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Thread: Sourwood honey

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Cleveland, Ga, USA

    Default Sourwood honey

    I have several sourwood trees around my place and I have a friend that is pretty new to bee keeping and he would like to place a hive here. I live in the north Ga mtns.

    My question is how many trees blooming do you need to produce a full hive of honey say within one square mile?

    Thanks so very much,

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Greensboro, North Carolina

    Default Re: Sourwood honey

    Bees will fly up to a three mile radius to gather supplies. They prefer shorter, and have known to go much further, but 3 miles away is a good reference point.

    Sourwood is an odd honey plant. Some years you'll get a bumper crop. Other years you won't get much of anything. It all depends on the weather and the seasons. That's out of the same place.

    But, on average it can take over 2 million flowers to make a lb of honey (read that statistic recently in ABJ, don't know how reliable it is). In NC mountains 35 lbs of honey is an average yield for a colony. That would make 70 million flowers. How many flowers does a sour wood tree have? That I don't know. Maybe 10,000? I have no idea. But if that's right, it would take 200 trees to make a lb. 7000 trees to make a super (35 lbs). That is, of course, over and above what the bees use.

    I hope that helps somewhat.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2005

    Default Re: Sourwood honey

    Last year I had one hive make two medium supers of sourwood mix honey with only about five lbs of pure sourwood this was off of about 12 mature trees.The mix was some of the best honey I've ever ate.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Sourwood honey

    I'm planning on planting 65 1-foot tall sourwood "trees" on my farm this winter in two separate areas to one day allow my bees as well as ourselves to reap the gourmet benefits of their tasty nectar. Anyone know how long it takes for sourwood trees to grow to at least 10 foot tall? I have one area that is shady in the afternoon, but the other is in full sun. I plan on irrigating them, but from what I've read in this thread it may not be worth all that time and expense, especially if the only place sourwood grows is in the mountains of which I am not.
    Started beekeeping in 2013 and having a blast with my 12 small cell hives!!

  5. #5

    Default Re: Sourwood honey

    Quote Originally Posted by kenr View Post
    this was off of about 12 mature trees.
    Are you in a rural area? How did you come up with 12? It is hard for me to even begin to guess how many sourwood trees there are in my bees' foraging range.

    To the op...I see this is your first post...welcome. I have the same question for you. How many sourwood trees do you think there are within a 1 mile radius? If you are in a rural area near Cleveland, GA....I'd guess there are more than you can count. If you don't have any personal objection to bees in your yard...tell your friend to bring his. And if he doesn't want to....there are countless other beekeepers who would be happy to bring a dozen or so.

    PS...if you have bears an electric fence is an important addition.
    Last edited by beemandan; 06-25-2013 at 06:39 AM.
    Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson


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