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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Shelton, WA
    Posts
    8

    Default Greenhouse / Bee compatability question

    We have 20 plus colonies.....

    We are planning to erect a 3000 sq ft greenhouse to grow perennials and vegetable starts.

    I am currently locked up on a potential issue, the greenhouse will have drop down sides for ventilation, allowing access to the bees.

    I am concerned they will end up caught up in the top of the greenhouse, unable to find an exit. Is this a serious concern, and is there a simple remedy to the potential problem?


    Thanks for any ideas..................

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,191

    Default Re: Greenhouse / Bee compatability question

    The clear glass/plastic in greenhouses confuses honeybees, and they try to fly through it. Other bees, such as bumblebees, are more successfully used as greenhouse pollinators.

    I'd provide a link to Lauri's comments about this issue with her open-ended structure, but the forum's Advanced Search feature is not working properly after the forum upgrade last night.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Carroll County, Georgia, USA
    Posts
    38

    Default Re: Greenhouse / Bee compatability question

    I had this problem with a small greenhouse and my honey bees would get trapped at the highest point. I was able to fix the problem by making a small opening with a little door on each end of the greenhouse where the bees would congregate. I just open those when I open up the greenhouse, allowing the bees to exit. If I need to, I can close the little doors to block the holes.
    Natural Beekeeping Board
    http://georgefamilycrafts.com/

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Dartmouth, MA
    Posts
    102

    Default Re: Greenhouse / Bee compatability question

    I don't think you want mine to be the last opinion, but on the vegetable farm where I work there are a couple large greenhouses. One for seed starting and a larger one for season extension. My farmers bees worked mustard greens and broccoli gone to seed and I don't recall them having trouble exiting. He had 1-2 hives within 50 feet. I was not there in the evening but they weren't pinging against the plastic or gathering in the peaks in the daytime. I have a very small gh and have only seen bumble bees and yellow jackets in there.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,212

    Default Re: Greenhouse / Bee compatability question

    When you close it, close it at night. The bees will be home.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Morro Bay, California, USA
    Posts
    853

    Default Re: Greenhouse / Bee compatability question

    If there are bee attractive plants and a dearth on, you can end up with thousands trapped and dieing at the top of the greenhouse.

    I was called to consult on this exact situation. Adding top vents were cost prohibitive (these were hoop houses). The problem was solved by using 40% shadecloth and leaving the end doors open. The bee flew toward the brighter source of light and made their escape. Even installing a bright outside light pulls the bees out, but many will die before dusk.

    In my climate the 40% shade was actually beneficial to plant growth, but you may have a different optimum.

    No problem with unshaded houses when the plants were vegetative and an exterior flow was on. Problem only developed when the GH plants started flowering in the summer season.

    There are various aftermarket top vents for hoop houses (and all the other commercial designs), the benefits might be worthwhile to install.

    I should note that overheating is a serious issue with any GH without adequate ventilation. Automatic Top Vents (which largely solve the bee issue) is the best solution to overheating. I've seen many, many GH with massive exhaust fans operating continuously, and cooking the tenders when the electricty goes out. Top vents by pulling excess humidity away from the plants help enormously to solve botryris mold, damping off, aphids and whiteflies. Most low-ventilation GH run by non-committed users are left vacant after a year or two because Whitefly, aphid, and botryis build up to unmanageable levels. One of the better solutions is to plan on completely emptying the GH in June-August, closing it up tight, and letting it COOK in the summer sun.
    Last edited by JWChesnut; 09-10-2014 at 10:09 AM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Shelton, WA
    Posts
    8

    Default Re: Greenhouse / Bee compatability question

    Nothing beats experience, and I am lacking in that department on this issue.

    I appreciate all of the feedback, it gives me something to process.


    Thanks

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Brunswick, North Carolina
    Posts
    30

    Default Re: Greenhouse / Bee compatability question

    I have only a couple of hives but have quite a few honeybees get trapped due to not being able to find the exit. They keep flying up even though that is not the way out. I have since quit using the gh and now with completely open ends and holes in the old plastic it isnt such a problem.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Knox Co, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    842

    Default Re: Greenhouse / Bee compatability question

    Honey bees that make it into the greenhouse will most likely get trapped in the eaves/peak. A small hole will help them get out. It can be very small.

    Tom

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Roy, Wa
    Posts
    1,630

    Default Re: Greenhouse / Bee compatability question

    Greenhouse's are usually a DEATH TRAP, even for hives elsewhere in your yard.

    The shade cloth suggestion might work if it is dark enough.

    Even with the ends & sides open the I find bees dead along the rim of the south side..hung up on top that 2x6.



    This greenhouse isn't too bad, but the polycarbonate roofing is a bit dirty and not as bright. It is open ended all the way up to the peak.



    I have to keep the doors closed and windows screened to keep them out of this one. Good thing I did a crummy job finishing this building. When I put in the blocking between the trusses along wall, I never did seal them up with calk. There is a decent gap all along the top of the walls, so most of them can get out if necessary.

    Last edited by Lauri; 09-10-2014 at 09:35 AM.

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