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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Salem, Indiana, USA
    Posts
    59

    Default How many hives per acre?

    I have my bees on a farm that has several acres of hardwood timber as well as 50 acres mixed grass/clover hay and about 100 acres of soybean/corn ground. A creek and large pond is onsite too. My question is in your opinion could this area handle 100 hives? Thanks,John

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Ludington, Michigan
    Posts
    648

    Default Re: How many hives per acre?

    no one can answer this question. I would say no to 100 but what the number is you will have to find out for yourself. I would start with 20 or so. After the first year evaluate it. If they do really well you can add more the next year but understand things can change from year to year.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Posts
    1,699

    Default Re: How many hives per acre?

    I have saw this question asked several times and the consensus is each area is different. And it takes time to figure out each place. You have to start with a number like danno said. Say 10-20 hives and keep adding until you get to a point where you are not making as much honey per hive. But, you also have to take into account the weather each year. That's why it can take several years to get an idea of what the area may be able to support. A local beek will be able to give you a better idea of what number to start with. Soybean and clover can normally support quite a few hives.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Roanoke, VA
    Posts
    1,503

    Default Re: How many hives per acre?

    If I did the math correctly the forage area of hive is about 8000 acres. So while they may like your land, they are spending a lot of time out and about.

    Then again, I was never that good at math!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Newark, Ohio
    Posts
    121

    Default Re: How many hives per acre?

    I dont think you will get much of anything off of soybeans in the midwest. You can count on it! Too hot and dry, too many kinds of soybeans that dont produce nector these days. Obviously the more you put there the less nector they will bring in period. I will say anything over 25 and you will notice a difference. I wont put more than 15 on a spot. Lets hear from some big timers....?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    27,758

    Default Re: How many hives per acre?

    Do you have 100 hives? Doyou really want to work 100 hives? My Summer Yds, honey locations, have 32 or 40 hives in them because I don't want to have to work any more than that number at a time before taking a break.

    Unless you have a lot of hives, I'd start out w/ 20 or so at that location and see how they do.
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Knox, Pa. USA
    Posts
    1,271

    Default Re: How many hives per acre?

    There are many factors that influence the number of hives in any given area, some we can account for some we cannot. Remember that bees forage about 2 a mile radius giving them nearly 5000 acres to cover. The carrying capacity for a given amount of ground for any foraging animal depends on the available resources as well as it’s biodiversity, in order to asses the actual capacity one must do a long term study encompassing annual success rates of a wide variety of crops both native and agricultural. They would also have to determine the impact competitive species play in resource reduction. Also the intended purpose for the bees needs to be taken into consideration. If you are raising bees to supply package bees to others, and not concerned with honey production, then the carrying capacity of a given area would be far greater than that of a honey orientated operation. With that said, I would recommend that you develop a rule of thumb for your area. Where I live I try to keep 25 hives for each nucleus 2 square miles. This means if another beekeeper has hives within two mile in any direction of my hive placement I take them into consideration. As his bees will also use a portion of the available forage. Each area differs so talking to someone who has kept bees in your area may pay big dividends.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Flora,IL
    Posts
    2,644

    Default Re: How many hives per acre?

    I don't put more than 8 at a location with a decent mix of timber and crops. If its more timber and pasture I may bump that up. next yard would be at least a mile away. Just me where I am at.... any more and I see robing and diminished returns.

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