Preparing a Small Apiary
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
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    Gainesville, Virginia, USA
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    139

    Default Preparing a Small Apiary

    I have a question on how best to prepare the ground for hives.

    There is a lot in books and on the net on what makes a good apiary and how best to place hives, so I feel like I understand this as much as I can at this point. I've seen very little on what to do with the ground, however. Anecdotally, I've seen people mention spreading dichotomous earth or placing landscape cloth on the ground to minimize small hive beetles or vegetation. There must be other possibilities as well.

    I am planning for three hives in the spring, my first bees. I know I can toss hives on the ground and keep the weeds cut back and be fine. The question is whether anything else makes sense for a first time beek with a very small area to give me and the girls the best chance for success.

    Thanks in advance,

    Erik

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: Preparing a Small Apiary

    I never do anything to the ground where I place my hives. Set up a hive stand and set your hives on it.
    Mark Berninghausen

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Massillon, Ohio
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    5,578

    Default Re: Preparing a Small Apiary

    what Mark said.

    For new hives just make sure your stands are pretty level and don't worry about it.

    I set my hives on blocks and my only considerations when laying them out is ease of inspection and the ability to mow around them if necessary.
    To everything there is a season....

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: Preparing a Small Apiary

    what Mike said.
    Mark Berninghausen

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Rensselaer County, NY, USA
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    Default Re: Preparing a Small Apiary

    I use landscape fabric under my hive platforms to eliminate the need for very close mowing (bees sometimes take exception to string trimmers, power mowers and their operators.) Also I live in an area with a lot of ticks that carry Lyme disease and anaplasmosis. I'm grateful for a few feet of vegetation-less space around my platforms to reduce my exposure - I'm always kneeling down around my hives for one reason or another.

    I use the black woven polypropylene fabric (DeWitt Weed Barrier) that's commonly used in nurseries. I've had some here in my nursery that's been expoosed to sun for two decades and is still doing the job.

    I don't think it reduces SHBs much, though I don't have a big problem with them. Those bugs can fly five miles to find a hive. I just make sure no SHB larvae can reach the soil to pupate - I religiously scrape my sticky board debris off into the pond.

    Enj.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    Sparta, Tennessee
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    61

    Default Re: Preparing a Small Apiary

    Brother Brown,

    I guess I am one of the few that is setting up to try to try to work less in the maintenance department around my bee hives . As I have set to doing some house keeping before installing my bee colonies . I am installing a very heavy Tarp , like the ones used by truckers to cover loads to cover the ground where the hives will sit . This will Kill the Grass (No chemicals involved ) then I may cover this with a Crush-R-Run gravel and pack it giving the Large RR Tie size Lumber I have that I have that has been given to me a place to sit firmly to sit the hives on . This ensure that hives will remain undisturbed during the mowing season and the Family will Not be stung while mowing (we have just over 5 acres) I also do not want the Bobcat mower Blowing Grass into / onto the hives and angering / upsetting the bees My Bees as I love my bees . Let me say No I am not a Tree Hugger Just some one that takes things very serious when it comes to taking care of animals .

    I have many Various odd types of animals (I'll Tell ya if any one wants to know) and when you take care of them you must provide Housing/ Habitat, Food/Vitamins/Minerals/Carbohydrates/Sugars, Lighting, Protection,and most of All the best Stress Free Environment that you can give to the Animals that one owns and cares for on a daily basis .

    Best Regards & Respect
    Last edited by Ret, Sgt. Robert Yates; 01-05-2015 at 07:16 PM. Reason: Spelling
    Ret, Sgt. Robert Yates

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: Preparing a Small Apiary

    Seriously Sarge, bees don't need all that much coddling. Set up an apiary and cut the grass in front of your hives so the grass doesn't grow so high it makes getting back in hard. That's really about all you might need to do. The rest is cosmetic. Which no one would accuse me of being.
    Mark Berninghausen

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Squaw Valley, CA, USA
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    Default Re: Preparing a Small Apiary

    I level the hive stands with a slight forward slant for drainage. I also place landscape fabric under the hives mainly to keep Rattlesnakes from wanting to be under the hives. I use a gas powered trimmer to keep the front of the hives clear and allow good working space. When it gets real dry at the end of the season I trim about 30 feet to protect the hives in case of a wildland fire.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
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    Fort Gay, WV, USA
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    Default Re: Preparing a Small Apiary

    I'm with Mark and Mike on this one. Mow around, clean up area, keep it till the bees can get in and out and so can the beekeeper. Makes things simple and quick.
    Thomas Bartram

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Dayton, Ohio
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    249

    Default Re: Preparing a Small Apiary

    Erik,
    Keep it simple.
    Mike and Mark are right.
    Remember, bees don't like lawnmowers. Especially in dearth.
    Enjoy your bees!
    Joe

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Massillon, Ohio
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    5,578

    Default Re: Preparing a Small Apiary

    I like simple. I like quick too ... sometimes.
    To everything there is a season....

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
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    2,208

    Default Re: Preparing a Small Apiary

    I put my hives on rail wat ties that sit on blocks. Where I tread to work the hives the vegetation gets squashed down, where I don't tread it grows. I have only worked them two years but as yet have had no need to resort to using a macete to get at them.
    If you like busy work...then I suppose there is a lot you could do
    Janne....first hives April 2013, 19 hives, treat, plant zone 8b, at sea level, latitude 49.13, longitude 123.06

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    Sparta, Tennessee
    Posts
    61

    Default Re: Preparing a Small Apiary

    My 5 is not All bee hives My house and yard and kids all play there too so in all there will be about 20 Hives eventually and the site where the hives will sit is being prepped in this manner. for those hives being built .
    Ret, Sgt. Robert Yates

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