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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Jackson, MO
    Posts
    599

    Default Carrying Capicity of the Land, How Many Hives?

    I live in a rural area, upland on a ridge. Within a 5 mile radius, I have some row crop soybeans and corn, an azaela farm, a winery, local gardens, and misc pasture and forest. How many hives do you think this type of area will support and still produce a honey surplus?

    When I split off some successful hives and grow, I will move some out to our main farm. It is mainly pasture land and forest, no row crops or other nectar sources. What will that area support?

    I have noticed some of the apiaries in the area with 20 or more hives, but really don't know how well they produce. I don't really notice many supers. I have not been able to catch any of them and see how well the honey production is in those apiaries.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Jackson, MO
    Posts
    1,858

    Default Re: Carrying Capicity of the Land, How Many Hives?

    Not sure if such a number can be determined. Each year will vary due to rainfall and temps...and your management. A year ago we had two month of solid rain and flooding during the normal nectar flow. When it finally quit raining, it quit and didn't rain for three months. When the rain quit, everything swarmed. What a mess. If swarming and mite control are not managed, then it really doesn't matter how many or how few hives.

    But back to your original question, any given area will likely support the number of hives you want to put on it, which is likely the number of hives you can afford to equip, within reason. Most of my ideal yards have a diversity of floral sources over the course of a long season. Ideally, my best yards have some swamp, some woods, some open weedy pastures and ditch weeds, some cultivated ground, etc. I shoot for 12 to 20 hives per outyard, but it also depends on my landlord's comfort level and their neighbors.

    I think any amount you set on your location will not outstrip the resources. I would render the opinion that your question isn't relevant to what you want to do. All the best,

    Grant
    Jackson, MO https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/beekeeper731
    Beekeeping With Twenty-five Hives: https://www.createspace.com/4152725

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
    Posts
    2,743

    Default Re: Carrying Capicity of the Land, How Many Hives?

    I am also of the opinion that you can't have too many hives in any given area. Bees fly up to a three mile radius to forage. Flowers and such are producing pollen and nectar daily.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Winhall, VT
    Posts
    1,066

    Default Re: Carrying Capicity of the Land, How Many Hives?

    About 20 hives for a two mile radius is a good starting point IMHO.
    Raising Vermont Bees one mistake at a time.
    USDA Zone 5A

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
    Posts
    6,582

    Default Re: Carrying Capicity of the Land, How Many Hives?

    you need flowers to produce honey, if you dont see flowers, your honey flow will be minimal
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Jackson, MO
    Posts
    599

    Default Re: Carrying Capicity of the Land, How Many Hives?

    In a drought year like this one was, one hive was struggling to find any flowering plants during the month of August. No pollen was coming in and everything around was dry and brown.

    Between feral bees and other keepers, there has to be a productive limit to the space I have to keep hives. The farm has over 300 acres, surrounded by unpopulated forests, creeks, and pastureland. Forage for the bees will bee mostly wildflower, clover, and trees. I was trying to figure out if 100 hives in that area would be feasible.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Palermo, Maine, USA
    Posts
    731

    Default Re: Carrying Capicity of the Land, How Many Hives?

    Quote Originally Posted by jdmidwest View Post
    I was trying to figure out if 100 hives in that area would be feasible.

    You may want to try increasing your hives each year until you reach what seems to be the saturation point.
    Like us on facebook This is the place to bee!
    Ralph

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