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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    Posts
    130

    Default New hive location in a 50-acre organic clover field. How much better production?

    A friend of mine just asked if I would move a TBH hive to the 50 acre organic clover field he works at and we set it up this morning. The hive is around 2 weeks old and was populated with a small/medium swarm. How much better can I expect them to fair in their new location rather than just being in my yard in suburbia? In other words, I was planning on just letting them fill the hive the best they could and leave them all the spoils for the winter since this is their first year. Could the access to nectar in such abundance mean a potential harvest or even a split if they really get going?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,505

    Default Re: New hive location in a 50-acre organic clover field. How much better production?

    Depends on how fast they build up and what type of clover it is. Yellow and white sweet clover are great, so is white Dutch clover. Red and Crimson are not usually visited by bees, their tongues are too short to reach the nectar.

    Easy enough to check, just go out and see if they are visiting the clover. If they are, expect them to put away quite a bit of honey! I'd still not plan on splits or a huge crop, but you never know.

    Peter

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Concord, CA
    Posts
    4,163

    Default Re: New hive location in a 50-acre organic clover field. How much better production?

    Its really not possible for anyone to answer you're question. Only time will give you you're answer.
    Dan

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
    Posts
    2,669

    Default Re: New hive location in a 50-acre organic clover field. How much better production?

    I will try to answer the questions.
    They will do no better than in your backyard. The foragers can only carry so much nectar and only so quickly back to the hive. You could literally set a five gallon bucket of nectar next to the hive and the foragers can only do what they can do.
    The population will increase at the same rate no matter where they are located (if the weather conditions are the same). The queen can only lay eggs so fast.
    Make sense?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,646

    Default Re: New hive location in a 50-acre organic clover field. How much better production?

    my view is that if the new location is more rural it may very well offer a greater variety of pollen sources which are just as or even more important than nectar availability.

    more varied pollen sources will give your bees a better chance at rearing long-lived winter bees this fall.

    if there is more wooded area nearby the maples and other early blooming trees are what the bees start their late winter/early spring brood rearing with.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    Posts
    130

    Default Re: New hive location in a 50-acre organic clover field. How much better production?

    I guess I was under the assumption that with nectar sources closer to home, and fairly limitless within only a few hundred yards, a hive has the potential of collecting more in a given season. Granted, there is still a limit on the population and how much a bee can carry, but if each be is only traveling a very short distance aren't they logically more efficient than a hive that has to travel greater distances to food sources?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    4,950

    Default Re: New hive location in a 50-acre organic clover field. How much better production?

    >my view is that if the new location is more rural it may very well offer a greater variety of pollen sources

    I would think suburban flora will more often give a greater variety of pollen sources than a rural location. And suburban bees often have rural flora within their flight range.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Platteville, WI
    Posts
    134

    Default Re: New hive location in a 50-acre organic clover field. How much better production?

    I would guess that the city bees will be stronger than the country bees because of plant diversity and general access to more food souces through most of Spring, Summer, and Fall... cities almost always have something in bloom. The clover (country) bees may have better tasting honey, but are most likely more restricted on their food sources due to monocultures. I have a couple hives in my back yard and others in more rural areas. My urban hives are strongerm than my rural hives. Good luck!
    "Life will find a way - it always finds a way." -Jurassic Park (MOVIE/BOOK)
    USDA Zone 5a

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
    Posts
    2,947

    Default Re: New hive location in a 50-acre organic clover field. How much better production?

    Organic doesn't necessarily mean safe for bees. Certified organic farms are permitted to use some nasty stuff. I'm leaving in a few minutes to close up hives on an organic farm so they won't be killed by Entrust. The clover will be good for the bees but only in it is allowed to flower. If it is harvested for hay they typically want to do that before flowering so that the hay has increased nutritional value. So the location is a crap shoot. If clover is the only thing there for your bees to forage on you'll probably be better of passing on the location. Generally speaking though, you'll have better luck giving bees access to diverse forage on a organic farm compared with a conventionally managed farm. This because of a tendency to let weeds grow instead of doing them in with herbacide.
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Otero County, New Mexico, USA
    Posts
    1,388

    Default Re: New hive location in a 50-acre organic clover field. How much better production?

    Funny how suburban and urban environments have become better places for bees. Urban beekeeping has become a huge thing in many places, the world over, as beekeepers flee from the risk of poisoned bees.
    NM desert/mountain beekeeper - Black Mesa Honeybees.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
    Posts
    2,669

    Default Re: New hive location in a 50-acre organic clover field. How much better production?

    Take a real close look at the "nectar and pollen sources" that you have in your yard. Watch how many bees visit your yards flora. Not many.
    Most bees will barely bother with the flowers in their own yard and will forage farther distances. Why? I don't know... but they do. Wierd... I know.
    In suburbia, a homeowner is more likely to spray dangerous chemicals on their plants and flowers than local farmers and more often than farmers.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Santa Fe, NM
    Posts
    682

    Default Re: New hive location in a 50-acre organic clover field. How much better production?

    (I wrote my reply before Beeman's post but it appears we are in agreement) Urban beekeeping in my area is much less productive with the exception of spring when various fruit trees are in bloom. I have had a few hives in my urban backyard that did do well in the spring when there was something for the bees to actually work and then they are moved out immediately. Local homeowner’s are quite prone to spray anything and everything they can get their hands on at the first sign of a bug. One only has to wander the isles of Lowes or Home Depot to see the huge available quantities of chemicals and pesticides. I have found that having my bee yards in rural agricultural areas with few homes are safer, as most of the farmers I have spoken with do not have the financial resources to spray or treat large tracts of land. In my rural area there are literally hundreds of back-yard beekeepers (mostly top bar) who have saturated areas to a degree that bees are barely sustainable. They are kept to say they keep bees, but are not productive. I would move your one hive to the clover fields and then look towards building up a yard to greater numbers in the future.
    "Tradition becomes our security, and when the mind is secure it is in decay".....Krishnamurti

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Otero County, New Mexico, USA
    Posts
    1,388

    Default Re: New hive location in a 50-acre organic clover field. How much better production?

    I see the wisdom in those statements. Homeowners are definitely prone to kill any bugs they see. My hives are all pretty remote and definitely not in urban areas so It is something I don't deal with a lot. I keep mine mostly in the mequite areas, since the only real crop in my area is alfalfa, and that is a bit dicey here. They usually cut it before it blooms and spray it with bad stuff. The abandoned overgrown fields are not so bad, but there are few of them around and the dry usually gets them. Not really a bee friendly area I guess, and I don't have time to migrate to better crops at the drop of a hat. I'd be sunk if we didn't have mesquite.

    Most of those top bar people aren't where my stuff is thank goodness. I can see how they could overload an area pretty quick if they aren't careful.
    NM desert/mountain beekeeper - Black Mesa Honeybees.

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