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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    Randolph County, Indiana
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    694

    Default Where to keep bees in the winter?

    Again, another thread has prompted me to ask this question of commercial beeks. I've been reading your comments about wintering bees in the south. Its obvious that you can't just truck them down and park. So where do you take them? Did you buy a piece of land to put them on, or do you rent space, etc?

    TIA

  2. #2

    Default

    We have relatives in Mississippi then we are going aroundto find some more.
    Columbia City, Indiana

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Snowmass, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    2,496

    Default

    Want to go in halves on some property in New Mexico or AZ?
    Life is tough, but it's tougher when you're stupid. John Wayne

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    MASCOTTE, FL. USA
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    10

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by greenbeekeeping View Post
    We have relatives in Mississippi then we are going aroundto find some more.
    Are you looking for more relatives or more land.
    Down here in Fl., in my area, the commercials I know don't pay rent.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Randolph County, Indiana
    Posts
    694

    Default

    Alpha, wish I could! I only have a few hives. Just trying to learn how commercial beeks do it.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    College Station, Texas
    Posts
    6,973

    Default

    indiana honey writes:
    or do you rent space, etc?

    tecumseh replies:
    well first off indiana I ain't commercial but I will tell you what I know from past expereince (now quite dated). most folks find some place far enough south that aligns with the date at which they need to be back north. the futher south you go the more miles and the more dollars required. WARNING>>>some southern states will not allow the importation of bees on comb.

    after you locate some general area you then go about and talk to land owners. typically you would have some conversation with the country extension agent first and he would (most of the time) be quite happy to give you a list of the larger land owner who might be willing to let you set bees down (quite typically in groups of 40 or so, but sometimes more).

    some land owners would accept honey (usually a case or so) for rent, some required no payment and some wanted $ to let you use their property. there are areas where the migratory folks are quite thick and there is some advantage to finding these places since almost all beekeeper are quite willing to help a fellow bee keeper out if they have problems. also other resources (like queen cells, etc.) are more likely to be available in these more heavily utilized areas.

    hope that helps...

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Wheatfield, IN
    Posts
    2,069

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by greenbeekeeping View Post
    We have relatives in Mississippi then we are going aroundto find some more.
    Matt... have you started wintering in MS yet?
    Dan Williamson
    B&C Honey Farm http://www.flickr.com/photos/9848229@N05/

  8. #8

    Default

    a few are going to MS some are going to Cali.
    Columbia City, Indiana

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Randolph County, Indiana
    Posts
    694

    Default

    Thank you Tecumseh. At least now I have a starting point when I do have enough hives (probably 3-4 years).

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Boston, Georgia
    Posts
    466

    Default

    We bought an established business in Georgia. It was small (about 300 hives) but that worked great we turned those into 1000 in the first year (I was 11 that year). We run about 100 hives to the yard. We give the land owners a couple gallons of honey each year. The best way I have found to aquire yards is to knock on someones door with a jar of honey in my hand.
    Last edited by dbest; 12-17-2008 at 08:33 PM.
    I am holding on to the hope I have inside... Kutless

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,390

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by IndianaHoney View Post
    So where do you take them? Did you buy a piece of land to put them on, or do you rent space, etc?
    May I ask? Why don't you winter them in Indiana?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Randolph County, Indiana
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    694

    Default

    MP, I do winter them in Indiana. Right now I have no choice but to do so. I think that I understand why commercial beeks move their hives south. Basicly they don't have to deal with as much of the harsh winter weather, and they have more forage available, and then some do it in order to move them to almonds, etc. I also understand that this creates additional problems. But I believe the benefits outweigh those problems.

    My personal reason for wanting to move my hives south has to do with my local conditions. I live in Randolph county Indiana. If you're familiar with our wind conditions in this state, you might know about a wind study that was conducted here. The study was conducted here to determine if wind turbines would be feasable, and it was found that they would be. Randolph county was found to have the strongest winds in Indiana. Basicly, my area is very flat without much wind protection, and winds are so strong that I've started to wrap my hives for extra protection.

    Personally, I'd rather aviod the winter winds here by moving them south. Then send them to Almonds, or simply split them early, then have those splits ready to take advantage of our flows, or strong enough for other pollination contracts.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    North Bend, OH, USA
    Posts
    272

    Default

    I am curious how many stay in Florida (rather than going out west) to pollinate oranges before coming back North and what the prices are for such contracts...and what the flow is like.
    Richard
    Carriage House Farm, North Bend, Ohio

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Boston, Georgia
    Posts
    466

    Default

    We do both. Last year they were still spraying in the oranges when the bees came back from Califorina we had to hold them in big yards in Georgia before we could take them down. Oranges don't really need pollenation from bees. The main reason for going is the honey. I've taken small splits into Florida made 100 lbs per hive (which isn't very much) and then re-split several before the blueberrys in Michigan. We don't take ALL of the hives to California or FLorida. We send less than half to Florida and only about 1600 to the almonds. The reason is the eggs in the basket concept. The same thing goes for the cherrys and blueberrys.
    Last edited by dbest; 12-18-2008 at 07:03 AM.
    I am holding on to the hope I have inside... Kutless

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    North Bend, OH, USA
    Posts
    272

    Default

    AH, ok. I am trying to get a handle on the dynamics of traveling. I am very familiar with bloom seasons here in Southern, Ohio and what needs pollination locally around here, but I know diddly about what goes on down South.

    It sounds as if unless you planning on staying longer into the year, you use the south as a brood boosting (early forage warm temps), splitting, and honey production while waiting out warmer temps and the flow in the North.

    I am trying to wrap my brain around the costs of trucking the colonies down there vs. the return.

    This is where I am at right now. I am still earning the basics but want to plan for expansion, possibly down the line. Bees work really well into our current plan for our farm. We will be completing the last of the expansion of our boarding operation which is now fairly hands free other than hay harvest each summer (which fits nicely with the bees in terms of overlapping time). The hay operation, requires almost the same equipment in terms of road hauling: Bobcat, two 350/3500 HD diesel trucks, 25 foot gooseneck trailer, 16ft equipment trailer, and a roll-on roll off hydraulic system. So I have a sort of head start, even if down the line I need to get different vehicles, if I want to try and tackle local pollination in the South western Ohio, Eastern Indiana area.

    I begun developing out yards around the Western Cincinnati area to expand out from our farm (even though its 300 acres) and my goal is to focus on learning splits and queen raising this year and next and have the gear to put up about 60 hives in 2009. My big winter project after the holidays is converting one of our buildings into a nice honey house, update the water and power, and redo the interior for sanitary food handling.

    My goals are probably slower than others in terms of build up, not because of costs, but because I need to fit it in with the rest of the business. There is no reason for me to even think of traveling South right now because that seems so far distant for me, but I'd love to get a handle on how it all works and be able to prepare for going that route so that I have options instead of having to convert over in mid-stride because I did not plan well.

    I know that went off topic a bit...
    Richard
    Carriage House Farm, North Bend, Ohio

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    College Station, Texas
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    Default

    richard writes:
    It sounds as if unless you planning on staying longer into the year, you use the south as a brood boosting (early forage warm temps), splitting, and honey production while waiting out warmer temps and the flow in the North.

    tecumseh:
    I think you have this fairly well figured out in your head. you have to go fairly deeply into florida (or texas) to hope to find any kind of winter nectar flow. most all the migratory folks (even likely a lot that go to the oranges) depend on a syrup bottle to some degree.

    optimally you want to plan to go 'just' far enough south to have your bees back at your home base just prior to the beginning of the season there. you can of course go further south but this 1) adds to the transportation cost 2) there is no real advantage in having the bees ready too far ahead of the season in the north and 3) the further south you go the more difficult location become to acquire.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Kingsland Georgia
    Posts
    314

    Default

    i have a couple of large tracks of land here in goeriga on the georgia florida line on I-95 if you ever need to park your hives. Im about 25 miles north of jacksonvile fl, run close to 50 hives or so myself. If I can help let me know

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    North Bend, OH, USA
    Posts
    272

    Default

    Thanks guys for the dialogue. Right now I simply focusing on splits and experimenting with boosting my brood, here locally. My region in Ohio has a massive amount of Black Locust and I am hoping to take in a full harvest compared to '08 (assuming mother nature decides to work with me this year ).

    I'd love to do what I want to do without having to relocate off season further south to make it all work.
    Richard
    Carriage House Farm, North Bend, Ohio

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Bartonville, TX USA
    Posts
    456

    Default Paris

    A fair number of the dakotas crowd winter around Paris Texas. If you've ever asked why Dadant has a branch office there that's why. Mild winters, early spring compared to the dakotas, decent rainfall, in between the tallow stands in southern texas and clover in the dakotas, warm temps (but nothing to eat) usually up until mid december.

    for reference prime swarming date is end of march / april 1st so that give you an idea of when brood rearing kicks in and the buildup occurs.

    negative is california is sensitive about fire ants which are in texas (and california too).

    Winters are cold enough the AHB is not a problem. In spite of the fearmongering you hear about AHB infesting the northern states reality is their constant swarming behavior leaves them unable to survive anything colder than zone 8b.

    BTW, Lousiana is a closed border state for bees.

    I was in central florida last week and there were blooms, not a lot but it was plenty warm enough for brood raising.
    "Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes"
    Henry David Thoreau, Walden

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    College Station, Texas
    Posts
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    Default

    wfarler writes:
    A fair number of the dakotas crowd winter around Paris Texas. If you've ever asked why Dadant has a branch office there that's why.

    tecumseh:
    well the Paris branch of Dadant has been there for quite some time. I suspect the reason (not absolutely certain this is correct) that Dadant is located there is that the fellow (curtis myers is the name that pops into my head???) who use to run the store was also from a 'Dakota' bee keeping family that overwintered in the general area. mr myers was also one of the first bee keepers to 'successfullly' (that's another story) tap into the tallow honey crop around Houston, Texas.

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