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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
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    Kingston, Jamaica
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    15

    Default Supporting 1000+ hives on a hundread acre farm?

    i have over 200 acre land space and i was thinking of turning it into a large wildflower meadow for a beefarm of around 1000 hives. flowers bloom all year round in jamaica where i live ( some keepers harvest once ever couple of month) and the weathers mostly sunny. can 200 acres of constantly blooming(Most of the year any way) flowers increase honey yield significantly? keeping in mind that the 4sq miles a bee travel is not not dense with flowers and they would only need a short distance to travel, saving honey on fuel. any thoughts?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    46,320

    Default Re: Supporting 1000+ hives on a hundread acre farm?

    The bees will forage the 8,000 acres around them pretty thoroughly and possibly more in a pinch. I don't think 200 acres is enough to support 1,000 hives nor is the 8,000 past that... The most I have in one place is 28 hives or so. There are pictures in the old bee books of 100 or 200 hives in one place surrounded by sweet clover, I assume they are in the middle of 8,000 acres of sweet clover...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Pueblo, Colorado, USA
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    696

    Default Re: Supporting 1000+ hives on a hundread acre farm?

    There is a small 2 acre plot of alfalfa directly to the west of my apiary (about 800 feet west) that has been profusely blooming for the past week. It looks like 95% of all the foragers in 12 hives have been working it from dawn to dusk for the past week. If you go into the field you can hear the low drone of thousands of bees buzzing around. I noticed that all my hives were putting up honey and wondered where it could possibly be coming from and I kept discounting that little patch of alfalfa as the source (because it was so small). I can say this though, to fly to that patch of alfalfa the bees have to fly from the apiary and go between an old hog shed and a large grain silo. The bees are so thick that you can't walk through there without getting constantly pelted by them. The guy who farms that little patch hates having to deal with that little 2 acre plot of alfalfa. He cut it early to control the mustard in it and hasnt touched it since. The point of my rambling is that a small patch of land that is absolutely covered in blooming vegetation can support quite a few hives and you just have to believe me when I say that not much else around here is blooming right now. I wish the alfalfa around here wasnt grown for feed because it typically gets cut a few days before bloom to a couple days after bloom to keep the nutritional value of the feed high. My estimate would be that each hive has put up on average 15 - 20 pounds of honey for themselves in the past few weeks.
    Zone 5a @ 4700 ft. High Desert
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Warrior, Alabama
    Posts
    1,068

    Default Re: Supporting 1000+ hives on a hundread acre farm?

    Do not plant wild flowers. They may be pretty but not as good for the bees. Go find some old bee keepers talk to them about the local plants that produce the most nector over the longest time. Do you have a Univ.in Jam. Go talk to them. Do your home work there for there. Take the top four answers. Plant that.
    Old Guy in Alabama

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    9,759

    Default Re: Supporting 1000+ hives on a hundread acre farm?

    I wouldn't plant wild flowers even though we did. I would stand back and let nature do it. It will end up that way anyway in about 5 years. I would also listen to experience if they tell you 200 acres will not support 1000 hives.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
    Posts
    2,728

    Default Re: Supporting 1000+ hives on a hundread acre farm?

    Mr. Bush wrote:

    There are pictures in the old bee books of 100 or 200 hives in one place surrounded by sweet clover, I assume they are in the middle of 8,000 acres of sweet clover...

    I concur on the 200 hives in one location before trucks where invented. August Diehnelt had over100 hives in his yard in 1924. When his son, Walter, bought a truck, and switched to 50 hives in a yard, per hive production jumped significantly.

    The answer is you can put 1000 hives in one spot, but it not wise economically.

    Crazy Roland

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Kingston, Jamaica
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: Supporting 1000+ hives on a hundread acre farm?

    if a thousand hives in a spot is a bad idea, how does one keep large amount of hives. commercial operations have thousands, do hey send them in 50 hive yard around the state/country or something. and in an 8000 acre foraging distance, how much of it is covered with flower? i i dont think its a large percentage, probly like 200-1000? thanks for the responses btw really helped

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ballard County, KY
    Posts
    348

    Default Re: Supporting 1000+ hives on a hundread acre farm?

    Quote Originally Posted by mr.newbee View Post
    if a thousand hives in a spot is a bad idea, how does one keep large amount of hives. commercial operations have thousands, do hey send them in 50 hive yard around the state/country or something. and in an 8000 acre foraging distance, how much of it is covered with flower? i i dont think its a large percentage, probly like 200-1000? thanks for the responses btw really helped
    I bet they feed tankers full of HFCS also. I have about 30 at my place with monoculture corn and beans and they are pretty well maxed out I can bump them to 50 pretty easily but have to feed some during the dearth.

    Tim

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    El Dorado County, CA
    Posts
    605

    Default Re: Supporting 1000+ hives on a hundread acre farm?

    i have an early organic gardening encyclopedia that lists anise hyssop as the wonder honey plant. they write that it was said that an acre could support a hundred hives.
    all that is gold does not glitter

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    brownwood, TX, USA
    Posts
    843

    Default Re: Supporting 1000+ hives on a hundread acre farm?

    I am not planting anything for bees. If my bees can't make it in their natural enviroment, so be it, and I will get out of the bee business. I want chemical free bees that can survive on native ranch pastures. It that's not possible, I'm out of the business.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    McDonough, NY United States
    Posts
    244

    Default Re: Supporting 1000+ hives on a hundread acre farm?

    Mr. Newbee... do you already have 1000 or so hives on that land?

    I think most people are picturing you planting a huge flower field and then dumping 1000 hives on it. If this is the case, your guess is as good as mine.

    If you already have 1000 hives that are producing at a level you are happy with, I would certainly say that planting more high production plants would have to help your production. As far as the cost basis and yield on the work, I don't know if it would pay off.

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