Bee yard site questions
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    Anon, Anonymous
    Posts
    135

    Default Bee yard site questions

    So I wanted to get a good chance to ask people about bee yard sites. (Especially for those of us who have a low budget getting into this.)

    What are the chances that a hive could do well and be successful if there aren't farmers (& their pastures) nearby? If you don't have pastures immediately nearby are your hives doomed to fail? Or will the honey production just drop? (I would guess this could affect overwintering if the nectar flow is lower too?)

    What do you think?


    It seems like most of us, you know we're trying to get by with what we have. So moving our house and where we live just for bees isn't realistic. It also seems like as things get more urban a lot of farmers are moving away from high cost land areas.

    For an example; (maybe you might be interested in this kind of stuff) in my granddad's days Utah County in Utah had over 35 dairies around the whole county. (This was before commercialization and after WW2, mostly family dairies also.) Then in my dad's days it went down a lot. And finally my era there's maybe 3 in the whole county left, and some are commercial and some aren't. But the ones that have survived about 5 years ago started to go south (or far north) because the land costs just made it impossible to stay and survive.

    So this means that basically not just the dairy people but lots of people in the area were moving their pastures southward, as their pastures were taken over by development over a period of time. (About five years ago, it became very unlikely to find any large farms around here at all left over, or pasture, etc (I suppose you can count some small time family backyard hobbies as farms?) (that would produce nectar possibly.) But when I was growing up everything was hay fields, and cattle pastures all over the place. (Utah does still do a lot of 'dry farming', and historically is a 'dry farming' area for many areas but not all. Not sure if this helps but I thought giving some background might be better sharing, and to also get feedback from others.)

    I'm guessing this may have affected other beekkeepers too and curious about that too (if you want to go that far.)

    It seems like there's a few people that do bees in cities to. But not sure how well they do in comparison. And maybe not that many have also experienced the comparison of trying to raise bees in both rural and city types of lifestyles? Who knows?

    But it would be neat to try to figure out how they compare and learn from it. And you can see why my little spill relates to the topic, I hope.

    Thanks.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2019
    Location
    Ava Missouri USA
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: Bee yard site questions

    Hi hagane,

    I will bite I do not know anything about dairy farming in Utah, I do not know what type of hay they grow there, but I can tell you that in Missouri the dairy farmers are not overly helpful to bees in my opinion. granted most of them do not spray their fields, thankfully, but they grow fescue hay which is not a really good source of nectar. I live in the heart of a small town and next to a small stream that runs through town, and next to this stream is a bee tree that has been there for the past 14 years that I know of. I do not know how much honey these bees produce but there is at least enough to support themselves. I can not say that this colony has never died out and been replaced by another colony or not. I have always had bees in my yard so if they have been replaced they were not absent for very long periods of time.

    I did catch two swarms from this tree this spring and hived both of them. One hive has two deep brood boxes and one medium super, and the other has one deep brood box and three medium supers. I intend to let two of the medium supers be brood boxes. I need to check the two top supers and see how full they are?

    I hope the hives I have captured will produce at least some extra honey for next year. If I do not expect to get honey this fall. If I can get a frame or two I will feel blessed.

    Happy Home

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Northern Colorado, USA
    Posts
    526

    Default Re: Bee yard site questions

    I think the local plants and chemical spraying are more important than if you have farmers and/or pastures around. I think my bees spend most of their time forging in the open spaces and residential yards around my house. I have corn fields about 3/4 mile north of me, but I have heard that corn is not a useful crop for bees. I suspect residential and open/wild space have a better variety with more varying bloom times then you will find in a heavily farmed area.

    I do not know if this holds true for everywhere, or how other people's opinions vary from mine, but this has been my experience. Where I live if I draw a mile circle around my house about 1/3 is residential, about 1/6 is water (mostly old quarry's and a river), about 1/6 is farm land, and about about 1/3 is open space (between the quarries and in the river flood plane)

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    England, UK
    Posts
    1,393

    Default Re: Bee yard site questions

    Quote Originally Posted by hagane View Post
    What are the chances that a hive could do well and be successful if there aren't farmers (& their pastures) nearby? [...] What do you think?
    There isn't a single pasture within a 20 mile radius of me - this is 'industrial' arable-farming country, not dairy. As such, it's a seriously poor area for beekeeping - more suitable for a handful of hives rather than a large number - but I manage.

    What do I think ? I think you ought to 'grasp the nettle' and find out the answer to some of these questions for yourself. It's been four years since you joined the forum and it would appear that you still haven't been able to make a commitment yet.

    There are no guarantees with beekeeping, and no amount of reassurance can ever provide such a guarantee.

    You mention a low budget: so - put out swarm traps; build your own hives and other equipment - but DO IT. Make a commitment - then stick to it. Speaking as someone who will never see 70 again, let me tell you that time is the most precious commodity we have in this world - so don't waste years of it by prevaricating.

    LJ (who's trying to give you a gentle push ... )
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Dane County, WI, USA
    Posts
    2,692

    Default Re: Bee yard site questions

    Quote Originally Posted by hagane View Post
    ........
    It seems like there's a few people that do bees in cities to. But not sure how well they do in comparison. And maybe not that many have also experienced the comparison of trying to raise bees in both rural and city types of lifestyles? Who knows? .........
    Thanks.
    I mentioned this more than once - my suburbia location has much better pastures than many so-called country places.

    You must scout your own area, study the local bee forage, and see for yourself what you can/cannot do.
    You can not "google" the forage around you - must actually drive/bike/walk around and see for yourself, in person.

    Sorry, this is becoming repetitive, but this is a very foundation of the beekeeping - understanding the local bee forage.
    People from across the county can not do it for you.

    There are cases near me where some city people got the bees - only to find later they have to feed the sugar through the summer - they never bothered to understand about the bee foraging part.
    Ornamental city plants are NOT forage.

    Dairy farming and beekeeping don't really coincide as they don't have many common goals (outside of growing alfalfa maybe).
    They may.
    But this is not the default assumption.

    The most no-brainer approach - you want the weeds; lots and lots of weeds; the more weeds the better for you, the beekeeper.
    Yes - this sounds politically incorrect and may even offend few people (preaching for more weeds).


    Last year I criss-crossed Montana - the knapweed grows as far as eye can see at some places - now, this is beekeeper's paradise, those weeds.
    Well, here is our local university telling people how to eradicate those terrible knapweeds (and thereby destroy very valuable insect forage plant):
    https://ipcm.wisc.edu/download/weeds...napweed_WI.pdf
    Last edited by GregV; 08-05-2019 at 11:37 AM.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Campbell River, BC, CA
    Posts
    1,624

    Default Re: Bee yard site questions

    Quote Originally Posted by hagane View Post
    What are the chances that a hive could do well and be successful if there aren't farmers (& their pastures) nearby?
    We have friends in town that want a hive in the back yard during the spring to pollinate fruit trees and berries. Over the summer, those hives always do better than any hives we keep on the farm. The reason is simple. Lots of flower gardens and lawns, all with in ground sprinkler systems on a timer. The flower gardens and lawns get watered regularly, then that water runs down ditches and feed the wild blackberries on the occasional empty lot.

    Our bees in town always do great,

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Woodbridge, VA (But planning to move to NW Louisiana soon)
    Posts
    279

    Default Re: Bee yard site questions

    Quote Originally Posted by hagane View Post

    [I]What are the chances that a hive could do well and be successful if there aren't farmers (& their pastures) nearby? If you don't have pastures immediately nearby are your hives doomed to fail? Or will the honey production just drop? (I would guess this could affect overwintering if the nectar flow is lower too?)
    I am currently very urban. There aren't any fields or pastures within 5 miles. Two hives here do very well. I believe it is because of the wide variety of trees and flowers in the established neighborhoods around here.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
    Location
    Northern Lower Michigan, USA
    Posts
    518

    Default Re: Bee yard site questions

    Quote Originally Posted by hagane View Post
    So I wanted to get a good chance to ask people about bee yard sites. (Especially for those of us who have a low budget getting into this.)

    What are the chances that a hive could do well and be successful if there aren't farmers (& their pastures) nearby? If you don't have pastures immediately nearby are your hives doomed to fail? Or will the honey production just drop? (I would guess this could affect overwintering if the nectar flow is lower too?)

    What do you think?


    It seems like most of us, you know we're trying to get by with what we have. So moving our house and where we live just for bees isn't realistic. It also seems like as things get more urban a lot of farmers are moving away from high cost land areas.

    For an example; (maybe you might be interested in this kind of stuff) in my granddad's days Utah County in Utah had over 35 dairies around the whole county. (This was before commercialization and after WW2, mostly family dairies also.) Then in my dad's days it went down a lot. And finally my era there's maybe 3 in the whole county left, and some are commercial and some aren't. But the ones that have survived about 5 years ago started to go south (or far north) because the land costs just made it impossible to stay and survive.

    So this means that basically not just the dairy people but lots of people in the area were moving their pastures southward, as their pastures were taken over by development over a period of time. (About five years ago, it became very unlikely to find any large farms around here at all left over, or pasture, etc (I suppose you can count some small time family backyard hobbies as farms?) (that would produce nectar possibly.) But when I was growing up everything was hay fields, and cattle pastures all over the place. (Utah does still do a lot of 'dry farming', and historically is a 'dry farming' area for many areas but not all. Not sure if this helps but I thought giving some background might be better sharing, and to also get feedback from others.)

    I'm guessing this may have affected other beekkeepers too and curious about that too (if you want to go that far.)

    It seems like there's a few people that do bees in cities to. But not sure how well they do in comparison. And maybe not that many have also experienced the comparison of trying to raise bees in both rural and city types of lifestyles? Who knows?

    But it would be neat to try to figure out how they compare and learn from it. And you can see why my little spill relates to the topic, I hope.

    Thanks.
    you will find out when you "Do" Guessing can take forever. Either do it or let it go, agree with Little John, there is only so much time in your future.

    As far as the "budget" thing,, it is an excuse. I generally sell enough honey to break even each year, little cost. You can deliver Pizza's for the weekend, for 6 months and have the funds, It somewhat boils down to how bad do you want to do the keeping. where there is a will there is away.
    GG

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Dane County, WI, USA
    Posts
    2,692

    Default Re: Bee yard site questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Gray Goose View Post
    ..... Either do it or let it go, agree with Little John, there is only so much time in your future.

    As far as the "budget" thing,, it is an excuse. .......
    GG
    1) Analysis paralysis; lack of clear and achievable goals.
    2) Budget can be just about zero;
    how I started and still keep it darn close to zero because I can and want it so;
    the point is - the bee stuff aint need to look pretty and precise, and much of it you don't even need.

    Key word - trash (is everywhere and is free and you will do good community service picking up usable construction trash - there is a huge sheet of 2-inch XPS insulation by the road side I need to pick up today)

    Yard sites - since I recently lost one and down to six yards only - been lazily looking to replace my lost site (yes, I am greedy that way and like the number seven too much);
    there is a good location nearby (some boat business and lots of woods on their property) - I stopped by and asked - they said "no" - well, I will keep lazily scouting to get the site #7 back (but only a good one to make it worth the hassle).
    Last edited by GregV; 08-08-2019 at 08:25 AM.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Location
    Charlestown, RI
    Posts
    24

    Default Re: Bee yard site questions

    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    1) Analysis paralysis; lack of clear and achievable goals.
    2) Budget can be just about zero;
    how I started and still keep it darn close to zero because I can and want it so;
    the point is - the bee stuff aint need to look pretty and precise, and much of it you don't even need.

    Key word - trash (is everywhere and is free and you will do good community service picking up usable construction trash - there is a huge sheet of 2-inch XPS insulation by the road side I need to pick up today)

    Yard sites - since I recently lost one and down to six yards only - been lazily looking to replace my lost site (yes, I am greedy that way and like the number seven too much);
    there is a good location nearby (some boat business and lots of woods on their property) - I stopped by and asked - they said "no" - well, I will keep lazily scouting to get the site #7 back (but only a good one to make it worth the hassle).
    Hi Hagane, what I think is most important is why do you want to keeping bees.
    I keep bee because I like bee and the honey production is just a nuisance.
    A good year for me is when the bee don't die and I get a little honey.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    England, UK
    Posts
    1,393

    Default Re: Bee yard site questions

    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    2) Budget can be just about zero;
    how I started and still keep it darn close to zero because I can and want it so;
    the point is - the bee stuff aint need to look pretty and precise, and much of it you don't even need.

    Key word - trash - is everywhere and is free and you will do good community service picking up usable construction trash
    Budget can indeed be near-zero in a first-world country. Pick up an old fridge - pull all the gubbins out, leaving just the insulated box. Stick tape over any holes, remove the door and lay the box down on it's back.

    Get yourself some battens, glue popsicle sticks down along their midline (for 'comb starters'), and place them across the 'dead' fridge. Throw something waterproof over the lot to keep the rain off. You've now got yourself a beehive.

    Put a swarm in that, and you're up and running. What has that cost you ? Not much more than the cost of a packet of chewing gum, and it would certainly be good enough to get you started.

    Or use a packing case, or tea chest - or any kind of box. Bees don't much care - all they really want is to get out of the weather, and live in some kind of cavity which they can defend. That's all. It's not essential to have a purpose-made beehive. Desirable, but not essential.

    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Dane County, WI, USA
    Posts
    2,692

    Default Re: Bee yard site questions

    Quote Originally Posted by little_john View Post
    Budget can indeed be near-zero in a first-world country. Pick up an old fridge -.......

    LJ
    And even few live demos of exactly that - fridge-hives:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fl17Hrz6C9g
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZ3oM6Rrxbc
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Huzi--3fXy0

    Vertical fridge-hive!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FubxvtV4rXM
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    England, UK
    Posts
    1,393

    Default Re: Bee yard site questions

    Excellent ! Thanks for posting those Greg, good to see that people are already using fridges - and quite successfully it would seem ...
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

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