I'm completely new to beekeeping here.
Seeing as Spring is coming up I'm just wondering if there is any possibility at all to motivate bees on my property.
I have a peice of forested property on the east side of the Sierra Nevada at 7000 feet with next to no neighbors and nothing built on it. The winters get between 3 and 8 feet of snow.
I'm wondering how possible it would be to have a colony.
And if it is possible, what the lowest amount of maintenance could be.
Like could I attempt to just setup a bait hive this spring for almost no cost or time effort and see what happens? Is there any probability I would get something? Sorry, but I have no idea.
If there is a possibility I would also do something to bearproof it probably with some heavy duty bolted down cage to cover the hive.
Honey collection wouldn't be that important to me as much as would just getting a hive established for fun just as an attempt and maybe go from there in future years.
Like could I attempt to just setup a bait hive this spring for almost no cost or time effort and see what happens? Is there any probability I would get something? Sorry, but I have no idea."
Given the situation, I agree that getting feral survivors would be the way to go.
What I'm wondering is; have you ever observed honeybees working the wildflowers at your location?
I've heard that bees in the sierras collect 'honeydew' from pine trees. Or maybe its fir trees. Open meadows with wildflowers and various underbrush shrubs would be your best source of bee food besides that.
Finally, if you are not too concerned with frequent manipulations, you could plan on permanently mounting the hive in a tree as some defense against bear incursions as they have done in Africa for millennia: