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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    westchester, new york, USA
    Posts
    114

    Default Distance to bee yards

    Just wondering how far people will travel to their furthest bee yard? I have an opportunity to keep bees on a great piece of land which could probably support 100 hives no problem, but I live about 2.5 hours from it. Is this unrealistic?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Owen, WI, USA
    Posts
    2,552

    Default Re: Distance to bee yards

    Our furthest local yard is about 35 miles away but there are other yards on the route to make the circuit more cost effective. We recently acquired 400 colonies 3 hours away and we will be incorporating them into our local operation: it IS too far. Maybe with 100 you could tend to them on a daily trip down and back but 400 has taken overnight trips. The yard and the forage would have to be exceptional to make up for the travel time and expense, for us to consider having a year round yard that far away, although I have heard some do. If that is how far you need to go for forage, well, that is the determining factor, right? Moving them in and then out of a more distant yard for a specific honey flow is common and necessary in many areas.
    Sheri

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Fresno California USA
    Posts
    2,479

    Default Re: Distance to bee yards

    When crop prospects are good it is common in California to move bees hundreds of miles. These moves are usually done with bobtail trucks at night. But these same locations may go for years without enough rain to even consider going, so it isn't like you're running over there all the time, just an option in the right conditions.
    For every year spots, not much more than 50 miles. When I was younger I didn't mind driving further.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    26,101

    Default Re: Distance to bee yards

    Currently my farthest yard is about 45 miles away. Next year my farthest yards will be about 90 miles away. Friends of mine in NY have yards that are much farther away from their home base then that. That's what motels and trucks w/ bunks are for.

    Having inspected colonies in Westchester County, I can imagine that it might be hard to find enough individual locations to keep 100 hives. But I would look around and try to find them.

    If you are only running 100 colonies, driving that far to work them, unless that's what you like to do on your weekends as recreation, is going to prove expensive and time consuming.

    I'm not you, but if I drove 2.5 hours away from home and spent the day working 100 colonies and then drove 2.5 hours back home, especially in the kind of traffic you are going to have, it might get tiresome. But that will be what I am doing next year I guess. But I will probably spend the night somewhere. Unless I can get my help to drive.

    So what part of the Catskills are you going to? I have a beekeeping friend who lives in the Catskills. If you got to know him, perhaps you could help each other out sometimes.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Clear Lake, WI / Sebring, FL
    Posts
    618

    Default Re: Distance to bee yards

    It all depends on weather or not you can make the same honey closer to home. Right now Im taking my bees about 90 miles one way for the Brazilian pepper.Sure, there is some around the house but it produces more honey on the coast so thats where I go. You have to decide wether or not you can produce the same honey closer to home.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Snowmass, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    2,497

    Default Re: Distance to bee yards

    Do a quick cost analysis. If your time isn't a factor then just figure fuel costs against what you "could" make from the honey production. That would give you a decent place to start. We run multiple yards more then 100 miles away but they are in a circuit so we hit about five a day. It still works out to about 3.5 hrs driving time...which eats into your labor costs as well as your fuel. For one yard I doubt we would run it.
    Life is tough, but it's tougher when you're stupid. John Wayne

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Anderson County, Texas
    Posts
    1,254

    Default Re: Distance to bee yards

    I am currently trying to develope future bee yards. Intend to build up to about 200 colonies. I try to pick remote areas within about 25 miles. I pay for seed and planting of clovers, adjacent to wooded areas. I pick yards where I can run about 40 colonies, and where I can plant at least 3 types of clover. I pay for the initial planting with agreements for pasture management so the clovers can reseed on their own. White dutch (blooms in March), crimson (blooms in April), hairy vetch (end of April to early May, and Hubam (middle of May thru early June). Will also test ball clover, as I have read that it produces good, but most I have spoken to have not had good nectar flows from this clover. I figure it is better to pay for seed for close locations than to have spend for fuel and travel longer distances.

    I pick adjacent wooded areas so the bees can also work the trees and vines to supplement. I have a brother that lives in central Texas (about 75 miles away) with good flow of Mesquite and Chinese Tallow, might put a yard in there and also plant clovers, distance causes me to hesitate; although I often travel to visit him.

    I don't intend to get so large that I have to bulk wholesale honey, only wholesale directly to retail establishments. I may increase my size as my markets increase. We produce most of what we consume, so it doesn't take much for us.
    "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country." Nathan Hale, 1776

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Central Ontario,Canada
    Posts
    141

    Default Re: Distance to bee yards

    I went to school with a Harry Vetch. Just sayin'......

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
    Posts
    2,608

    Default Re: Distance to bee yards

    I roughly concur with Sheri, but measure in time, not miles. The current threshold is 40 minutes, one way. We have several "holes" on the map, so that will not change in the near term. There are some tempting sights just beyond the threshold that may prove irresistable in a few years.

    Roland

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    westchester, new york, USA
    Posts
    114

    Default Re: Distance to bee yards

    Thanks for all the replies. Definitely gives me something to think about.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    New Cumberland, PA
    Posts
    1,380

    Default Re: Distance to bee yards

    [QUOTE=DRUR;469265]I am currently trying to develope future bee yards. Intend to build up to about 200 colonies. I try to pick remote areas within about 25 miles. I pay for seed and planting of clovers, adjacent to wooded areas. I pick yards where I can run about 40 colonies, and where I can plant at least 3 types of clover. I pay for the initial planting with agreements for pasture management so the clovers can reseed on their own. White dutch (blooms in March), crimson (blooms in April), hairy vetch (end of April to early May, and Hubam (middle of May thru early June). [QUOTE]

    I am curious to find out more about your strategy as I have been thinking about doing what you have done.

    I have a minor beeyard (13 hives) at this one farm, where alot of the ground is not plowed. I have 13 hives that have not been able to build up a reserve on their own. Consequently, I have to feed them sugar syrup

    If you rent the ground and then buy the seed, and then pay for pasture management, what is your payback in regards to honey production.

    For example, if you plant 10 acres of clover, how many hives can be supported on the 10 acres of clover and how much honey could you expect to harvest from doing so. I do realize that the growing seasons are different between Texas and Pa, but it would give me an idea on whether this would be feasible for me. Thanks so much.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Owen, WI, USA
    Posts
    2,552

    Default Re: Distance to bee yards

    Quote Originally Posted by CentralPAguy View Post
    If you....... buy the seed....... what is your payback in regards to honey production.
    I am curious as to cost feasibility also. How much does it cost to plant an acre in clover? How many years does a seeding last?
    What is currently on the acreage you are looking to seed?
    Sheri

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,313

    Default Re: Distance to bee yards

    My furthest is an hour away and that's really just an excuse to visit the friend whose place I have them on. They don't get very good care as I don't get there very often. Most of my yards are within seven miles of my house. One is about 20 miles. I'm considering another that will be about 20 miles. I think that's about my limit. The gas is too expensive and the time too precious to me to drive 2 1/2 hours to get to a beeyard.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Lancaster CA
    Posts
    410

    Default Re: Distance to bee yards

    I was a fleet manager for 20 years after my dad went flat broke in the trucking business, so I speak from experience. You must factor all costs to operate your truck and then see if it pays to make that bee move. Costs: original purchase price,fuel, insurance, tires, maintenance and the amount of intrest your money would have made had you put it in the bank. Basically, the cost to run a 10 wheeler is $1.50 per mile, bobtail $1.25 and one ton $1.00 per mile. This does not include your labor, driver cost. Follow this plan and you will not go broke in the trucking business while you think you are making money in the bee business. When your truck is worn out, you should have money in the bank to buy a new one.

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