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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Terre Haute, Indiana
    Posts
    40

    Default Land Managment for your bees

    If you were given 5 acres of land to do whatever you could with, how would you manage the land to benefit your bees? How would you manage it and why?

    Would you just plant borage on all 2 acres?

    Would you keep a few trees on it for spring nectar and let goldenrod have tis way in the fall?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Aberdeen, Idaho
    Posts
    413

    Default Re: Land Managment for your bees

    We have 18 acres, and we have been gradually planting most of it to bee pasture. We have Dutch clover, Crimson clover, Borage, Buckwheat, Bird's Foot Trefoil, Catmint, Alfalfa, Sainfoin, Yellow Sweet Clover, Lots of wildflowers of various kinds, Apples, Apricots, Plums, Pears, European Black Elderberries, and Russian Olive. If anybody had any doubt about my lack of sanity, it is not in question anymore.
    Dave

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Weeki Wachee, Florida,USA
    Posts
    1,917

    Default Re: Land Managment for your bees

    1/2 in Brazilian Pepper
    1/2 in Chinnese Tallow (popcorn tree)

    If I had true control and could rent it out, I would use the $ for gas or sugar.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    26,174

    Default Re: Land Managment for your bees

    Grow hay and sell it to someone who has the equipment to mow and bale it. Use the income on your hives. Keep a small plot for your bees and let them find what forage they will.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Erda ut
    Posts
    52

    Default Re: Land Managment for your bees

    I would plant stuff in sections so you could have a floral source all the growning year. You can even double up on some things like fruit trees with a yellow clover or a plant that can take some shade for a ground cover. I also like sqkcrk's idea of have a hay field that you can get some income off of and also provied a necter source for most of the season.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Fort Walton Beach, Florida
    Posts
    1,250

    Default Re: Land Managment for your bees

    On our place in the North Country, I'm not planning to do much at all beyond gardening and fruit trees, because it seems pretty much ideal for bees already. We have about 44 acres in all, pretty much evenly divided between deciduous woods, meadow, and beaver swamp. Half of the meadows and the swamp are part of a conservation easement, so all we can do is mow the meadow after the summer birds have been raised. There are literally hundreds of old apple trees, lots of blackberries, crabapples, chokecherries, maples, butternuts, box elders, etc. I might stick some willow twigs down in the swamp. The great thing about the place is that it was once a farm, so has the kind of variety you see on old grown-over farms.

    The funny thing is that I made an offer on the property last summer, before I even realized I wanted to have bees. Serendipity, I guess.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Cache Valley, Utah
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: Land Managment for your bees

    Grow hay and sell it to someone who has the equipment to mow and bale it. Use the income on your hives. Keep a small plot for your bees and let them find what forage they will.
    Agreed. I'm lucky enough to have been given 23 acres to do whatever (agriculturally) I want with. I'm planting it all with sainfoin, then selling the hay after it's done blooming. Sainfoin produces excellent quality hay and, unlike alfalfa, retains most of its nutrients even during its mature stage. Very palatable too. With hay around $200+/ton in my area, and with sainfoin yielding anywhere from 1.5-4 tons per acre, I should have more than enough to support a beekeeping hobby. At least that's the plan.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Terre Haute, Indiana
    Posts
    40

    Default Re: Land Managment for your bees

    Good suggestion so far everyone. Thank you.

    I posted the question because I had just purchased 2 acres for a really good price at an auction. The problem I have is the 2 acres is 100% wooded. Not really a problem I guess. Over the winter I will be clearing most of the wood and I'm not completely sure what to do with the land once its cleared. The surrounding area next to the 2 acres is hundreds of acres of prairie with a few corn/bean fields close by so there looks to be plenty of forage for the bees.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    26,174

    Default Re: Land Managment for your bees

    Well, in that case, I'd clear out a place where I could drive into the trees easily and set up a bee yard and leave the trees there until I had a plan and the where with all to build a house to live in or sell.

    Bees fly to work, they don't need you to supply them their source of forage.

    Here is something to consider. Bees range somewhere around 3 miles away from home to find what they need. How many acres is that? Two acres are inconsequential in comparison. But I get the impression you are going to spend/invest more money, time, and effort on this idea. You are already emotionally invested. So, do what makes you happy, but don't over expect results beyond reality. Final comment.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Terre Haute, Indiana
    Posts
    40

    Default Re: Land Managment for your bees

    sqkcrk - I hear what your saying. I already made the investment in the land based mostly on the surrounding forage so my little 2 acres won't really amount to much for the bees. I understand that. Your hay comment really has me thinking. Brilliant. I guess I can't stop thinking about what other possibilities I have to produce a little extra income. I'm realistic and I don't expect to make a lot. In all reality I will most likely clear enough of it to put 10 hives or so and if that is all I do with it then I'm completely happy.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    26,174

    Default Re: Land Managment for your bees

    What is the wood lot like? Lumber timber or firewood? Are there trees worth keeping for future harvesting as quality wood? Maybe you should get a County or State Forester to come in and advise you on clearing or thinning. I don't know anything about woods in IN. What's it like? What kinds of trees are growing there?
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    965

    Default Re: Land Managment for your bees

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    What is the wood lot like? Lumber timber or firewood? Are there trees worth keeping for future harvesting as quality wood? Maybe you should get a County or State Forester to come in and advise you on clearing or thinning. I don't know anything about woods in IN. What's it like? What kinds of trees are growing there?
    Are they nectar producing trees like maple, linden/basswood, catalpa, tulip poplar or locust?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    26,174

    Default Re: Land Managment for your bees

    Or popal and osage orange?
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,361

    Default Re: Land Managment for your bees

    I have eighteen acres. I planted:

    White Dutch clover
    Bird's Foot Trefoil
    Alfalfa
    Yellow Sweet Clover
    White sweet clover
    Chicory
    Lots of wildflowers of various kinds

    I just moved here and haven't had time to plant trees, but my old place (and soon here) I planted:

    Apples
    Plums
    Chokecherries
    Pears
    Tulip poplar
    Willow
    Red maple
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    bridgton maine
    Posts
    47

    Default Re: Land Managment for your bees

    Broglea,

    nice problem to have. I cleared 10+ acres of 100 year old wood in Maine 6 years ago, way before bees, then hurricane Irene helped out some more and then I planted what I liked - assortment of apple trees and wildflowers- all cold hardy and native. mother nature took over from there. in Maine every where sun hits berries grow, and then golden rod, then asters. so you can kick off with some nice ground covers and green manure cover crops pretty cheaply and easily and sit back. you will have a paradise before you know it and the bees will find there way.

    sell and burn the wood-its more fun to watch than propane or oil!

    BM

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Terre Haute, Indiana
    Posts
    40

    Default Re: Land Managment for your bees

    Its all hardwood. Some lumber, but mostly firewood I think. Many maples, some oak. I haven't really had a chance to catalog the varying trees yet. I do have a guy coming out to look at the wood. There is probably 500 acres of prairie right next to my property. 10 acres of alfalfa across the road and a 1/4 mile away a farmer planted 2 acres of sunflower. The price was hard to pass up! I drove out there yesterday and couldn't believe the amount of goldenrod and asters in bloom. I can't wait to move the bees out there in the spring. In fact, I will be putting out as many bait hives as I can and grow that bee yard as quick as possible.

    You guys have given me a lot to think about.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Essex IA USA
    Posts
    29

    Default Re: Land Managment for your bees

    Are you referring to Pipal or Polar? I don't either listed as a major or minor nectar source. Osage Orange either. Does your experience differ?

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    Or popal and osage orange?

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Essex IA USA
    Posts
    29

    Default Re: Land Managment for your bees

    Quote Originally Posted by Beregondo View Post
    Are they nectar producing trees like maple, linden/basswood, catalpa, tulip poplar or locust?
    Are you referring to Black Locust? A neighboring property has 50 acres of Honey locust that I will be putting hives on next year even though they are listed as a minor nectar producer. I look forward to seeing what the production will be.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    26,174

    Default Re: Land Managment for your bees

    Quote Originally Posted by dadux View Post
    Are you referring to Pipal or Polar? I don't either listed as a major or minor nectar source. Osage Orange either. Does your experience differ?
    I remember osage orange in Iowa when I was young. Some folks call it hedge. It does not produce an orange like ones you eat.

    I was trying to think of a softwood deciduous tree that might grow in IN when I asked about Popal, a relative of tulip poplar I believe.

    Neither are nectar producers as far as I know.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,361

    Default Re: Land Managment for your bees

    Tulip poplar is a very good nectar source. Lombardy poplar is not, but it makes a lot of propolis as does cottonwood, aspen and all the rest of the poplar family. Black locust is a big honey producer. Honey locust, oddly enough, is not.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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