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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Hartwell, GA
    Posts
    184

    Default How many hives will an urban area support ?

    I'm aware there are many variables but using your imagination what's your opinion ? In a location with no major crops within 3 miles and only gardens, the occasional fruit tree, shrubs and such for forage, what number of hives will the area support ? I ask simply because when I increase above six hives I always end up with the same honey crop, just less per hive. More variables but consider they are all about equal in strength.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    8,518

    Default Re: How many hives will an urban area support ?

    Six.



    OK, that was a smart... answer, but the exercise you have gone thru is the best way to answer the question.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    syracuse n.y.
    Posts
    3,088

    Default Re: How many hives will an urban area support ?

    start with 10, most areas can support that many, and then adjust after the first year. I always go with small yards, as the bad years seem more frequent than the good.
    mike syracuse ny
    I went to bed mean, and woke up meaner. Marshal Dillon

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Tyrone, Pennsylvania,USA
    Posts
    358

    Default Re: How many hives will an urban area support ?

    I like to keep 4 to 5 hives in my area but my home yard usually will have more. The numbers will change when I start making up nucs.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    50,040

    Default Re: How many hives will an urban area support ?

    When I had bees in town I never had more than seven hives (and some of those were usually nucs). It wasn't a matter of forage, just the density of bees in the area for my neighbors. If no one near had hives (and no one did then) I think I could have had 20 and they would have thrived...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 41y 200h 38yTF

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Santa Monica, CA, USA
    Posts
    1,568

    Default Re: How many hives will an urban area support ?

    Urban environment is weird, but has some advantages:
    - normally, we do not have much pesticides (as far as I know);
    - there is plenty of water;
    - we have a lot of blooming trees at any given moment! I do not know exactly, but it seems to me, that one single blooming tree is equal, perhaps to acre of clover... My bees were working a single eucalyptus large tree for about a month. They also love neighboring community gardens. My bees are not interested in my own blooming fruit trees - I guess, it means, they have a better source...

    When we are talking about EHB land "capacity", we always need to remember about native pollinators - we need to leave a space for them also.
    Серёжа, Sergey

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    12,985

    Default Re: How many hives will an urban area support ?

    Try this number:
    Take your annual rainfall in inches and divide it by 3.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Marysville, WA
    Posts
    497

    Default Re: How many hives will an urban area support ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Acebird View Post
    Try this number:
    Take your annual rainfall in inches and divide it by 3.
    How did you come up with this? I've never heard it before.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    5,724

    Default Re: How many hives will an urban area support ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Acebird View Post
    Try this number:
    Take your annual rainfall in inches and divide it by 3.
    No, no no. I take the size of my brain and multiply it by three. Seven times 3 equals 21. I have had as many as 42, but that gave me a headache.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    12,985

    Default Re: How many hives will an urban area support ?

    Quote Originally Posted by mmiller View Post
    How did you come up with this? I've never heard it before.
    It has got to be as good as any other guess.
    I took our annual rainfall and picked a divisor that would result is about 15 hives. It seems to me that rainfall is a major contributor to honey production not knowing what vegetation would be around an apiary.
    Obviously with a city like Las Vegas the number would not work because they are stealing someone else's rainfall.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

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