Hello & I am currently clueless about bees - I need help getting started
Hi my name is Andy, my wife Ellie and I live on a diversified livestock & crop operation in West TN. We currently raise 1500 hogs inside, cattle, meat goats and a few hens for eggs. We raise bermuda grass, ryegrass and other types of forage, a few acres of corn mostly to bundle for fall decor or silage and we raise about 8 acres of pumpkins. We are currently trying to market our farm and related activities for fall agritourism events and in doing so we thought it would be great to offer some home-produced honey in with our fall decorations, home-made soaps and jellies and so on. I have a very knowledgable local bee producer who is willing to help me, but I am interested in hearing about the time frame that would be acceptable to introduce a colony or two into an area around our farm for this year. Is it too late? Will the bees do well on pumpkins alone or will they need more than what 8 acres of pumpkins can put out? Thoughts and comments of any kind are gladly accepted! Thanks and I am glad to have found such a valuable resource on a subject with which I am not too familiar.
Hello and welcome!
Its never too late (as long as you have somewhere to get bees from!). And considering that they will fly more than a mile for honey that is a 2-mile diameter circle, so the bees shouldn't be relying on your pumpkins.
That being said, if you start out with new foundation and a package or swarm, don't plan on honey products for this fall (although its possible), but more likely for next fall(which is less likely if you wait till next spring).
I think it would be a great addition to what you have. However, I'd suggest keeping them a bit away from where customers might be or go...normally the bees are great to be around, but in the fall they can occasionally be a little bit cranky and you wouldn't want customers getting stung. Nothing to worry about, though.
beehive start up
I have to agree, it's definetly not too late.Package bees are still available and you have the greatest obsticle overcome already. You have the acreage,and desire to have bees. Take advantage of that offer for help from the local beekeeper, it might be best to start small with only one or two colonies, get your feet wet.the first year or two you'll learn a lot.Primarily you need to find out how much work vs reward there is to beekeeping. If you are like most beekeepers that continue on, you'll soon grow to admire and love the honeybees for the increadible treasure that they truely are. Good luck if you do decide to go for it.
Thank you both very much
Hey thanks for getting back to me on the bees! I was hoping it may not be too late. It is also good to hear that I should not really expect a whole lot of return by this fall, but lean more on 2010 production. I hope to stay in contact with you all and others on this new experience.
Yes, get the bees. They will fly farther than you think, but most profitable distance for forage is 2 miles in a straight line in all directions from the hive, and they will fly 3 or 4 miles or more if needed, but that distance is not nearly so profitable for them.
See if you can hook up with that beekeeper a day a week or every two weeks to help him for a few hours with his own hives. You'll learn so much so fast that you'll be quite competent by next year.
Best of luck to you!
If you've got someone to help mentor you, then jump right in! I bet you'll see an increase in your pumpkin patch if you have bees right there! As Ray said, the bees cover a lot of ground so they won't be limited to you pumpkins.
I also suggest that you get involved with a local beekeeping club. Much of beekeeping is "location specific" and clubs are great sources of local knowledge: