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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Fort Walton Beach, Florida
    Posts
    1,256

    Default suburban vs. rural honey production

    I have a few backyard hives in an old settled neighborhood by the bay. When I first decided to keep bees, I was worried that there might not be enough pasture for bees here. So I asked one of the local bee club gurus about it. He's a sideliner with yards 30 miles north of the coast in a rural area. He said, "Don't worry. You'll make twice as much honey per hive as I do."

    Is this a general truth, or does it just apply to our semitropical area?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    4,953

    Default Re: suburban vs. rural honey production

    In my area moving out of the residential areas one or two miles cuts production down over 50%. And lowers the hive count we can keep successfully at one site by 90%. These are guesses on my part with 43 years experience in my area. But this might not hold true in an area where the rural spots have good native honey sources or high rainfall. Here, residential plants are irrigated, wild lands are dry.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,929

    Default Re: suburban vs. rural honey production

    Kind of what Frank says... my urban yards been doing much better as far as honey production goes. My rural yards do alright but it's mostly dependent on what ag is being planted and is typically a constant low flow with occasional spikes when sunflowers, canola, or safflower is blooming.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia
    Posts
    142

    Default Re: suburban vs. rural honey production

    Not quite what you are asking but its the middle of winter here and I had to remove honey from our backyard hives so they had room without adding a super! They are foraging continuously at the moment mainly on the flowers in the gardens, with only the odd day that is too cold. Almost year round foraging here in the builtup areas.

    In the bush/agricultural hives I would never harvest anything during winter. Its all for the bees.
    Cheers
    Rob

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Fort Walton Beach, Florida
    Posts
    1,256

    Default Re: suburban vs. rural honey production

    This is interesting. I sometimes hear that bee pasture is becoming scarcer, and I suppose it is from the perspective of a commercial beekeeper. But I can't help but wonder if a sideliner in the suburbs couldn't make a fair amount of honey by putting a few hives in a number of backyards. Be a lot of work, but if our local guru is right, the extra honey might make up for it.

    It used to be that beekeepers could pay for space with honey, back in the good old days. That might still work with suburban householders. With the recently publicized bee declines, you might be able to get a fair number of folks to donate a corner of their back yard to a good cause.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Santa Monica, CA, USA
    Posts
    1,515

    Default Re: suburban vs. rural honey production

    Apparently, the urban environment is very beneficial to the bees: everything is watered; huge variety of nectar sources; even winter (not us) usually is milder in the city. One large flowering tree could keep bees busy for weeks. Additional convenience is that neighbors provide all sort of pools and jacuzzi (in our area) for bees personal hygiene. The major problem with beekeeping in urban environment is that not everybody love bees as their neighbor (but most of them love honey). Cities also regulates how many beehives is permitted. In our city only 2 beehives is permitted.
    Серёжа, Sergey

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    9,799

    Default Re: suburban vs. rural honey production

    Maybe I said this before. Honey is dependent largely on rainfall. I doubt it would make much difference here. You are more apt to lose your bees in affluent areas that treat the heck out of their lawn. There is not a lot of those areas here.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Montego Bay, Jamaica
    Posts
    77

    Default Re: suburban vs. rural honey production

    I have a few apiaries and as many are outlining the ones that are closer to the living areas are much better. To be honest i hid an apiary next to an upscale community and it put my other apiaries to shame. When i sat and analyzed I realized that per km square or whatever units uyou want to use. People plant many things at their homes. (We would say d people dem luv plant u see!)
    Keeping bees in Jamaica www.dadabs.com

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Posts
    1,695

    Default Re: suburban vs. rural honey production

    I take care of our club hives at the local community garden. Which is located in town. Those hives make honey almost all year long. My other hives which are out in the woods only have one really good flow in the spring and a little bit of flow in the fall. So at least here they do better in town. I think it has to do with the bigger variety in town. Out in the woods we only have Maple, Blackgum, Gallberry, and Palmetto. Once they are finished it is a long time before the next flow.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    columbus,ohio,USA
    Posts
    518

    Default Re: suburban vs. rural honey production

    There is actually a phd student at Ohio state Univ. doing research on this subject. I have found that the city doesn't mean there will be a good crop. I prefer to have my bees in a rural area mainly for the goldenrod flow, and soybeans can give them a bump along. There is no fall flow, if my area in the city.
    Chris Cree
    Cree's Bees

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