Public Relations...Hives near a major event
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
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    Lafayette, NY, USA
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    Default Public Relations...Hives near a major event

    I was approached by the board of a local fall festival and asked if I would like to put hives on their grounds. This is an old, unused apple orchard, about 200 acres. About 150 acres of it is never used, just brush hogged once or twice a year in between old abandoned rows of apple trees. The setting is phenomenal for the bees. I just finished setting up about 25 hives in the back end of the property. They are actually on the south side of the last row of old trees so it is open to the south but somewhat protected from the west wind in winter. The closest neighbors are a ton of rabbits and deer, an occasional horseback rider or 4 wheeler but for 51 weeks of the year, there is almost no human contact. In mid October for 2 days they will hold their Apple Festival on the other side of the property. There wont even be any parking anywhere near the hives. No one will even be aware they are there. The closest parking fields are several hundred yards from where the bees are. I am not really worried about people being in contact with the hives. What I am a little worried about is the bees finding their way to 90,000...yes 90,000 people that will be at the other end of the property for 2 days. There are many huge tents full of crafters and food vendors as well as barns selling apple pies, apple pancakes, ice cream, and anything else apple related. I'm wondering if all that food will attract 25 hives of bees to visit and become a nuisance. I am wondering if there is anything I might do to keep their attention in the back 40? Community feeders for a week or 2? Any thoughts?
    Ray
    85 hives in 10 yards
    zones 5a and 5b

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
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    Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.
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    2,661

    Default Re: Public Relations...Hives near a major event

    Are there any wild hives in the area? If so, how will you control them?
    --shinbone
    (1975-1980, and now since 2011; maintain about 10 hives; Zone 5b; 15" rain; 5500')

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
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    Lafayette, NY, USA
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    152

    Default Re: Public Relations...Hives near a major event

    Yes there are wild hives in the area and there are also other commercial beekeepers within a 2 mile radius but neither of those situation is as concentrated or as close as my contribution. The last thing I want is for the property owners to feel like it was a bad move to invite me on the property. Last year I had a booth at the festival and the biggest problem was yellow jackets but there weren't 25 hives around the corner last year.
    85 hives in 10 yards
    zones 5a and 5b

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Santa Fe, NM
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    1,222

    Default Re: Public Relations...Hives near a major event

    Sounds like a great event to sell a bunch of honey. I wouldn't worry about three bees interfering with the festivities but with that many people someone might wander over to the apiary. Keep an eye out for the unexpected.
    "Tradition becomes our security, and when the mind is secure it is in decay".....Krishnamurti

  6. #5
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    St. Clair Co. Missouri
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    388

    Default Re: Public Relations...Hives near a major event

    In all likelyhood the biggest issues will be trash cans. Yes, I know people swear yellow jackets are the culprit for trashcan incidents, but in the fall soda looks loike an easy nectar/sugar source and they will suck it up being that close. Perhaps move the bees off location that week if you are really concerned. Otherwise I doubt it will be a major issue.
    Charla Hinkle

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Pennsylvania
    Posts
    141

    Default Re: Public Relations...Hives near a major event

    So it's like an abandoned orchard? are there still apples on those trees?

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    DeSoto, KS
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    2

    Default Re: Public Relations...Hives near a major event

    What about using a piece of screen to block the hive entrances for the two days of the festival? It might be worth it for your piece of mind.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
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    Lafayette, NY, USA
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    Default Re: Public Relations...Hives near a major event

    Yes its an old abandoned commercial orchard. They said that a few yrs ago they hired a company to come in and trim trees, spray, and harvest but it was a money loser so the trees don't get touched now except to dig out an occasional one that is in the way of the next project. Otherwise they are just left to the rabbits and deer. They are very old trees but most of them still produce some. Once the apples touch the ground they cant be sold so most just get left for wildlife food. I had thought about screening them in but even in Mid October we can have some pretty warm weather at times. As far as moving them for the week, that's probably not an option. Mostly I work alone and I really don't have equipment to move 25 hives that I hope will weigh up to 200 pounds and move them back a week later. I just wondered if putting out community feeders even further back on the property would keep them going in that direction and away from the festivities. This may be a learning year
    85 hives in 10 yards
    zones 5a and 5b

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Worcester County, Massachusetts
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    4,953

    Default Re: Public Relations...Hives near a major event

    You could put some feed on the hives during the event.
    Sometimes the lights all shining on me
    Other times I can barely see. -The Grateful Dead

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    West Jordan, UT, USA
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    1,118

    Default Re: Public Relations...Hives near a major event

    I think that being a few hundred yards from the gathering, the bees will be more or less just environmental background. Background "noise", if you will. You will probably see some near the trash, and perhaps a few around the soda cans, but with enough apples on the ground and flowers in the neighborhood, I don't believe they would be as big a nuisance as yellow jackets. Majority of people won't notice.

    there will be the inevitable explorers looking around the orchard though, so you might want to put up "Honey bees working" signs near the hives, advising people to stay away.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
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    Isle of Wight, VA
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    2,790

    Default Re: Public Relations...Hives near a major event

    Feeders close to the hive and/or screened tents over each hive to keep them confined, but not locked into their boxes for 2 straight days....but only if you feel it is necessary. I'm not sure that it would be, but when I hold bee events at our garden center that include honey and beeswax, the local bees are all over it within 2 hours.

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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    1,462

    Default Re: Public Relations...Hives near a major event

    I'd suggest open feeders and fill them a few days before the event so bees are oriented to sourcing syrup from the feeders.

    The open feeders also attract the wasps, so they will also be less of a pest at the event.
    Zone 3b. If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got!

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    53,922

    Default Re: Public Relations...Hives near a major event

    If they are 100 yards or more from the people, no one will notice. Feeding often sets off a frenzy. I wouldn't.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
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    Suffolk, VA
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    Default Re: Public Relations...Hives near a major event

    Hiwire,

    I think you're smart to think about the issues associated with the festival.

    I do several festivals throughout the year. The one in late October, which happens during our dearth, is always dicey. Now that the ban in urban beekeeping has been lifted in this particular city, the festival grounds can become a frenzy of honeybees desperately seeking any form of sugar. In this case, it is usually disposed of snow cones, ice cream, and yes, honey samples. One year it was so bad, the event organizer came up to my tent accompanied by the city police and told me that my bees (inside my OB hive) were getting free and disturbing the visitors! Several people got stung and it was a big deal. Since that show, I no longer bring my OB in the Fall, as the OB hive seems to particularly focus the foragers to around my tent. I told the festival organizer that they needed trash cans with closed lids, but that has yet to be done.


    If its a nice sunny day and your local forage is done, expect the worse. Feeding heavily might work, but I'm not sure, as you know bees are very resourceful creatures. Confinement will definitely keep the bees out of the visitor's hair, but that could possibly go badly for the bees if not done well.
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  16. #15
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    Jan 2014
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    Manassas, Virginia, USA
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    Default Re: Public Relations...Hives near a major event

    We never open our observation hive at the county fair. Trash cans would be an issue, but also the snow-cone stand just across the walkway from the barn we are in would no doubt be popular with the bees. Cotton candy, too.

    We like having two obs hives, which we swap out frequently during fair week. I think last year they deliberately used queenless nucs for this. There's been some discussion about putting a dot on the back of a drone, but I say that would be cheating, and somebody would call us on it.

  17. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
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    Suffolk, VA
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    Default Re: Public Relations...Hives near a major event

    Quote Originally Posted by Phoebee View Post
    We never open our observation hive at the county fair.

    Gosh, I hope not. I don't know if my post came across as if I allowed my bees to freely come and go out of the OB hive, so to be clear, my OB hive is closed, with only vents that allow air to circulate. No bees are free to fly. Despite this, just the smell of bees within the OB hive will attract local foragers to investigate the opportunity for a free meal.
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  18. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    North Florida
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    Default Re: Public Relations...Hives near a major event

    We have our annual Tupelo Honey Festival in May in our town. There are probably twenty vendors selling honey and honey relatives products by the truck loads. There are multiple food and drink vendors. We probably have a more dense population of honey bee hives than anywhere. All the years I have lived here and attended the festival I have never seen bees being a problem, I don't think I have ever seen a bee at the festival. I know of possibly a hundred hives within a quarter mile of the event and more within a half mile. Not a problem here but the time of year may make a difference!!

  19. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
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    Default Re: Public Relations...Hives near a major event

    Quote Originally Posted by GSkip View Post
    Not a problem here but the time of year may make a difference!!
    The time of year makes all the difference in the world. Near mid-May I do the same festival that I referenced above. In May there are zero problems, not so in October.
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

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