it was only 1 mile or less. Who knows? Maybe they would let you put the hives there.

    I like buckwheat honey. If you can get pretty much pure buckwheat honey you can sell it as a varietal to someone who wants it for a premium. But sometimes you get less just because it's dark and strong flavored.

  4. #4
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    Oct 2002
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    The Scenic Flint Hills , KS
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    Report on my buckwheat field. Four weeks old, knee high, bees working it. Somewhat contrary to what I have read about it, which was five to six weeks to bloom, plus one week to be worked by bees = six to seven weeks. Go figure.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
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    Kiel WI, USA
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    Big Grin

    <<Do you want that dark, strong flavored honey?>>

    I've had it before, the guy selling actually seemed to try talking me out of buying it from him, the older beekeepers all tell me it has to be shipped to the East Coast to be sold because it won't move around here. But all the older folks who want honey tell me they haven't been able to find honey with flavor for about 20 years! That was about the time a lot of local farmers were trying buckwheat as a forage crop. Also, just before the mites showed up.
    I suppose if it doesn't sell here, I can list it on Ebay and sleep on a big pile of money every night

  6. #6
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    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Post

    Give out free samples on a pretzel or a swizzle stick and you'll sell a lot of it.

  7. #7
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    Jan 2003
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    Kiel WI, USA
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    Yeah, I was surprised to see some at a market near here, so I asked to buy a bottle, the guy looked at me like I was nuts and said I might want to taste it first. Doesn't seem to be the best approach

  8. #8
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    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    I'd also put the dark jars right next to light ones. People are bored. They want to taste new things. They also don't know that honey comes in different flavors. If you like molasses you'll probably like Buckwheat honey. If you don't like molasses you probably won't like it. Letting people taste different honeys gets them interested in honey as something more complex and natural than they imagined.

  9. #9
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    Feb 2003
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    lewisberry, Pa, usa
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    MB,
    Knowing how things start as innocent comments, and after being casually mentioned a few times, it seems to become cast in stone, can you expand about the comment about small-cell bees traveling further. You don't mention as opposed to what, but I assume as to other strains or sizes of bees.

    I hesitate to ask for hard data, or studies to back this up...I once did this concerning FGMO, and was "shouted" down, and then only later found out that certain claims were changed with the times.

    What data do you have about distances? Was this a case of just the right hive needing to go further than normal for adequate nectar sources, and noted that they were small-cell? Something that all hives regardless of bee origin will do, if the conditions warrant it. Were there side by side studies or observations?

    Thank-you.

    This really treads upon something that alot of beekeepers do not do these days. Actually look for prime honey sites. Most just sit the hives anywhere and say "filler-up". Good honey sites are hard to find and can make the difference of 40 lbs, and 120 lbs per hive.

  10. #10
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    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    >Knowing how things start as innocent comments, and after being casually mentioned a few times, it seems to become cast in stone, can you expand about the comment about small-cell bees traveling further. You don't mention as opposed to what, but I assume as to other strains or sizes of bees.

    What I said was:

    >Bees typically will fly that far if it's the best source of nectar at the time. Some people with small cell bees have observed that they seem to fly farther.

    This was simply refering to small cell beekeepers who have made that observations. I purposely did not state it as a fact that they forage further. I do not consider it a hard fact that they do or don't at this point.

    As for hard data here is a site that makes the generalization of smaller bees (not necessarily honey bees) foraging further than larger bees. It would seem likely, but not a definite fact, that the same principle that applies across species (that smaller bees forage further) would be even more probable to apply within the same species.
    http://www.wildblueberries.maine.edu/FactSheets/630.htm


  11. #11
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    Feb 2003
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    lewisberry, Pa, usa
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    I know what you said. I didn't put words in your mouth. I don't think I could of beat around the bush or stepped any more softly in asking the question the way I did. I did not misquote or suggest anything of the sort. What did you think I misunderstood? I did ask "further" than what? (You never finished the sentence.)

    So the answer is no. The comment is based on "some"(we don't know who) beekeepers who "seem"(sounds like they are not sure) to think they fly further. That answers my question. I only ask because called it the "grape Vine", call it following the crowd, call it whatever, you can say about anything and some will repeat it later as gospel, and swear by it, and argue the "facts", and ....you get the point.

    I'm not sure what beekeepers would keep bees on the basis that one type may fly further, when miles are what we are talking. The bees will work the closest flowers that produce the highest nectar source. If keeping bees means one will hit the field 4 miles away and another will not, then I would reccommend moving the hives if its that important. But of course nobody said "how much further". So the point is probably moot. Further could mean 1 foot or 1 mile.

  12. #12
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    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    >I know what you said. I didn't put words in your mouth.

    Just wanted to clarify what I'm not saying.

    >I don't think I could of beat around the bush or stepped any more softly in asking the question the way I did. I did not misquote or suggest anything of the sort.

    I certainly was not accusing you of being impolite.

    >What did you think I misunderstood?

    Nothing necessarily, but possibly infering that I stated it as a known fact.

    >I did ask "further" than what? (You never finished the sentence.)

    Than large cell honey bees.

    >So the answer is no. The comment is based on "some"(we don't know who) beekeepers who "seem"(sounds like they are not sure) to think they fly further.

    Several people I know of have claimed their small cell bees forage as far as seven miles.

    I personally have no observation on the matter. But it would be an interesting experiment to try to find out how far they forage.

    >That answers my question. I only ask because called it the "grape Vine", call it following the crowd, call it whatever, you can say about anything and some will repeat it later as gospel, and swear by it, and argue the "facts", and ....you get the point.

    >I'm not sure what beekeepers would keep bees on the basis that one type may fly further, when miles are what we are talking. The bees will work the closest flowers that produce the highest nectar source. If keeping bees means one will hit the field 4 miles away and another will not, then I would reccommend moving the hives if its that important. But of course nobody said "how much further". So the point is probably moot. Further could mean 1 foot or 1 mile.

    How much has been claimed is more like 7 miles. But no bee is going to go that far except in a dearth. But in a dearth it could mean the difference between survival and dying out.

    The evidence from studying all different pollenators would seem to support that larger bees forage shorter distances and smaller bees forage longer distances. All of them, I'm sure, only go longer distances when they need to. But surely the reason the smaler bees forage further has to do with efficiency. It's only pratical if you burn less energy than you bring in. Bees have a great sense of direction and have been known to fly 8 miles to breed. So it's not a limitation on their ability to fly that far or find their way home that far away.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Central Square, NY, Oswego County
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    Question

    BjornBee Are you beating "around our Bush"?
    UHMMMM!
    Dan

  14. #14
    rwjedi Guest

    Big Grin

    GET HIM!!!!

    LOL


  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    lewisberry, Pa, usa
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    Post

    Thanks MB.

    I'm a Bush man all the way round.

  16. #16
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    May 2004
    Location
    Frystown, Pa, United states
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    Post

    I read somewhere that a bee was good for 500 miles.
    If a small cell bee flies further than that would make them die faster? Would that be a benefit?
    If the number I heard was true. Then I have some questions.
    If a large bee flies 2 miles and a small bee flies 4mi. making small bees die twice as fast as the larger bee. Then a small queen would have to produce twice the ammount of brood to keep the hive populated? If you have twice the amount of brood than that means they would consume twice the amount of food?

    Or does a small cell bee have wings that last longer due to the smaller size?

    [This message has been edited by JReece (edited August 18, 2004).]

  17. #17
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    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    The theory is that the small bee is more aerodynamic and has to work less to fly and that is why it is economically (in terms of energy) feasible for them to fly further.

    It's not a matter of them being more motivated to work that hard and therefore working themselves to death faster. It's an issue of efficiency.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Rockford, Michigan
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    147

    Post

    BjornBee made the statement above:

    "This really treads upon something that alot of beekeepers do not do these days. Actually look for prime honey sites. Most just sit the hives anywhere and say "filler-up". Good honey sites are hard to find and can make the difference of 40 lbs, and 120 lbs per hive."

    I largely agree with this statement and maybe it has something to do with hive costs,vandalism, or maybe just ease of access.Don't really know.

    Nevertheless, what would one look for in a "prime honey site"? Which would you prefer, a 10 acre field of grass and wildflowers or 10 acres of thick swamp,bog or wetlands? I know it's been mentioned before about putting a hive on a scale, and I still believe that in spite of all the other variables (drought,temperature,etc.)that go along with nectar gathering,a scale would still be a useful tool in making an early assessment of a location.

  19. #19
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    Jan 2003
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    Kiel WI, USA
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    You can't just look at ten acres, you have to look at tens of thousands.

  20. #20
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    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    The area for two miles in every direction is what the bees will work regularly. That is what I would look at. Not the 10 acres around the bees but the 8000 acres that make up that 2 mile radius (a circle four miles across).

    If you doubt that number here is the math:

    Area of a circle Pi * Radius squared.

    The radius is 2 miles. 2 squared is 4. Times Pi (3.14) is 12.56 (3.1415926535897932384626433832795...) but 3.14 will do for this.

    So that is 12.56 square miles. There are 640 acres to a square mile so that is 8038 acres.

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