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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    orange, virginia usa
    Posts
    79

    Default How many hives in one location?

    How many hives do most commercial keepers keep in one location to get a good honey crop?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Solano, California, USA
    Posts
    1,377

    Default Re: How many hives in one location?

    That varies.

    For honey production the number is derived from a mixed bag of inputs.

    Hoping others will throw in those which I will have forgotten.

    The number is based on

    1. Forage
    2. Rain..... Past and forecasted future
    3. Strength of hives
    4. Neighboring bees
    5. Time of year.

    For years the number was 32 in a yard. Not sure why...
    then 40. Some years, some yards up to 400. Under the most perfect of conditions and locations.

    With honey production becoming a secondary issue, almost a nuisance to those who focus in on pollination the question is becoming a mute point to many?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    27,584

    Default Re: How many hives in one location?

    Honey,
    maybe like for me, yds are 32 or 40 because that is an even number of 4way pallets. Four pallets make a row on my truck. It's a matter of what is convenient for me and how many colonies I think I want to work every time I go to a yd.

    Yd size also has to do w/ what you are doing w/ the bees. In SC, right now, my yds consist of the number of pallets I can fit on my truck each load, which is 20 pallets. Or what is left in the Loading Yd after I have taken a truck load to the other yds. So, my loading yd had 40 pallets in it.

    Commercial/migratory beekeepers who I know in NY have anywhere from 32 colonies to 48 colonies and sometimes more, depending on numerous things, like those Honey and I have mentioned.
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Cullman Co., AL
    Posts
    196

    Default Re: How many hives in one location?

    Good point Mark, for me it's forage,forage,forage. If a location will produce an average that I am content with, then that number stays there. I have seen yards with 32 and yards with 124. I try to move as little as possible.

    Are you coming to EAS Mark?

    Kind regards
    Stonefly7

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    27,584

    Default Re: How many hives in one location?

    Probably not. Are you going?


    Certainly forage has to be available or we wouldn't keep bees there. But, hav e you ever over populated a yd to where you noticed a drop in production?
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Cullman Co., AL
    Posts
    196

    Default Re: How many hives in one location?

    Yep, good place to meet some of the folks here on the source. I see Ted often, but not some of the other commercials.

    Kind regards
    Stonefly7

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Post Falls, Idaho
    Posts
    168

    Default Re: How many hives in one location?

    What is EAS?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,113

    Default Re: How many hives in one location?

    I discovered last summer, I can't have any more than 8-12 in one location. I can do quite a few more in the spring, but with a two month summer dearth, predation sets in. http://youtu.be/uLlbuwJUg2U

    <a href="http://youtu.be/uLlbuwJUg2U" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    moravia,ny
    Posts
    1,221

    Default Re: How many hives in one location?

    we used to run 36 per yard but have cut back to 24 mostly because its nice to get in and out quick. the longer your in a yard they tend to have an increase of stinging. It seems like the 24 give a little better yield but thats hard to verify. In south carolina we run 40-60 so we have less running around and we are not worried as much about honey production.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Danbury, CT
    Posts
    2,887

    Default Re: How many hives in one location?

    Some other points to consider.

    Commercial Beeks usually feed their bees, so it is okay for them to exceed the carry capacity of a yard.

    The number will very greatly based on the location. If the yard is in a blossoming orchard it can support more hives then say a hay field or wood lot.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
    Posts
    6,199

    Default Re: How many hives in one location?

    Ya I agree with Solomon Parker,
    it about as many as you can keep without having robbing issues
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Danbury, CT
    Posts
    2,887

    Default Re: How many hives in one location?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian View Post
    it about as many as you can keep without having robbing issues
    By that definition; 1 hive.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    27,584

    Default Re: How many hives in one location?

    Quote Originally Posted by rmdial View Post
    What is EAS?
    Eastern Apicultural Society. We got off on a side discussion. Sorry 'bout that.
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    27,584

    Default Re: How many hives in one location?

    Quote Originally Posted by bluegrass View Post
    Some other points to consider.

    Commercial Beeks usually feed their bees, so it is okay for them to exceed the carry capacity of a yard.

    The number will very greatly based on the location. If the yard is in a blossoming orchard it can support more hives then say a hay field or wood lot.
    In case someone misinterpreted what bluegrass wrote, Commercial beekeepers don't feed bees to produce honey or to boost honey production.

    I would also say that a blossoming orchard has never produced a crop of honey for me. My bees stay in an orchard for maybe three weeks, gathering mostly pollen.
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Danbury, CT
    Posts
    2,887

    Default Re: How many hives in one location?

    As sqkcrk pointed out: My point was that if you are feeding or on a monocrop a yard can handle more hives than it would if your yard is not near cultivated crops.

    I can carry about 5-6 hives at my location in Central VT, Micheal Palmer just 65 miles away may be able to run 20 plus hives in a yard.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
    Posts
    2,729

    Default Re: How many hives in one location?

    In the 20's and 30's, 100 to 200 was normal. With trucks available in the late 30's, that dropped to 50 untill they invented hay crimpers in the 60's. We are now in the 20 to low 30 range.

    Crazy Roland

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    dadeville, alabama, USA
    Posts
    1,163

    Default Re: How many hives in one location?

    As stated above it is all due to "carrying capacity". What is the magic number that will not overgraze an area. That is found by trial and error. You cram beehives into a yard untill die back occurs, then you have found the carrying capacity for the yard. Most of our yards on the flat lands are 48 colony locations. The yards in the hills of the Southern Appalachains, 48 would starve to death but 20 colonies do nicely. I do have a couple of yards that have 100 colonies in them but they are the exception. They are spring forage/chinese tallow/cotton/fall forage. They are Rare locations at best. If I had 18 more like them, then I could shuck the other 40 locations and save a whole lot of travel time. TED
    ALABAMA BEE COMPANY-A member of the Sioux Honey association -*Sweetening a golden tommorrow*

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    orange, virginia usa
    Posts
    79

    Default Re: How many hives in one location?

    Thanks for all the great advise, I guess I should have not asked such a broad question though. I know area, rain and flow all figure in, so I was asking for an average year for flow rain and so on. The average in a yard may be a better question.
    Again thanks for the answers.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Worcester County, Massachusetts
    Posts
    3,675

    Default Re: How many hives in one location?

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk
    Commercial beekeepers don't feed bees to produce honey or to boost honey production.
    ....they would get the same (or.greater) yeild if they didn't feed? That's absurd, of course beekeepers (commercial or otherwise) feed to boost honey production.
    deknow

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    orange, virginia usa
    Posts
    79

    Default Re: How many hives in one location?

    Ted,
    I like your answer particulary the best!

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