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  1. #1
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    Default Oversized bee hives ??

    Recently, a friend of mine told me of a fishing trip to Montana. He said that he had seen some really big bee hives out in some of the really big fields of grain (he thought they were hops fields). He thought that the "hives" might have been approximately 8-foot cubes. They were off-loaded from trucks and seemed to be placed randomly in the fields. I felt that he had seen something else and thought they were beehives (he said they were white, with x'es and o'es painted on their sides). Either he saw something, or he was pulling my leg, or, as a fisherman, he was stretching the numbers.

    I contacted another friend of mine in Bigfork, Mt., who contacted his son-in-law, who said: "yes, a while back he had seen them, lots of them".

    I searched the web for all types of subjects: "commercial beekeepers", "big bee hives", etc., but thus far, the only suggestion I've received is that they may have been four hives on pallets. My friend said that would not be big enough.

    I feel that if these "large hives" have anything to do with bees, then the commercial people would know about them. Any thoughts?

    Thanks, Charlie

  2. #2
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    Default Big Bees in Big Sky

    Could have been leafcutter bees put out to pollinate or fill the boards.

    Also there is this rather bizarre outfit which calls itself APIS, INC., that has there bees in these big plywood enclosures, mostly designed to prevent any inspection. Maybe they were up there getting ready for next year.

  3. #3
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    Mar 2007
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    Peterborough, Ontario, Canada
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    Default

    ......
    Last edited by pzbeez; 06-03-2009 at 06:22 PM. Reason: wrong thread

  4. #4

    Thumbs Up The love bees

    If they were big white boxes, with x'es and o's. They call them the love bees.

    No really! They get them into oversize crates for the winter.

    I would have to see them first to be forsure.

    What was they fishing for? What kind of bait will I need. I do like my fishing, and bees.

    Hope it's not cold. I hate being cold.

  5. #5
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    Default Fishing in Montana

    Probably Catfish Crappie and Carp.

  6. #6
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    hendersonville, nc, usa
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom G. Laury View Post
    Could have been leafcutter bees put out to pollinate or fill the boards.

    Also there is this rather bizarre outfit which calls itself APIS, INC., that has there bees in these big plywood enclosures, mostly designed to prevent any inspection. Maybe they were up there getting ready for next year.
    Tom,
    Thanks for the suggestions. I've searched quite a bit for both leafcutter and Apis, Inc., and haven't found any related leads. Do you have any more info on "these big plywood enclosures" (size, where used, photos)?
    Thanks, Charlie

  7. #7
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    Default Apis, Inc.

    Hasn't anybody else here seen these? A number of years ago they announced the formation of their company in the ABJ, like 1/4 page ad, for several months. Seems like it was run by a retired AF Colonel. They built plywood cubes that look 4'x4', with a LOCKING cover on top, PADLOCKED! There are several postings warning of dire consequences if you so much as touch the box. There are holes in the sides where a few bees come and go halfheartedly. The ones I saw in an almond orchard also had pre printed plastic tags zip tied to a tree for every drop, identifying the owner and again warning of severe consequences if they are moved or disturbed in any way.

  8. #8
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    Nov 2004
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    Owen, WI, USA
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    Default

    Is your friend sure he wasn't just seeing 6 way pallets? From a distance they might have looked like one big hive...
    Sheri

  9. #9
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    hendersonville, nc, usa
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    Default

    When you say "6-way pallets" does this mean 3 by 3 hives or 6 by 6 hives? As you might recognize, I'm not really familiar with the methods and equipment of the commercial pollination industry.
    Last edited by Bizzybee; 06-05-2009 at 06:05 AM. Reason: Unnecessary quoting

  10. #10
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    Default

    6 ways are 6 colonies, three on a side, back to back with three others. There is no way they are 8' square, though.
    Sheri

  11. #11
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    Faulkner Manitoba, Canada
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    Default

    Leaf cutter bees use this type of boxes
    There is no queen, they last for a season and then die. The offspring are encased in leaves from the alfalfa plant. The bees cut a complete circle and pack their nest hole in, lay an egg, then pack it in some more. The nests are taken in, dryed down and then about Christmas the nests are unbanded, the cucoons pushed out and stored in bins. This year they worth over $1.00 a pound. For some reason I thing 2 or 3 dollars. I do not know what the increase is in bees, but our friend usually has enough for himself to start the next year, and sell the extra. In the spring, the cucoons are trayed, in a warm building, fumigated and treated for pests and chalkbrood...i think. The eggs eat their way out of the cucoon. It looks like rabbit pellets and smells like dried sweet grass. Then after they are treated, they are hatched. Everything depends on the weather, and when the anticipated stand of alfalfa is ready. Once they are ready to go, the trays are put into the boxes and the bees take to their new home. After a few days, the trays are removed and stored until next year.
    Leaf cutters are not as smart as honey bees. For example, when a storm is coming, they will still be out foraging. Where as the honeybees are heading home. The leaf cutters easily drift in strong winds, taking up refuge where they can...like holes in house.

    The nests look like a 1 foot by 3 foot...approximate styrofoam box and about 3 inches deep. It looks like someone went and jabbed the styrofoam with alot of pencil holes. This is where the eggs are laid and where the bees stay for the night. The nest is then banded to 1/4" to 3/8ths plywood for the backing, same size as the nest.

    The nests are in the big plywood box. Several nests in a box. Alot of the boxes have been changed to poly domes or tarped domes.

    Leaf cutters and honeybees work well together. The leaf cutters go for the leaves, some nectar and pollen for immediate use, store none, and the honeybees take the nectar and pollen for themselves. The do not fight or compete for food source.

    Leaf cutters are used on alfafla where the heat is not enough to get the plant to seed on a usual basis. Some summers are so hot and dry, that the weather can do it on it's own, but in our area that is a rare summer. The leaf cutters cut out the leaf, and some how "trip" the plant to make seed. It is then harvested like any othe seed...swathed and combined. Honeybees are not strong enough to pollenate the crop. The honeybees do some, but not enough to get a good crop

    An average yield of alfalfa seed is between 400-600 pounds per acre. I believe this year alfalfa seed, common #1 was over a dollar per pound.

    There you have it leaf cutter 101
    Last edited by honeyshack; 06-04-2009 at 07:27 PM.

  12. #12
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    Default Seed Alfalfa

    Thank you Honeyshack!
    In the haydays of seed alfalfa around here growers used them some but one disadvantage is that pesticide exposure will knock out the whole population of adults. Honeybees will "come back" if they are strong.

  13. #13
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    Chicago, Illinois
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    Default Google to the rescue

    This may explain it. 12 year old info, wonder how the concept worked out?

    http://entomology.ucdavis.edu/facult...n/11-12-97.pdf

  14. #14
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    Default

    Here in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, leaf cutters and alfalfa seed are here to stay. We are in an area where it works well. The pesticides have come along way. there is a few out there that the alfalfa seed guys use that are more honey bee friendly. As well most guys spray at night because they understand about the honeybee issue. We are lucky that way. We let them know where our hives are, and the have been accomodating.
    As well, they spray when there is no blossoms on the alfalfa, the weeds like dandilions are sprayed out so there is no reason honeybees are usually on the fields. Our pastures and hayfields contain enough forage for the bees while the alfalfa seed guys "take care" of their crops. I know this cause our friend is an alfalfa seed producer and a honey producer.

  15. #15
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    Default

    OOOHHHH that sounds juicy!

    Here the seed fields were high production, 1500 lbs + per acre.
    Non food crop in a huge private ranch that is like a kingdom.
    They would kill the bees and you smile and ask if you could come back next year.

  16. #16
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    Default I have seen leaf cutters inside of beehive lids

    How does that little bee roll up that leaf ???????????

    Inside the rolled up leaf is pollen AND(nector,I think)AND A EGG or larvae

    I can not believe that little bee rolls up that leaf, the leaf is at least 4 times as big as the bee and probably bigger

  17. #17
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    Default

    Never mind how they roll the leaf up, I want to know how they carry it and fly. If you have ever seen leaf cutter bees they are very small. I think they are about the same size, maybe a bit smaller than a newly hatched honey bee. Their circle cut outs are huge, not quite Canadian dime size.
    I was wrong, yes they do feed on nectar and pollen, but not alot as compared to a honey bee

  18. #18
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    hendersonville, nc, usa
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Illinois View Post
    This may explain it. 12 year old info, wonder how the concept worked out?

    http://entomology.ucdavis.edu/facult...n/11-12-97.pdf
    Illinois,

    Thanks very much for the reference. It could explain what my friend saw in Montana. I noted that the referenced conference (CSBA) proceedings which outlined APIS, Inc's plans indicated that the conference would invite the company to bring demo equipment to the next year's conference (1998, I believe). I searched the proceedings of the conference, and found no further reference to the concepts presented. Also, searches for APIS, Inc. have only provided basic facts for the company (number of employees, address, etc.), but no additional information on their scheme of enclosing "eight 14-frame (two stories of 7-frames) colonies into a single container. Also, the article in your reference discussed having a computer chip in each box that would transmit various data (temp, pheromone levels, sounds, and GPS levels). All I really wanted to know was what my friend may have seen ("really big bee hives"), but this stuff is intriguing. Anyone know of more recent write-ups on these concepts -- just curious.

    Thanks for your reference -- interesting.

    Charlie

  19. #19
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    Mar 2009
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    Chilhowee, MO
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    Default

    if it was hops. it would be on tall tall special fences/arbors?. as hops vines do get verry long its possible it was a beet field.. or rashish or anyother fast crop and the crates dropped off were there for the field workers to pack the harvest in.. got to see alot of that in the tomato fields in california where i used to live.. also avocados but then again ya never know lol..
    Smart man knows that the road is a one way street..
    Wise man looks both ways anyhow.......

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