I'm looking for advice on planting around my hives - Page 2
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  1. #21
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    Apr 2016
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    Rutland County, Vermont,USA
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    Default Re: I'm looking for advice on planting around my hives

    Do you have an herb garden? I would plant low growing herbs that bees and pollinators like with some perennial flowers like lavender thrown in. Our bees love our thyme and other herbs. They don't really bother you when they are foraging so that's of little concern. No guarantee, but low risk. By the way, you and your family SHOULD get stung a few times a season provided nobody is allergic of course. Your immune system should be exposed to bee venom if you are keeping bees. This is only somewhat a controversial statement now, but I am confident in making it. Yes, disclaimer: I am not a medical Dr. Do your own research. J

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  3. #22
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    Aug 2011
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    Landing, NJ, USA
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    Default Re: I'm looking for advice on planting around my hives

    A herb garden is useful to both bees and humans.
    Bill

  4. #23
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    Apr 2017
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    Santa Cruz, CA
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    Default Re: I'm looking for advice on planting around my hives

    Quote Originally Posted by Biaviian View Post
    Do you have issues with honeybees when walking through those flowers? That is my only concern though it is probably unfounded.
    Not at all! I can work on all my hives from the back, by design. I never have to walk in front of them or even next to them because they are on a slight hill. I laid down a gravel path behind the bees on the way out to the chicken coop. I make sure to keep that well trimmed so it doesn't flower. It's like a tiny path through bee haven. I also have some stepping stones I was thinking of putting on the path and letting the clover fill in, but the Mrs. had different ideas for them.

    If you work your hives you'll trample anything immediately around them anyway, so don't sweat it.

  5. #24
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    Mar 2013
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    Seattle WA
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    Default Re: I'm looking for advice on planting around my hives

    Quote Originally Posted by Biaviian View Post
    Do you have issues with honeybees when walking through those flowers? That is my only concern though it is probably unfounded.
    Walking through a field of flowers and bees should not be a concern. Bees will primarily sting because they are defending their hive. When out foraging, they are not defending anything and are not prone to stinging.

    If you decide to plant a small field of flowers, plant the ones you like, that are well suited for your area. It has been stated that it takes between 1-2 million flower visits to make a pound of honey. The few flowers you plant in a patch that size will make very little honey. However, you will get great enjoyment out of seeing them grow and watching the variety of bees visiting them. The flowers I have planted over the years are primarily visited by bumblebees and I absolutely love watching them.

  6. #25
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    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: I'm looking for advice on planting around my hives

    If you do the experiment under most conditions if you catch field bees returning to the hive and mark them and take them 1 1/2 miles away and release them while someone is watching the entrance of the hive you caught them at, you'll find that all of them know their way home. If you take them 2 miles away most of them don't know their way home but some do. The bell curve is that virtually all the foragers are foraging out to 1 1/2 miles and some are foraging 2 miles. If times are hard or a really good source is out there some people (Brother Adam for instance) have observed them flying 5 miles. It think anything past that is doubtful except under the most extreme conditions. I figure the 8,000 acres around you matters. After that it doesn't matter. Another test is simple. Just move a hive 1 mile and almost all the foragers will go back to the old location. At 2 miles most of them won't. At 3 miles virtually none of them will.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  7. #26
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    Dec 2017
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    Dane County, WI, USA
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    Default Re: I'm looking for advice on planting around my hives

    Quote Originally Posted by Biaviian View Post
    I wasn't sure the meaning so I took it the wrong way as I usually do.
    Not a problem.

    One fact to keep in mind - average honey bee colony will burn through about 200lbs of honey per a year.
    This is before anything can be even taken away from them.
    Think about it a minute.
    Now try to scope out the amount of pasture it takes to just support a single colony (NOT to harvest any extra honey; but just to support them).
    Then compare how trivial 1000 square foot lot is - very, very insignificant (specifically for the honey bees).

    To be sure, 1000 sq feet of forage is still a very significant lot for any other bees (bumble bees, solitary bees, etc).
    And so - this is still a worthy project very much even at 1000 sq feet - to provide forage for insects in general.
    Every little counts now days of the age of general nature destruction.
    Everyone should be helping out by building the bug sanctuaries and pastures (no matter how small).
    So this is what I am getting at.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  8. #27
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
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    Lake Forest Park, WA
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    619

    Default Re: I'm looking for advice on planting around my hives

    I would like to grow plants that bloom during late fall - late winter, when bees cannot fly very far. Here in Zone 8 we have many candidates, such as mahonia hybrids, winter heath, hazelnut, winter cherry, cornelian cherry, some viburnums, loquat, camellia and etc but some of them probably do not survive your climate. Maybe witch hazel, pussy willow and a variety of bulb plants?

  9. #28
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    May 2014
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    Sedgwick Co. KS
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    Default Re: I'm looking for advice on planting around my hives

    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    I would not spend a second worrying about your honey bees included in this list.
    Your "acreage" is very insignificant to bother and your bees will be flying away anyway.
    They will be looking for a "bigger fish to fry" to be worthy of their time.
    I agree with ^^^. Your only concern should be what's best for YOU.

  10. #29
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    Jun 2017
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    Canton, OH
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    Default Re: I'm looking for advice on planting around my hives

    Plant mint. It's invasive, so it will fill up the area, some people say it helps with moths and mites, and best of all, it smells good!

  11. #30
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    May 2016
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    Hot Springs, AR, USA
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    Default Re: I'm looking for advice on planting around my hives

    Quote Originally Posted by Biaviian View Post
    I moved my hives this winter, and the new location has an unobstructed southern exposure. I have about 1,000 square feet of space that I am dedicating to the apiary. I would like to fill in some of this space with plants that will attract a variety of pollinators and the bees would be included in that. My concern is having these plants too close such that we can't safely walk up to the hives without the use of protective clothing especially with two kids, four and six. It is adjacent to a garden the same size, but I am not concerned about that.

    Currently, the hives are surrounded by fabric and mulch by about 6 feet. That gives me a nice clean place to work. The flowers (including what we consider weeds) would be spread throughout the rest of the area with paths for us to walk.

    I am in Pennsylvania and I will be using plants recommend by Penn State. One concern I have is using plants that attract moths. I assume that is an issue that I should consider, correct?
    You should check out Vitex trees, they are smallish( 10-15 feet or so with equal spread) and they will bloom repeatedly throughout the summer. The bees love them and the seeds sprout easily. Zone 5-9.

  12. #31
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    Apr 2017
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    Santa Cruz, CA
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    Default Re: I'm looking for advice on planting around my hives

    Quote Originally Posted by LisaMC View Post
    Plant mint. It's invasive, so it will fill up the area, some people say it helps with moths and mites, and best of all, it smells good!
    Until it infests your entire yard! haha

    I had a tiny amount come in on a lemongrass pot I planted near my bees. The mint now surrounds the path, the lemongrass, and has moved around the shed, next to the bees. It's still controllable but every time I get out the string trimmer to maintain it, it sure does smell nice!

  13. #32
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
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    Madison,Georgia,USA
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    Default Re: I'm looking for advice on planting around my hives

    Nanking Cherry trees/bushes are cold hardy early bloomers(2-20-18) and have blooms over a 2-3 week period.

    There are some Japanese type plums in the background that are starting to bloom too,but they will only bloom for about a week.

    Nanking Cherry 2-20-18 960.jpg

  14. #33
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    Northern Lower Michigan, USA
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    Default Re: I'm looking for advice on planting around my hives

    Quote Originally Posted by Biaviian View Post
    Do you have issues with honeybees when walking through those flowers? That is my only concern though it is probably unfounded.
    In general, bees foraging are not a problem. They protect their next. Bees are an issue when the bees perceive you are entering their hive and try to protect it. Have the kids stay 10 or so feet away AND out of the fly zone. bees are coming and going and If you stand in the path they went thru several times already they will "run into you" and may sting if swatted at. Somewhat like standing in the road where the cars are going about there business. Also if bare foot an you step on a bee i may sting due to being squeezed. Another consideration would be if the kids are Allergic, requiring an epi pen or trip to the doc if they get stung. be ready on the first sting for a quick trip to the doc.

    Enjoy your bees, I got a small suit for my 9 year old and he holds the smoker, so far, may be a helper in my future.
    GG

  15. #34
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    Jun 2013
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    Rensselaer County, NY, USA
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    Default Re: I'm looking for advice on planting around my hives

    If you were willing to have a cultivated area, I would choose 1000s of early-flowering bulbs like crocus, chionodoxa, snow-drops, etc. (not daffs or tulips). These provide an enormous boost of good quality pollen at a critical time for the bees, and it would be very close to the hive so they could access it quickly before becoming chilled. Google on line for wholesale bulb sources to keep the costs low. Buying them in units of 500-1000 bulbs is quite cheap.

    But a single, well chosen, bee-beloved, flowering tree might be more useful in the long run. I'd choose a later-flowering one, because in PA you will have a summer dearth. Depending on where you are in PA (warmer or cooler) there are a few good choices. Your bees will find native trees, but if you add an unusual one that might provide nectar and pollen later than the local flora, it wold be a great boost. And bees in trees create no issue with folks on the ground below them.

    There is a fellow on here (Farmer John?) who runs a bee tree-nursery. That would be where I'd start.

    You could start with spring bulbs, which won't last forever, while you are growing a tree up to flowering size. Different seasons, of course. But your bees will adapt.

    Nancy

  16. #35
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    Mar 2012
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    Catskills, Delaware Cty, New York, USA
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    Default Re: I'm looking for advice on planting around my hives

    And Siberian Squill, early small bulb the bees love the pollen.
    Proverbs 16:24

  17. #36
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    Portland, Oregon, USA
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    Default Re: I'm looking for advice on planting around my hives

    Keep in mind that the individual foraging bee takes from only a single flower type on each trip. How enthusiastically it messages it’s cohorts on return depends on how rich the site was. Hence, mass plantings (or trees) get more attention than a wide variety of “onesies and twosies”. 5 lavenders in a sunny site will get ten-fold the traffic seen by 5 different shrub varieties. I saw this when I tilled and planted a 20x20’ area with a wild-flower packet. It exploded with blooms; my bees completely ignored it; bumblebees and other pollinators were plentiful though. The flowers provided an abundance of seeds for making clay seed bombs used to inoculate empty lots it the area.

  18. #37
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    Dec 2017
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    Dane County, WI, USA
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    Default Re: I'm looking for advice on planting around my hives

    Quote Originally Posted by Pchristu View Post
    Keep in mind that the individual foraging bee takes from only a single flower type on each trip. ........
    Correct.

    Bees are really running like a business organization and are very practical.
    They will scope out the project and will only do the project if it pays back.
    A patch of mono-flowers should be profitable enough to direct a chunk of workforce to it and spend the time and energy and accept the associated risks.

    Undefined mix of whatever can not generally be scoped out and be given an estimate - it is not a project to pass through a feasibility study by a bee corporation.
    (a typical picture on the seed packet called "pollinator mix" - a good example of worthless pasture for the honey bees)

    Anything goes through the bee corporation feasibility committee - a new forage location or a new dwelling place for the swarm.

    For details - read T. Seeley's writings.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  19. #38

    Default Re: I'm looking for advice on planting around my hives

    So what density of flowering plants of the same species will attract the attention of honeybees?

  20. #39
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    Mar 2015
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    Scott county, Arkansas, Usa
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    Default Re: I'm looking for advice on planting around my hives

    I broadcast Buckwheat at the recommended rate as a cover crop in my garden on the parts I let lay fallow on a rotational basis and as early crops mature. I also use it in random areas. It blooms in about three weeks from germination which makes it simple to do multiple plantings, depending on weather or available water.
    It is very frost sensitive.
    The bees typically work it until about noon. I have noticed since our fall bloom has started they are not working the small patch in the garden as heavily, even though it is irrigated.

    Alex
    Ten years of Beekeeping before varroa. Started again spring of 2014.

  21. #40
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    Nov 2017
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    New Paltz, New York, USA
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    Default Re: I'm looking for advice on planting around my hives

    The great thing about planting something nearby is that you get to watch the bees forage. It won't make much difference to the bees but for a hobbyist it's part of the fun. Maybe pick something invasive that blooms for a long time -- mint, althea, something like that.

    I don't think you'd have an issue with getting stung just walking through the flowers. When I see a foraging bee I often give it a gentle poke. I'm not sure why I do that, but anyway, I've never been stung that way. They can barely even be bothered to fly to the next flower over to get away from me. If you were minding your own business I think you'd be quite safe.

    (Walking through clover barefoot is a bit risky however. If you crush a bee it will try to sting.)

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